Think you know? You might be surprised!

The best way to protect yourself—and others—from getting sick, handwashing is pretty basic advice. But, just as a reminder, we’re sharing some useful information about when and how.

When to wash your hands

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After handling shared objects
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • Before inserting/removing contact lenses
  • Before flossing your teeth
  • After helping someone else (like kids) with any personal care

How to wash your hands

  • Remove any hand or arm jewellery.
  • Wet hands with warm water.
  • Apply plain soap (avoid antibacterial soaps) to hands and rub together for 20 seconds (the length of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday—twice).
  • Wash the front and back of hands, as well as between fingers and under nails.
  • Rinse hands well for 10 seconds under warm running water, using a rubbing motion.
  • Wipe and dry hands gently with a paper towel.
  • Turn off the tap using the paper towel to avoid re-contaminating your hands. In public bathrooms, use the same paper towel to open the door when you leave.

When soap and water isn’t available

Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol (check the label to be sure) is a second option.

  • Apply to the palm of one hand (read the label for correct amount).
  • Rub hands together.
  • Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.