Properly washing your hands should be an important part of your daily routine.
Washing your hands is your best defence against spreading illness such as the flu, colds, food-borne diseases, and norovirus (general information from Health Canada and information for health professionals from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care).
How to wash your hands
Follow these steps for healthy handwashing habits throughout your day.
- Use regular—not antibacterial—soap and running water.
- Lather the front and back of your hands.
- Rub between your fingers and under your nails.
- Wash for at least 15 seconds.
- Rinse with warm water.
- Dry your hands with a paper towel.
- Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet.
When should I wash my hands?
When to wash your hands is also key to preventing the spread of illness. Here’s when you should be washing your hands:
- when you arrive at work or home
- when arriving at, or leaving, a daycare
- when arriving at, or leaving, a health care facility
- when your hands are visibly dirty
- after handling garbage
- after handling dirty diapers
- after sneezing or coughing
- after wiping your nose
- after using the toilet
- after handling animals or animal waste
- before preparing, serving, or eating food
- before giving or taking medication
This item was last modified on April 24, 2019