Keep Hands Clean Make an Appointment Ask a Question Search Conditions This information has been reviewed and approved by Infection Preventionist Rosine Angbanzan, MPH (September 2020). Want to use this on your website? Fill out the content usage request form and then copy this code: Summary: Keep Hands Clean, Prevent the Spread of Germs Plain Soap vs. Antibacterial Soap According to the CDC, soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizers at removing certain kinds of germs. The Scrub Down: Good Hand Washing Technique Wet your hands with clean water Lather your hands with soap, including the backs, under nails and between fingers Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds, long enough to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice Rinse hands thoroughly Dry hands with a clean towel or air dry What About Hand Sanitizer? When soap and water aren't available, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol Sanitizer can reduce the number of microbes on the skin, but it will not eliminate all types of germs Hands should not be visibly dirty or greasy; soap and water work better in this case Soap and water are still the best way to clean hands Public Restroom Breakdown 14% Skip hand washing all together 67% Don't use soap at all when hand washing 80% Wash their hands thoroughly enough to kill germs More Information on the Flu Flu Prevention Tips Influenza (Flu) Vaccine Which Flu Vaccine Is Right For You? Avoiding Infections at School Tips for Preventing a Cold Tips for Staying Healthy During Flu and Cold Season Healthy Recipes to Boost Immunity Make an Appointment Find a Doctor You may use this infographic or our Keep Hands Clean (pdf) with permission by completing our content usage request form.