Washing your hands is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria. Proper hand washing may eliminate nearly half of all cases of food poisoning and significantly reduce the spread of the common cold and flu.
Wash your hands in warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds — about the time it takes to sing two choruses of "Happy Birthday." Wash the front and back of your hands and up to your wrists, between fingers and under fingernails. Lathering up with any type of soap in warm water is effective in reducing bacteria. There is no scientific evidence that using anti-bacterial soaps reduces the incidence of any disease more than ordinary soap.
Use a Clean, Dry Towel
Dry your hands with a disposable paper towel or a clean towel. Don’t contaminate your hands by using a dirty cloth to dry them. Use a separate clean towel to dry off kitchen surfaces.
Wash your hands before, during and after handling food, and after switching tasks, such as handling raw meat and then cutting vegetables. Also, remember to wash your hands after taking out garbage, talking on the phone, sneezing or petting an animal. Wear latex gloves if you have a cut or sore on your hand.
Reviewed May 2014