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Handwashing procedure

Updated on January 30, 2014

Hand washing, as we all know, is the single most important procedure in all aspects may it be in the workplace, in the kitchen, in the playground, or even in the garage. It's main purpose is to prevent the spread and more importantly to prevent cross infection of one person to the other. Hand washing is not merely the application of water and soap to your hands and rubbing it together and rinsing it after. It follows a step by step process in which it would promote the clean technique to it.

General points

Before moving along to the actual procedures, there are some points that one must remember prior to the procedure:

First and foremost would be to remove all jewelry in your hands and arms as it could be a source of the spread of microorganisms. Jewelries can harbor bacteria which could cause cross infection.

Second is to cover any cuts and open wounds with a waterproof dressing as it may contaminate your hands with blood while rinsing it.

Lastly, always trim your fingernails as short and smooth as possible since it could harbor bacteria and can be a source of cross infection as well. additionally, it can also cause skin puncture to the glove and to your own skin as well.


  • Running water
  • Cleansing agent
  • Clean towel
  • rubbish bin

When do you perform handwashing?


Remove anything that is attached to your hands such as jewelries and bracelets
This is to promote thorough hand washing in areas that bacteria can accumulate
Turn on the tap and adjust the temperature, the water should be warm enough but not hot
Warm water promotes efficacy of cleansing agents
Wet hands up to the wrist area
Promotes dispersion of the cleansing agent used
Dispense cleansing agent to your hands just enough to lather
For effective cleansing in all hand surfaces
Do not use bar soap
Bar soap can harbor bacteria which causes cross infection
Wash hands
1. Rub palms together
2. Hand over hand washing between fingers
3. Wash fingertips in the palm of each hand
4. Wash fingertips and nails individually
5. Wash thumbs and wrists
6. Wash beneath the wedding ring area if you're wearing it
7. Pay attention to non-dominant hand
Non dominant hand is often not washed properly therefore always pay attention to it
Rinse hands and held it downwards until all cleansing agent is removed
Promotes removal of all cleansing agent and bacteria on it, also any cleansing agent left may cause skin irritation
Turn the tap off using foot or elbow
Prevent from contaminating your hands, if regular tap is used, get a piece of clean towel and use it to turn the tap off
Dry hands thoroughly
Bacteria growth is fastest when the area is moist, so make sure you dry it properly
Dispose towel on foot operated bin
Prevents recontamination of your hands by touching the bin
Apply hand cream or moisturizer
Reduces the potential of cracking and dry skin
shows summary of the handwashing procedure
shows summary of the handwashing procedure

A short video about handwashing


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