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Handwashing is like a "do-it-yourself" vaccine—it involves five simple and effective steps (think Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry) you can take to reduce the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illness so you can stay healthy. Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others.

Learn more about when and how to wash your hands, the importance of using soap and water, and what you can do if soap and clean, running water are not available. Whether you are at home, at work, traveling, or already sick, find out how good hand hygiene can protect you, your family, and others. More…

Featured Video

Dr. Tom Frieden in Handwashing: A Win for Everyone

Keeping our hands clean is one of the best things we can do to keep from getting sick and avoid spreading germs to others. CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden explains how handwashing in schools helps students, families, and communities stay healthier.

Handwashing: A Win for Everyone

Handwashing Topics

When & How to Wash Your Hands

When and how to wash hands and use hand sanitizer…

Health Promotion Materials

Videos, posters, podcasts, social media, and more…

Publications, Data, & Statistics

Articles, references…

Show Me the Science

Data behind why and how to wash hands…

Training & Education

Classroom lessons and activities, learning tools and materials…

Our Partners

Links to our handwashing partners around the world…

Featured Activities

hand hygiene poster - a stylized handHand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings: This site provides healthcare workers and patients with a variety of resources and materials.

a mother teaching her child how to wash his handsWater-related Hygiene: Hygiene refers to behaviors that can improve cleanliness and lead to good health, such as frequent hand washing, face washing, and bathing with soap and water.

washing hands with a bar of soap under a faucetHand Hygiene to Help Prevent Flu: Good health habits for preventing seasonal flu include proper handwashing to help stop the spread of germs at home, work, and school.

palm trees swaying in hurricane-force windsHand Hygiene During an Emergency: During and after an emergency, it can be difficult to find running water.

a cruise shipHand Hygiene Aboard Ships: Good hand hygiene is one of the most critical control strategies in outbreak management on board ships and cruises.

children washing their hands at a school bathroomHandwashing & Other Health-Promoting Activities: Individuals and communities can take everyday preventive actions and other measures (known as "nonpharmaceutical interventions") to keep people from getting sick.

Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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    Atlanta, GA 30333
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