How To Wash Your Hands

Handwashing is extremely important to prepare safe food. This explains and demonstrate how to properly wash your hands.


27 November 2009

Washing your hands is one of the most important habits you can get into when cooking. Do you know how to wash your hands?

Many people think they know how to wash their hands. Before attending food hygiene & safety classes, I thought I did, but discovered there was more to learn! I vividly remember the instructor putting a special powder on our hands and asking us to wash our hands as we normally would. He then used an ultra-violet lamp to show where powder was left on our hands after hand-washing. There were many areas glowing, demonstrating how bacteria hides in the nook and cranies of our hands. I have always taken extra care to wash my hands properly since!

Hand-washing helps prevent food born illnesses.

Hand-Washing Steps

  1. Wet your hands
  2. Apply soap
  3. Scrub vigorously
  4. Rinse your hands
  5. Dry your hands
  6. Turn tap off

When To Wash

  1. Before cooking
  2. After handling meat, poultry, fish, especially raw.
  3. After handling rubbish

Graphic showing hand-washing steps
How to wash your hands in 6 easy steps.

You should wash your hands for about 20 seconds (about the length of time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice).

There is NO evidence that anti-bacterial soap is more efficient than regular soap*. The Mayo Clinic suggests that using anti-bacterial soap "may even lead to the development of bacteria that are resistant to the product's antimicrobial agents — making it harder to kill these germs in the future".

I prefer to use liquid soap rather than bar soap as there are less chances to accumulate bacterias.

Don't touch the tap with your clean hands - you turned it on with dirty hands! Use your towel to turn the tap off after you dried your hands.

Video Demonstration

Captions are available for this video.


* Weber DJ, Rutala WA (2006). "Use of germicides in the home and the healthcare setting: is there a relationship between germicide use and antibiotic resistance?". Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 27


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Custard: A detestable substance produced by a malevolent conspiracy of the hen, the cow, and the cook. Ambrose Bierce

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