Thursday, October 11, 2012

How To Wash Your Hands

I know that this might seem elementary, but I learned a few things from my Basic Patient Care class. With Flu season starting to get wound up, this would be a good time to review hand washing procedures.

  • Prepares for handwashing removes jewelry and exposes wrists.
  • Uses paper towel to open faucet to provide continous running water, wets hands, keeps hands lower than elbows.
  • Lathers cleansing agent in hands uses friction, washes wrists, palms,back of hands,fingertips and under nails for at least 15-20 seconds.
  • Rinses under flowing water allowing water to flow down over hands.
  • Use paper towel to dry thoroughly from fingertips to elbows.
  • Turns off faucet with paper towel and disposes of paper towel.
  • Inside of basin avoided at all times.
This is a direct copy from my "comp" sheet that has to be demonstrated. I'll add a few notes from the lecture ( yes, we had a lecture on hand washing ). Be sure that the webbing of your hands are dry when finished washing your hands. Water is an excellent medium for bacteria. The killing of the bacteria/pathogens has more to do with the friction rather than then soap. The underside of the nails is an excellent place for bacteria to hide, so don't neglect them. Open the public bathroom doors with a paper towel - Joe Blow probably didn't wash his hands after doing his "paper work", and this would cancel out any hand washing you've just done. A word about nail polish, as the nail grows, the area between the cuticle and the nail polish is an excellent place for pathogens to hang out. The same goes for clipped chipped nail polish, hence the reason nurses and health care professionals nix the nail polish and long nails.


  1. Replies
    1. Nope, nor sulfuric acid or boiling water.

  2. My daughter graduated nursing school this past June. I remember the fist week of school with her coming home from class in tears crying...Mom...I'm not going to make it....I can't even pass washing my hands!

    1. Before the 'comp' started, I was treated to a powder that glows under a black light. I passed the hand washing, but failed the sterile gloving 'comp'. So while some of my classmates are asleep in bed, I'll be headed back to class near the end of the term to retake my 'sterile gloving comp'. I had to leave early to take Row to the doctor.

  3. I need to start using a paper towel to open bathroom doors, yuck I never thought about others NOT washing their hands, that's just gross! This year is flying by! I need to get our flu shots thanks for the reminder ☺