Your Ultimate Guide to Handwashing

By Dr. Prem Narayan Vaish in Internal Medicine

Oct 11 , 2022 | 1 min read

You might consider handwashing to be a simple activity. But handwashing is critical for controlling many diseases such as typhoid, eye infections, diarrhoea, and other gastrointestinal infections. Since 2019, due to the advent of COVID-19 infection, people have actually realised the importance of handwashing.

But are you aware of the right technique?

A three-step formula for proper handwashing

  1. Wet your hands under running tap water.

  2. Apply soap and then rub your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. Refer to the given illustration to know the steps in detail.

  3. Rinse your hands again and dry them with a clean towel.

When should you wash your hands?

You should definitely wash your hands in the following scenarios.

  1. Before and after preparing a meal

  2. Before and after having a meal

  3. When your hands are visibly soiled

  4. If you get in contact with an ill person

  5. After using toilet

  6. After coughing and sneezing

  7. After touching animals

But that doesn’t mean you need to overdo hand washing because that can damage your skin and make it itchy and dry.

Two-step hack to prevent skin damage caused due to handwashing

  1. Avoid using hot water for washing hands to prevent dryness. Also, apply a moisturiser after each wash.

  2. Choose liquid soap over the bar as they contain more humectant that keeps your skin moisturised.

Now Let’s Debunk Common Myths About Handwashing

Duration of handwashing is not significant

You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

You can replace handwashing with the use of sanitiser.

If your hands are visibly soiled, you should always use soap and water to wash your hands. For regular cleaning, you may use sanitiser.

Hot water is best for handwashing

You may use water of any temperature to wash your hands effectively. In fact, you should avoid hot water to prevent dryness of your hands.

Drying your hands after washing is not important.

Drying your hands after washing them is important because damp hands promote the growth of microorganisms.

Hand dryers are better than disposable paper towels.

The inside surface of the hand dryer is generally wet, providing an ideal environment for microorganisms to grow. So use disposable hand towels instead to keep your hands clean.

You should use only anti-bacterial soap to wash your hands.

Both normal and anti-bacterial soaps are equally efficient for washing hands because the main goal is to remove the layer of grease/fat present over our hands that contains microorganisms.


Hand Washing can prevent a lot of diseases. Just 20 seconds can do more than you can imagine. So, wash your hands regularly and protect yourself.