How to Wash Your Hands

Regular hand washing is the single most effective way to avoid infectious diseases. However, improper hand washing may not be very effective.

Turn on warm water. There is no need to make it scalding!
Apply soap to your hands. If you are using bar soap, wet your hands a little bit first.
Lather soap into hands for at least 15 seconds. 15 seconds is about the time it takes to sing the song "Happy Birthday". Since the song quietly in your head, or out loud if you don't mind explaining yourself to the others around you. (That may in fact be good, because they can learn about proper hand washing from you.)
Be sure to get rub the soap into all parts of your hands, including in between fingers, on the back, and somewhat up the arms.
Rinse off soap in warm water. You can continue to rub your hands together under the water. That will help ensure that the soap is removed from all parts of your hands.
Do not use your hands to turn off the water. Sink faucets are often covered in all kinds of bacteria, including the ones you just had on your hands when you turned on the faucet to wash your hands. Instead, use a paper towel or your elbow.
Dry your hands using a paper towel, a clear cloth towel, or an electric dryer.
Try to avoid touching the doorknob when leaving the bathroom. Use a paper towel between your hand and the doorknob, or push open the door with your shoulder if there is no latch.

Copyright 2009 by Michael Nehring