Your hands play a big part in the transmission of bacteria and viruses, so proper hand hygiene is one way we can all work to prevent the spread of illness
When it comes to cleaning your hands, you have two effective options: Handwashing and hand sanitizer. But which choice is best?
Never Miss a Beat!
Subscribe to Our HealthBeat Newsletter!
Get Healthy Tips Sent to Your Phone!
Proper Hand Hygiene: Handwashing 101
The best, most effective way to clean your hands is by handwashing with soap and water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
With handwashing, technique is key. You should run your hands under clean water, apply soap, and rub your hands together for a minimum of 20 seconds. Make sure to get in between your fingers, the backs of your hands, and under your fingernails.
Want a trick? Try singing the ABCs from start to finish before you rinse your hands. When you’re done, you can either use a clean towel or air dry your hands.
Proper Hand Hygiene: Hand Sanitizer 101
If you do not have access to soap and clean, running water, hand sanitizer is a great alternative. When selecting a hand sanitizer, be sure that it contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Non-alcohol based and sanitizers with less than 60 percent alcohol concentration have proven to be less effective at killing germs.
When applying hand sanitizer, use at least a half of a teaspoon, or enough that it takes about 20 seconds for your hands to dry while rubbing them. It is also important to note that hand sanitizers do not kill all types germs.
Handwashing and Hand Sanitizer
When you have the option, handwashing should always be your first choice. Although both handwashing and hand sanitizer are great methods to keep your hands clean, it is important to keep in mind that hand sanitizer is not a replacement for soap and water, but rather, an alternative if you do not have the resources to wash your hands.
Editor's Note: This video was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .
About Urgent Care
Sometimes you need care right away, with no time to wait for an appointment. That’s where UPMC Urgent Care comes in. We offer prompt treatment for illnesses and injuries seven days a week, with no appointment necessary. With locations throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland, you can find immediate care close to you – even if your doctor’s office is closed. Our services include treatment for minor injuries and illnesses, physicals, prescription filling, and flu shots and immunizations. Wait times for minor injuries and illnesses are usually shorter than the Emergency Department, and we accept most major insurance. Visit our website to find a location close to you.