Hand Washing


6 Steps for Proper Hand Washing

Slideshow: What are the six steps to proper hand washing?

Step 1: Start with Soap and Warm Water
Step 2: Make a Lather
Step 3: Scrub Thoroughly for 20 Seconds
Step 4: Scrub Palms, Back of Hands, Between Fingers, Under Nails
Step 5: Rinse Well and Use Paper Towel to Shut Off Faucet
Step 6: Dry Hands Completely

Why Wash Your Hands

Hands being washed at sinkWashing 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
  • influenza
  • 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 Wash

20 sec logoHands should always be washed BEFORE:
  • touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • inserting or removing contact lenses
  • preparing food
  • eating
Hands should always be washed AFTER:
  • 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.

Fight the Spread of Germs

In addition to proper hand washing, here are three more ways to stop the spread of germs:

  1. Get an annual flu vaccine.
  2. Cover your coughs and sneezes the proper way.
  3. Stay home when sick.

Hand Washing Materials

Wash Your Hands flyer thumbnail

Hand Washing Flyers

English PDF icon
Spanish PDF icon
Arabic PDF icon
Chinese PDF icon
Farsi PDF icon
Korean PDF icon
Urdu PDF icon
Vietnamese PDF icon

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

ADA Accessibility | Website Accessibility
Awards | FOIA | Mobile | Using this Site | Web Disclaimer & Privacy Policy | Get Adobe Reader
Official site of the County of Fairfax, Virginia, © Copyright 2016

Website Feedback Website Feedback    Globe with various flags representing Web site language translations   Language Translations

Return to Graphic Version