Global Handwashing Day
Celebrate Global Handwashing Day to promote handwashing with soap throughout the world.
Global Handwashing Day is a way to support a global and local culture of handwashing with soap, shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing in each country, and raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap.1 Since 2008, Global Handwashing Day has been celebrated annually on October 15 worldwide. The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap founded Global Handwashing Day and encourages school children, teachers, and families to get involved.
Handwashing Saves Lives
Although people around the world clean their hands with water, very few use soap to wash their hands because soap and water for handwashing might be less accessible in developing countries. Even when soap is available, it might be reserved primarily for laundry and bathing instead of for handwashing. Washing hands with soap removes germs much more effectively.2
- Millions of children5 under the age of 5 years die from diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, the top two killers of young children around the world.3
- Handwashing is not only simple and inexpensive, but remarkably, handwashing with soap can dramatically cut the number of young children who get sick.
- Handwashing with soap could prevent about 1 out of every 3 episodes of diarrheal illnesses4 and almost 1 out of 6 episodes of respiratory infection like pneumonia.5
Celebrate Global Handwashing Day
People and communities around the world will celebrate Global Handwashing day in many ways, including:
- Making songs and dances about handwashing
- Distributing activity sheets with activities for children to help make learning to wash hands fun
- Handwashing lessons, events, and materials for thousands of students across Georgia, where CDC is based
You Can Celebrate Global Handwashing Day in Many Ways
- Organize or participate in a Global Handwashing Day event in your school or community
- Celebrate virtually on Twitter and Facebook. Look for and use the hashtag #GlobalHandwashingDay, and download pre-drafted educational social media messages
- Make sure you and your family know when and how to wash your hands properly
- Burton M, Cobb E, Donachie P, Judah G, Curtis V, Schmidt WP. The effect of handwashing with water or soap on bacterial contamination of hands. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 Jan;8(1):97-104.
- Liu L, Johnson HL, Cousens S, Perin J, Scott S, Lawn JE, Rudan I, Campbell H, Cibulskis R, Li M, Mathers C, Black RE; Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group of WHO and UNICEF. Global, regional, and national causes of child mortality: an updated systematic analysis for 2010 with time trends since 2000. Lancet. 2012 Jun 9;379(9832):2151-61.
- Ejemot RI, Ehiri JE, Meremikwu MM, Critchley JA. Hand washing for preventing diarrhoea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Jan 23;(1):CD004265.
- Rabie T and Curtis V. Handwashing and risk of respiratory infections: a quantitative systematic review. Trop Med Int Health. 2006 Mar;11(3):258-67.
Global Handwashing Day
CDC's Handwashing Information & Resources
- Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives
- Water-related Hygiene
- Global Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
- Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings
- Hand Hygiene to Help Prevent Flu
- Hand Hygiene During an Emergency
- Hand Hygiene Aboard Ships
CDC Handwashing Partnerships
- Page last reviewed: October 14, 2015
- Page last updated: October 14, 2015
- Content source:
- National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs