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Food Preparation: Hand-Washing

Updated on February 22, 2012
washing hands at kitchen sink
washing hands at kitchen sink

Wash Your Hands!

Do you remember when your mother used to ask you: have you washed your hands? There is a good reason for her concern.

Hand washing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Now this mat sound obvious but it isn’t and many people do not do it as well as they should.

Good hand washing technique is easy to learn and can significantly reduce the spread of infectious diseases among both children and adults.

Follow these five simple steps and you will keep your hands clean:

  1. Wet your hands with warm running water.
  2. Add soap, and then rub your hands together, making a soapy lather. Do this away from the running water for at least 15 seconds, being careful not to wash the lather away. Wash the front and back of your hands, as well as between your fingers and under your nails.
  3. Rinse your hands well under warm running water.
  4. Pat hands dry with a paper towel.
  5. Turn off water using same paper towel and dispose in a proper receptacle.


Now you may be surprised to discover that there is a correct hand washing technique, well there is. To get the most from your efforts rub your hands vigorously with soapy water, by doing this you pull the dirt and the oily soils free from your skin. Washing in this way will allow the soap lather to suspend both the dirt and germs trapped inside and are then quickly washed away.

What is the best soap for washing your hands?

Any type of plain soap may be used. However, bar soap should be kept in a self draining holder that is cleaned thoroughly before new bars are put out. Liquid soap containers should be used until empty and then recycled or discarded.

To avoid chapping, simply wet your hands before applying soap; always use a mild lotion soap and warm water; pat rather than rub hands dry; and apply lotion liberally and frequently.

I cannot count the number of times that I wash my hands each day. This is especially true when I am preparing food. I keep a liquid soap container by the kitchen sink so that I do not have to walk back and forth from the kitchen to the bathroom when I need to wash.


Submit a Comment

  • cgull8m profile image

    cgull8m 10 years ago from North Carolina

    Thanks Bob, great tips.

  • profile image

    Lisa Barger 10 years ago

    Excellent advice, Bob.