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Steps for proper handwashing include:

  1. Take off any jewelry.
  2. Wet your hands with clean water.
  3. Apply soap and lather your hands by rubbing them together for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Make sure you also lather the back of the hands, between the fingers, the thumb, and under the nails. Rinse well.
  5. Dry with a clean towel or air dry.

Proper handwashing is the best way to avoid spreading germs to help prevent infection.

Review Date 10/25/2021

Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.