DISCLAIMER: Rules, regulations, and science about the UK pandemic may have changed since this article was written in March 2020, for updated news visit the World Health Organisation or the NHS website.

Why is hand washing important?

Hand washing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. They can help the spread from person to person as well as from hands to surfaces and vice versa. 

The Coronavirus outbreak has made hand washing even more important to prevent the spread of this possibly deadly virus. You should take care to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds often and well, this could help keep you and others around you safe.

When should I be washing my hands?

In the current climate you may wish to introduce a more rigorous hand washing routine. Some essential times to be washing your hands should be:

  • when you get to work or arrive home
  • when you get on or off public transport
  • before eating food
  • before or after preparing food
  • after using the toilet
  • before or after treating someone who is ill
  • after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing

How should I wash my hands?

Our five step guide below outlines how you should be washing your hands to eliminate germs and keep yourself safe.

Wet your hands with clean, running water

Warm or cold water is fine

Illustration of hands underneath water, text below the illustrations reads wet your hands with clean water | 5 Steps to Hand Washing | e-Surgery

Lather your hands with soap

Remember to lather on the backs of your hands as well as between fingers and under nails

Illustration of hands pumping soap into palm, text below the illustration reads lather your hands with soap | 5 Steps to Hand Washing | e-Surgery

Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds

Humming or singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice is a good way to time yourself! You can find a video here outlining the World Health Organisations steps to hand washing.

Illustration of hands rubbing soap together into palms, illustration reads scrub your hands for 20 seconds | 5 Steps to Hand Washing | e-Surgery

Rinse your hands well under water

Make sure to wash off all the suds and leave your hands feeling sparkling!

Illustration of hands underneath water, text below the illustration reads rinse your hands under water | 5 Steps to Hand Washing | e-Surgery

Dry your hands with a clean towel

You can also allow them to air dry, remember to turn off the tap preferably using a paper towel to avoid touching the tap.


  1. When and how to wash your hands | Center for Disease Control

Further Reading

  1. How to Wash Your Hands | NHS
  2. The Power of Hand-Washing to Prevent Coronavirus | WebMD
  3. How Much Time You Spend Washing Your Hands Makes A Difference | healthline


Covid-19 Updates General Health

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