Table of content

  1. When to wash/disinfect your hands?
  2. Why you should clean your hands?
  3. How to wash/disinfect your hands?
  4. Handwashing versus disinfection.
  5. Alcohol and religion.
  6. Usefull links and video's.

1. When to clean your hands?

2. Why should you clean your hands?

Cleaning your hands is the single most effective way to prevent that certain germs (a general term for microbes like viruses and bacteria) make you or your friends and family sick.

You come in contact with germs by casually touching another person or contaminated objects or surfaces (= invisibly soiled with germs). You can either path-on germs to others, or make yourself sick, by touching your face (mouth, eyes, and nose).

Thus, cleaning your hands you, will help you to stay healthy and prevents infections to spread to your friends and family.

3. How to wash/disinfect your hands?


Using soap and lathering up is very important (rinsing hands in water only is not as effective). Hands should be washed for a minimum of 15 seconds - longer if the hands are visibly soiled.


Take a “handful’ of the disinfectant and rub it over your hand. Ensure to cover your whole hand, including (and especially) your fingertips, since they are of most importance with regard to transmission and infecting yourself (contact with nose, mouth and eyes).

4. Handwashing versus disinfection

Within healthcare settings, hand disinfection is very important and preferable to hand washing, since it is more effective than handwashing. With your setting both methods are equally good, but disinfection can be used without having running water and a sink.

5. Alcohol and religion

The World Health Organization put a lot of time and energy into the discussion about the use of alcohol based hand disinfectants and the different world religions, especially those that do not allow the consumption of alcohol. If you want to know more about this have a look at this publication:

Ahmed et al. Lancet

6. Usefull links and video's

WHO hand hygiene guideline in healthcare settings.
A brochure about hand hygiene.

WHO movie

Good video – healthcare needs to get out

Diseases and Handwashing
Information on a large number of diseases and conditions, most that could be prevented by proper hand hygiene.

Hand Hygiene and Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern. Handwashing prevents the spread of germs.

5 Common Ways Germs are Spread
This fun poster teaches about cross contamination.