Step One: Start with Soap and Warm Water
Step Two: Make a Lather
Step Three: Scrub Thoroughly for 20 Seconds
Step Four: Scrub Palms, Back of Hands, Between Fingers, Under
Step Five: Rinse Well and Use Paper Towel to Shut Off Faucet
Step Six: Dry Hands Completely
Fight the Spread of Germs
In addition to proper handwashing, here are three more ways to stop the spread of germs:
Hand Washing Materials
The Health Department's public education campaign: Your Health is In Your Hands: WASH promotes proper hand washing with educational materials; and hand washing education at health fairs and other community events. Call the Health Department for more information at 703-246-2411, TTY 711.
Visit the resources page for printable "Wash Your Hands" signs and brochures, as well as other educational publications.
Why Wash Your Hands
Washing hands is the most important and easiest action we can
take to prevent getting sick and spreading illness.
Frequent and proper hand washing kills the germs that cause:
- gastro-intestinal illnesses, such as norovirus and E. coli
- the common cold
- Strep throat
- Staph infection
- pink eye
- many other diseases
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a good alternative when soap and
water are not available to wash hands.
When to WashHands should always be washed BEFORE:
- touching eyes, nose and mouth
- inserting or removing contact lenses
- preparing food
- using the toilet
- coughing, sneezing or using a tissue
- eating, drinking or smoking
- touching cuts, burns or infected areas on the skin
- handling raw meat and poultry
- changing diapers
- touching animals
- touching public surfaces like door handles, gas pumps, shopping carts, etc.