10 Steps to Clean Hands Using Hand Soap and Water

March 11, 2020

10 Steps to Clean Hands Using Hand Soap and Water

Did you know, more than 80% of all illnesses are transmitted by hands1?

That’s why adopting effective hand hygiene techniques into your daily routine is vital. In the 30 or so seconds it takes you to wash your hands, you are changing the world by helping to stop the spread of germs.

Here’s a 10 step guide to ensuring you maintain clean, germ-free hands through using hand soap and water.

Wet hands under running water.

Add soap.

Rub palms together vigorously to create lather.

Rub the backs of hands vigorously with palms with fingers interlaced.

Wash between fingers. Don’t forget to clean underneath your finger nails as this can often be the dirtiest spot on your hands2.

Group fingers together, rub tips in lather on palm of opposite hand.

Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa.

Rub the right wrist with the left palm and vice versa.

Rub backs of fingers against opposite palm.

Rinse hands to remove all soap and dry hands thoroughly using a single use paper towel.

What about hand sanitiser you ask?

You should only use hand sanitiser when your hands are not visibly dirty or soiled. If you’ve been working in the garden or gone fishing for instance, get to a basin with running water and use hand soap. If a hand washing station is not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser instead, and wash with soap and water as soon as you can.

A good time to use hand sanitiser is before and after visiting a friend or a loved one in a hospital or an aged care facility.

Where else might I find germs?

A number of everyday items that we touch with our hands have a tendency to harbour germs and should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. This includes:

  • Remote controls – typically the dirtiest item in any place that they are found3
  • Computer keyboards
  • Cutting boards – it could have more bacteria than a toilet seat4

Want to promote effective hand hygiene techniques in your workplace?

Download and print one of the posters in our resource library and place it up next to each handwashing station.

Download Posters


12013 meta-analysis of germ transmission data by Dr. Charles Gerba, University of Arizona
2 Jason G Goldman, 23 June 2016
3 Sirena Rubinoff, 20 May 2010
4 Esther Han, 20 April 2012