VSC Safety Alert – Hand Washing


Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water involved in simple chores such as: eating, using the toilet, coughing/sneezing/blowing your nose, touching garbage. To avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends cleaning hands in this specific way.

Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry


WET your hands with clean, running water and apply soap.

Why? Because your hands can be recontaminated if you place them in a basin or bucket of standing water that has been contaminated through previous use.

Does the temperature of the water matter? Temperature of the water does not appear to affect microbe removal so you can use warm or even cold water.

Does the type of soap matter? To date, studies have shown that there is no added health benefit for consumers using soaps containing antibacterial ingredients compared with using plain soap. As a result, the FDA issued a final rule in September 2016 that 19 ingredients in common “antibacterial” soaps were no more effective than non-antibacterial soap and water.


LATHER your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

Why? Lathering and scrubbing hands creates friction, which helps lift dirt, grease, and microbes from skin. Microbes are present on all surfaces of the hand, often in particularly high concentration under the nails, so the entire hand should be scrubbed to loosen the germs.

SCRUB your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.

Why? Scientific evidence suggests that washing hands for about 15-30 seconds removes more germs from hands than washing for shorter periods.

RINSE your hands well under clean, running water.

Why? Soap and friction help lift dirt, grease, and microbes-including disease-causing germs-from skin so they can then be rinsed off hands. Rinsing the soap away also minimizes skin irritation. To avoid re-contamination, rinse only with clean running water.


DRY your hands using a clean towel or air-dry them.

Why? Germs can be transferred more easily to and from wet hands; therefore, hands should be dried after washing.

And Remember… If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Look at the products label to determine the alcohol content and follow the directions on the sanitizer for proper use!

VSC Safety Alert Confirmation - Hand Washing

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY