OH-Blog Logo
Person washing hands with soap and water

COVID-19: Hand-Washing Hints

Keep calm and wash your hands. This simple act is one of the most effective methods of preventing COVID-19. But there’s more to it than soap and water. Here’s what you need to know to make sure you stay safe and stop the spread of germs.

When should I wash my hands?

Experts say you should wash your hands:

  • After you blow your nose, cough or sneeze.
  • After you have had close physical contact with anyone who is unwell.
  • After you use the toilet.
  • Before and after you eat.
  • Before, during and after you prepare food.
  • After you feed or touch a pet.

What is the proper hand-washing technique?

Follow these five steps every time you wash your hands.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Hum the Happy Birthday song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

What’s the best soap to use for hand-washing?

There’s no kind of soap that’s best for hand-washing. Just use soap!

Is hand sanitizer effective in combating COVID-19?

Hand sanitizer should only be used if you are not able to wash your hands with soap and water. While using hand sanitizer is better than not using anything, hand sanitizer does not kill the same amount of germs as washing your hands.

If you need to use hand sanitizer, make sure it has at least 60% alcohol to be most effective, and, again, rub for 20 seconds. You can check the amount of alcohol on the sanitizer’s label.

If your hands are visibly dirty or greasy, hand sanitizer may not be as effective.

Can you make your own hand sanitizer?

It’s not recommended that you make your own hand sanitizer. There are a lot of factors that go into making an effective hand sanitizer, besides containing at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizer you make would likely not be effective in protecting you from COVID-19.


Go to COVID-19 Toolkit page on OhioHealth blog


related articles