Tip of the Day
Hand Sanitizer or Soap and Water?
While alcohol-based hand sanitizers (mainly those with 60 percent alcohol or more) can reduce the number of some germs, a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that hand sanitizer doesn't reduce the spread of some viruses such as the norovirus.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used "in addition to" hand washing, but should not be used as a substitute for washing hands with soap and water.
Here is a quick review on how to properly wash your hands when using hand sanitizer or soap and water:
- Always use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Apply the hand sanitizer to the palm of one hand.
- Rub your hands together, rubbing the hand sanitizer all over your hands and fingers until they are dry.
- Important: Hand sanitizers are not effective if your hands are visibly dirty.
Proper Hand Washing
- Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
- Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
- Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Try humming "Happy Birthday" from beginning to end twice to know you've washed for at least 20 seconds.
- Rinse your hands well under running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry.
Visit HomeFoodSafety.org for more information on the importance of proper hand washing and other tips for preventing food poisoning.
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Reviewed May 2013