Skip to main content

Hand Washing

Instructions to ensure your handwashing is thorough
and sufficient for keeping you and others clean and safe.


Proper hand washing is one of the most important factors in preventing illness or infection. Agents that cause disease, known as pathogens, can be transferred from one person to another via direct contact (for example, shaking hands) and indirect contact (for example, touching contaminated door handles). Organisms notorious for hand-facilitated transfer include norovirus, influenza virus, Hepatitis A virus and cold viruses.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the hands should be washed:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage


The following hand washing procedure is effective in significantly reducing hand contamination with pathogenic microorganisms:

  • First, wet hands with clean running water
  • Second, apply soap
  • Third, rub well including the back of the hand, between fingers, and under nails – this step should last at least 20 seconds
  • Fourth, rinse well under running water
  • Fifth, dry your hands using either a clean towel or allow your hands to air dry
  • Finally, turn off the tap using a towel whenever possible

If you cannot wash your hands, use of a hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethanol will help to reduce hand contamination with most pathogens.

For more information, please go to:

For more trainings on BYU campus, please see the Training Calendar.