Document created by tfreiberg Employee on Dec 27, 2016Last modified by Mary Aycock on May 3, 2018
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Hand-washing decreases the number of germs on your hands. An alcohol-based hand sanitizing solution is the preferred method of hand-washing. Hand-washing should be done before and after patient care. If hands are visibly soiled they should be washed using liquid soap and water. 


Supplies you will need

  • Alcohol-based sanitizing solution and/or
  • Liquid soap, water and paper towel


What to do

Hand-washing with soap and water

  1. Remove all jewelry from wrists and hands.
  2. Have paper towel ready.
  3. Wet hands and wrists under running water.
  4. Apply liquid soap and lather well. Scrub vigorously for one minute. Scrub well between fingers and under nail beds.
  5. Rinse hands and wrists.
  6. Dry with a paper towel.
  7. Use paper towel to turn off water and discard towel.


Hand-washing with Alcohol-based Sanitizing Solution

  1. Before having contact with a patient, place a small amount of alcohol-based sanitizing solution in the middle of one hand. You will need enough to cover hands and wrists, about the size of a dime.
  2. Rub your hands together including wrists until the hand solution is dry.
  3. Complete patient care.
  4. When finished with patient care, repeat hand-washing.



Special instructions

When hands are tacky from the alcohol-based solution or if they are visibly soiled, they should be washed with soap and water. Hands should be washed before and after patient care. Liquid soap is preferred over bar soap to prevent the spread of germs.



Adapted from: The Lippincott Manual of Nursing Practice (10th ed.) Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2013.



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