Standards and Procedures

Handwashing Techniques


Use proper handwashing techniques–protect your health!

Handwashing is the single most important procedure for preventing the spread of biological contamination. Despite this fact, many laboratory personnel do not wash their hands properly. Here are some handwashing tips and procedures for your use:

  1. Consider the sink, including the faucet controls, contaminated.
  2. Avoid touching the sink.
  3. Turn water on using a paper towel and then wet your hands and wrists.
  4. Work soap into a lather.
  5. Vigorously rub together all surfaces of the lathered hands for 15 seconds. Friction helps remove dirt and microorganisms. Wash around and under rings, around cuticles, and under fingernails.
  6. Rinse hands thoroughly under a stream of water. Running water carries away dirt and debris. Point fingers down so water and contamination won't drip toward elbows.
  7. Dry hands completely with a clean dry paper towel.
  8. Use a dry paper towel to turn the faucet off.
  9. To keep the soap from becoming a breeding place for microorganisms, thoroughly clean soap dispensers before refilling with fresh soap.
  10. When handwashing facilities are not available at a remote worksite, use an appropriate antiseptic hand cleaner or antiseptic towelettes. As soon as possible, rewash hands with soap and running water.

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