7 Steps to Handwashing: Proper Hygiene For Improved Health

Handwashing is a simple practice that can have a huge impact on our health. By following these seven steps, you can help ensure that your hands are clean and free from germs and bacteria. Here are the 7 steps to handwashing:

Step 1: Wet Your Hands

The first step in handwashing is to wet your hands with clean, running water. It is important to ensure that the temperature of the water is comfortable and that it is running – not standing – water. It does not matter whether the water is warm or cold, as long as it is comfortable for you. To properly wet your hands, it is important to run the water for at least 20 seconds before moving onto the next step. This will ensure that your hands are adequately wet and ready for the next step of handwashing.

Step 2: Apply Soap

The second step in washing your hands is to apply soap. After you have wet your hands, you need to use a soap that is specifically designed for the hands. This will help ensure that your skin does not become overly dry. You have several options when it comes to choosing a soap. You can use liquid soap, bar soap, or foam soap. All of these types of soap are effective in breaking down dirt and germs on the skin. Make sure to use sufficient soap to cover your hands and rub them together to create a lather. Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds, making sure to get in between your fingers and under your nails. Rinse your hands off with warm water and pat them dry with a clean towel.

Step 3: Lather and Scrub

Once you have applied the soap, it’s time to start lathering your hands. Begin by rubbing your hands together and creating a thick foam. Make sure to get into all of the nooks and crannies of your hands, like the palms, back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. This process is essential to remove any dirt, bacteria or other contaminants from your skin. Spend at least 20 seconds scrubbing your hands together, focusing on all surfaces of your skin. Once you have finished scrubbing, rinse the soap off of your hands with warm water.

Step 4: Rinse Your Hands

Rinsing off your hands is an important part of the hand-washing process. To rinse your hands, take clean, running water and allow it to flow over your hands until all soap is removed. Make sure to check your hands thoroughly to ensure no soap residue remains, as this can leave your hands feeling dry and itchy. Once you have ensured that all of the soap has been rinsed off your hands, you can move on to the next step.

Step 5: Dry Your Hands

Once you’ve finished rinsing away the soap, it’s time to dry your hands. To do this, use either a clean towel or an air dryer. Make sure you’re thorough and dry off all areas of your hands, including your palms, fingers, and wrists. Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to move on to the next step.

Step 6: Use Hand Sanitizer

Once you have dried your hands thoroughly, it is advisable to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if one is available. Doing this will provide an additional level of protection against germs and bacteria by reducing their presence on your hands. Hand sanitizer is a great way to ensure that your hands are as clean and germ-free as possible. It is important to note that hand sanitizer should not be used as a substitute for washing your hands with soap and water, but rather as an additional measure to reduce the presence of germs and bacteria.

Step 7: Avoid Touching Your Face

One of the most important steps in handwashing is to avoid touching your face until you’ve completed all seven steps. This is the seventh and final step in handwashing and it’s an important one. Touching your face after you’ve washed your hands can spread germs from your hands to other parts of your body, potentially leading to an infection. It’s important to be mindful of this and not touch your face until you’ve completed the entire handwashing process.

By avoiding touching your face, you’re helping to minimize the spread of germs and the potential for infection. Not only will this help keep you healthy, but it can also help protect those around you. Taking the time to properly wash your hands and refrain from touching your face is an important part of staying healthy and preventing the spread of germs.

Tips for Proper Handwashing

Handwashing is an important part of personal hygiene and should be done regularly throughout the day. Here are some additional tips for proper handwashing:

  • Make sure to use enough soap when washing your hands.
  • Scrub all surfaces of your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds.
  • Always dry your hands after washing them.
  • Consider using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after washing with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your face until after you’ve completed all seven steps.

The Benefits of Handwashing

Regular and proper handwashing has many benefits, including reducing the spread of disease-causing germs and bacteria, and helping to keep our immune systems strong and healthy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “handwashing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs” [1]. Additionally, frequent handwashing can help reduce the risk of colds, flu and other illnesses [2].


Handwashing is an easy way to promote good health and hygiene practices in our homes and workplaces. Following these seven steps will help ensure that our hands are clean and free from germs and bacteria that can cause illness. Make sure to keep up this healthy practice throughout the day for improved health and wellness!

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2021). Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives | CDC. Retrieved April 5, 2021 from https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/index.html
[2] Mayo Clinic Staff (2020). Hand-washing: Do’s and don’ts – Mayo Clinic. Retrieved April 5, 2021 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/hand-washing/art-20046253