Clean hands are one of the most important keys to preventing foodborne illnesses. Studies have shown time and again that hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs and keep you and your family healthy!
Remember that simply rinsing your hands under running water won’t cut it! Proper hand washing technique only takes 20 seconds and requires three simple ingredients: warm running water, soap, and a clean towel (or air dryer). Here’s how to get your hands squeaky clean and ready to get cooking in the kitchen:
- Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap.
- Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
We use our hands for so many different tasks throughout the day that they get dirty very quickly. Be sure to wash your hands frequently- always at the times listed below:
- Before, during, and after preparing food (especially when handling raw meat/poultry)
- Before eating food
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal or animal waste
- After touching garbage
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them. However, for those times when soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Remember that hand sanitizers are not effective if your hands are visibly dirty.
Here’s how to use hand sanitizer properly:
- Apply the product to the palm of one hand.
- Rub your hands together.
- Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.
For more information on hand washing, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.