With the continuation of the cold and flu season, it is a good time to review the proper hand washing procedures based upon guidelines from Pennsylvania DHS and Caring for Our Children, Third Edition (Standard 188.8.131.52).
Children and staff members should wash their hands using the following method:
a. Check to be sure a clean, disposable paper towel is available.
b. Turn on warm water, between 60°F and 110°F, to a comfortable temperature.
c. Moisten hands with water and apply soap to hands.
d. Rub hands together vigorously until a soapy lather appears, hands are out of the water stream, and continue for at least twenty seconds (sing “Happy Birthday” silently twice) Rub areas between fingers, around nail beds, under fingernails, jewelry, and back of hands.
e. Rinse hands under running water, between 60°F and 110°F, until they are free of soap and dirt. Leave the water running while drying hands.
f. Dry hands with the clean, disposable paper towel.
g. If taps do not shut off automatically, turn taps off with a disposable paper towel.
h. Throw the disposable paper towel into a lined trash container.
The running water washing over the hands removes the visible soil that is just loosely on the hands. The second reason for wetting the hands before applying soap is that it helps to create a lather that can loosen the more stuck on soil. The soap lather loosens soil and incorporates it into the solution on the surface of the skin. Then, rinsing the lather off into a sink removes the soil from the hands that the soap brought into solution. Warm water, is more comfortable than cold water and using warm water also promotes adequate rinsing during hand washing.
Excerpt taken from Caring for Our Children, 3rd Edition.
Since hand washing is the number one way to prevent the spread of germs and illness, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly and often. See Caring for Our Children for additional information about hand washing procedures (e.g., when using single-use towels) and for guidance on situations that require hand washing.