Read the section on How to Wash Your Hands, then take the quiz to finish this module.

How to wash your hands



This technique demonstrates that all surfaces of the hands are to be individually cleaned during the washing process.

Hand Cleansing Techniques



When to wash your hands
You need to wash your hands when you do the following:
    Before and after
  •     Handling or preparing food
  •     Meals
  •     Attending to a child or sick person
  •     Inserting contact lenses

    After
  •     Using the toilet
  •     Eating
  •     Wiping or blowing nose
  •     Coughing and sneezing
  •     Changing nappies
  •     Touching common surfaces (lift buttons, handles, table tops, etc)

What type of soap should be used?
Any type of soap may be used. However, bar soap should be kept in a self draining holder that is cleaned thoroughly before new bars are put in. Liquid soap containers should be used until empty and cleaned before refilling.

Hand disinfection
Where clean water and soap are not available, it is important to use hand disinfectants as an additional measure of hygiene after washing your hands. The most common form of disinfectants are alcohol-based ones.
Also between patients, if your hands are not soiled, alcohol based disinfectants are useful.

How to use alcohol-based disinfectants
Ideally, wash your hands to make sure all dirt is removed as alcohol-based disinfectants work best on clean skin.
Dry your hands as water dilutes the alcohol of the disinfectant and lessens its effectiveness.
  •     Apply disinfectant about the size of a coin on your hands. Rub them together, ensuring that both hands are covered with disinfectant, including the area under your nails.
  •     Keep applying the rubbing motion for about 15 seconds, or until your hands feel dry.
Your hands may be clean after washing with soap and water, but there are also precautions when you dry them:
  •     Avoid using sponges or non-disposable cleaning cloths to wipe your hands.
  •     Do not use a common hand towel. Always use disposable towels in public or office washrooms.
  •     Do not use a single damp cloth to wash a group of children s hands.

Copyright 2012 HPMI

Hand Cleansing