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Handwashing 101

Updated: Apr 23

Handwashing 101:

This isn’t your kindergarten handwashing lesson. In fact, it’s much more detailed than that. We learn hygiene practices when we are young and then this becomes a habit for the rest of our lives. But are our habits serving us well or are we missing some things?

Believe it or not nursing students may spend up to two class periods learning handwashing. This is often followed by a skills test where the student must demonstrate proper technique. Meticulous handwashing is the key to prevent yourself from getting sick and to prevent the spread of infection to others. When we wash our hands we get rid of infectious organisms which includes bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

So lets get started.

1) Approach the sink. Do not let your body touch the counter, especially when in public because this surface may have infections organisms on it that can transfer to your clothes.

2) Turn on the water, it should be warm in temperature. Water that is too hot may be uncomfortable and dry out your hands.


Turn On The Water


3) Get your hands wet with water.

Wet Hands

4) Apply soap to hands

Apply Soap


5) Start by rubbing your palms together.

Rub Palms Together

6) Then interlace your fingers and rub your hands together vigorously.

Interlace Fingers

7) Now wash the back of your right and left hand.

Rub the Back of Hands

8) Now wash your right thumb, than your left thumb

Wash Each Thumb

9) Scrub your fingertips against each palm to wash your nails or use a nail brush. Keeping your nails short can help prevent spread of infectious organisms.

Scrub Fingernails

10) Now scrub your right and left wrist.

Scrub Wrists

11) Now rinse your hands with water.

Rinse Hands

12) Use your elbow to dispense the paper towel, sometimes you can get this ready before you start. Now thoroughly dry all the surfaces on your hands.

Dry Hands

13) Use a paper towel to turn off the sink.

Turn Off Sink With Paper Towel

What Not To Do

1) Don’t lean against the counter top this can transfer infectious organisms onto your clothes.

2) Don’t turn the water on too high, the forceful pressure of the water might touch the bottom of the sink which is dirty and bounce back at you.

3) Do not touch the inside of the sink which is dirty when you are washing your hands or let your hands get too close to the bottom of the sink.

4) Do not shake your hands dry.

5) Do now wipe up around the sink with a paper towel after you are finished, the counter around the sink is dirty and this could contaminate your hands.

So do you think you can pass nursing handwashing 101? If not that’s okay. It’s just time to make a conscious effort to change your everyday habits.

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Columbia, SC 29212

© 2020 by Lauren Svensen APRN, FNP-C