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Cleaning your hands can help protect yourself and others from infection. Here’s some useful information on how to wash your hands effectively

Handwashing with soap and water is one of the most important steps we can take to reduce the spread of infection. During the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping hands clean is especially important to help prevent the virus from spreading.

How to wash your hands

There’s useful information on the NHS website on how to wash your hands, including a helpful video showing the best way to wash your hands at

You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. There are various ways to help small children understand how long they should wash their hands for, for example, by singing “Happy Birthday” through twice. 

Here’s advice from the NHS website on how to wash your hands:

✚ Wet your hands with water

✚ Apply enough soap to cover your hands

✚ Rub your hands together

✚ Use one hand to rub the back of the other hand and clean in between the fingers. Do the same with the other hand

✚ Rub your hands together and clean in between your fingers

✚ Rub the back of your fingers against your palms

✚ Rub your thumb using your other hand. Do the same with the other thumb

✚ Rub the tips of your fingers on the palm of your other hand. Do the same with other hand

✚ Rinse your hands with water

✚ Dry your hands completely with a disposable towel

✚ Use the disposable towel to turn off the tap.

If you do not have immediate access to soap and water, then use alcohol-based handrub if available. This can be purchased from your local pharmacy as well as supermarkets.


✚ After using the toilet or changing a nappy

✚ Before preparing food

✚ Before and after handling raw foods like meat and vegetables

✚ Before eating or handling food

✚ After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing

✚ Before and after caring for someone sick

✚ Before and after treating a cut or wound

✚ After touching animals, including pets, their food and after cleaning their cages

✚ Before and after changing contact lenses

✚ After you have been in a public place

✚ After handling your mask


Parents and carers play a crucial role in teaching children to wash their hands – it’s an essential skill for children of all ages. Handwashing can become a lifelong healthy habit if you start teaching it at an early age. And it’s especially important to remind children to wash their hands. Adults should act as good role models by using good handwashing practices themselves.

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