Washing your hands helps keep you clean and healthy! If you have dirt or paint on your hands, you know you should wash and get them clean. But you can also get germs or viruses on your hands, and these are impossible to see. Germs and viruses can cause you to be sick, or for others to get sick if you accidentally spread it to them.
Luckily, there are a few easy steps to keep you (and everyone else) free of grime and safe from germs and viruses.
1. Turn on the sink, with the water not too hot or too cold. Remember Goldilocks: you want to make it the perfect temperature for you.
2. Next, get plenty of soap on your hands. Make sure to get each of your fingers, even under your fingernails! It doesn’t matter what soap you use.
3. Once your hands are full of suds , you don’t want to just rinse them off. Instead, you should scrub your hands together under the water: getting the backs, fronts, and everything in-between. Keep scrubbing for 20 seconds! Don’t know how long that is? Just sing “Happy Birthday” twice. Or “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” once.
4. When you’ve scrubbed for 20 seconds , it’s time to rinse the soap off under the running water. Make sure to get rid of all the suds!
5. Finally, turn off the sink and dry your hands on a clean towel or with a hand-dryer (not on your shirt!).
When should you wash your hands? Whenever you want to get clean! But there are also a few times when it’s important to wash. These include:
Before touching any scrape/cut
After going to the bathroom
After touching anything icky, like mud or trash
After coughing/sneezing/blowing your nose
After touching pets or their food
When someone near you is sick
Hand washing is for wherever you are! At home, at school, or anywhere you go.
Important! Don’t touch your face when you know your hands aren’t clean. Make sure to wash them first.
Let’s say you want to make extra sure you get rid of germs (though soap and water is usually just fine). Using a hand sanitizer works well for this. For a hand sanitizer, forget about the water. Instead, you should squirt the sanitizer onto your palm. Scrub it over both of your hands like you would soap, making sure to get the fronts, backs, and sides of your hands.
It’s easy to tell when you’re done, because your hands will absorb the gel and become dry. If in doubt, you want to rub it for 20-30 seconds. [For parents: make sure the hand sanitizer is alcohol-based. It should be at least 60% alcohol, as recommended by the CDC.]
All of this takes time to learn, but practice makes perfect. If you’re teaching your kids this, you can show them how you wash your hands before every meal. You could also make it fun, buying different colored soap or soap with interesting smells. Hand washing will become normal and routine for them soon.