What is the Correct Order of Steps for Handwashing?


What is The Right Order of Steps for Handwashing?


Washing your hands is the most important activity to prevent the spread of germs that can lead to illnesses. While it isn’t a complicated process, there is a specific order of correct steps for handwashing that experts recommend. If you want to ensure the most effective hand washing experience possible, follow these steps for washing your hands. We also have special tips for handwashing with kids and some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding handwashing. Let’s dive in!


Handwashing Steps


You can find handwashing steps and graphics literally anywhere on the internet, but we will focus on the handwashing process from the CDC. The following order of steps for handwashing is for everyday settings. The CDC also has a handwashing process for medical and food-preparation facilities as that’s a more involved process. 


Step 1: Wet hands with water


Step 2: Apply soap to cover the front and back of your hands, plus between your fingers


Step 3: Scrub and lather your hands for at least 20 seconds


Step 4: Rinse your hands completely with flowing water


Step 5: Thoroughly dry your hands with a towel or air dry them


These five simple steps can go a long way to preventing the spread of germs and illnesses. Completing the steps in this specific order helps ensure you properly remove dirt and germs effectively. Now, the next question, how often and at what times should you wash your hands?


When to Wash Your Hands


There are critical times throughout the day you should wash your hands. Some may be more obvious than others, but it’s a good reminder to prioritize handwashing throughout your busy day. Here are the critical times to wash your hands.


  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before and after eating
  • After using the restroom 
  • After helping a child use the restroom
  • Before and after changing a diaper
  • When treating a cut or wound
  • After blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing
  • Before, during, and after caring for someone who is sick
  • After interacting with an animal, animal food or waste (including pet food and treats)
  • After handling garbage
  • After touching “high touch points” in public settings, like doorknobs, elevator buttons, touchscreens, etc…


Special Hand Washing Tips for Children


Kids are so busy and may not want to take the time to go through each step of handwashing correctly. So, what can you do to encourage proper handwashing with young children? Make it fun! The CDC suggests singing a song like “Happy Birthday” twice while washing your hands. This is a simple way to keep young kids engaged in the handwashing process from beginning to end. 


Another way to encourage proper handwashing with kids is to provide a child-height sink for them to use. These types of portable sinks have a counter height that’s perfect for kids to walk right up and use without a stool. Sometimes that makes all the difference for handwashing with kids. 


Other Frequently Asked Handwashing Questions


  • Is Cold Water Effective for Handwashing?


The short answer for this is, yes, it’s still effective! We go into detail in this blog post about why cold water is still effective for handwashing. If you only have cold water available or looking to save money and energy, rest assured that cold water is just as effective for washing your hands. The effectiveness lies in the process outlined above!


  • Does Hand Sanitizer Kill More Germs Than Handwashing?


Many people turn to hand sanitizers because they’re convenient, but is it more effective than washing your hands with soap and water? While hand sanitizers certainly have their place, especially if there’s no soap and water nearby, traditional handwashing in the correct order of steps is the preferred method for cleaning your hands. You can read more about handwashing vs. hand sanitizer here.


No Plumbing? No Problem!


For schools, facilities, and events that have limited plumbing availability, portable sinks are your ideal solution. These sinks are the perfect solution because you still benefit from proper handwashing in a convenient place without the need for fixed plumbing. There are even portable sinks available without electricity! With the wide selection of sinks from All Portable Sinks, you can easily find the right portable sink for your industry, regulations, capacity, and aesthetics. Don’t let limited utilities keep you from providing a handwashing station for your staff, guests, or students!


Washing your hands is not a complicated process, but the order of steps does matter to get the most effective clean. Following the proper handwashing steps and washing your hands at the right times throughout your day is key for a safe and healthy environment. If you’re looking to promote more handwashing at your facility or event with a portable sink, All Portable Sinks is here to help. Contact our team at All Portable Sinks with any questions and view our full inventory online.



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