Global Handwashing Day: When should you wash your hands?
Thursday, 15 October · 2 min read

Regular handwashing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs, including viruses like flu and coronavirus.

For example, a recent study found that washing your hands between 6 to 10 times a day can significantly lower your risk of coronavirus infection.

But when are the best times to wash your hands?

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says you should clean them when you’re more likely to get and spread germs.

In terms of reducing the spread of coronavirus, this means washing your hands:

  • after you’ve been out in public and have touched surfaces that other people have also touched
  • after blowing you nose, coughing or sneezing into your hands
  • before touching your eyes, nose and mouth — to help stop germs from entering your body

But in general, you can reduce your risk of getting or spreading an infection by washing your hands:

  • before, during and after preparing food, especially when handling raw meat
  • before eating food
  • before and after looking after someone who is vomiting or has diarrhoea
  • after using the toilet or changing nappies/diapers
  • after handling pets or their food, cages, toys and litter trays
  • after touching dirty laundry
  • after touching rubbish

It’s best to wash your hands with soap and warm water rather than using a hand sanitiser when you can. Sanitisers don't get rid of all germs and may not be as effective when your hands are dirty or greasy.

Quote of the day

Hygiene is two-thirds of health.

Proverb

Quick Quiz
How does hand washing help to prevent the spread of germs, such as coronaviruses?
How to wash your hands properly