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Image of two soapy hands under a faucetHygiene 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. In many areas of the world, practicing personal hygiene etiquette is difficult due to lack of clean water and soap. Many diseases can be spread if the hands, face, or body are not washed appropriately at key times.

Water, Sanitation, & Environmentally-related Hygiene Topics


Clean Hands, Nail Hygiene...

Body, Facial, & Dental Hygiene

Body Washing, Facial Cleanliness, Oral Health, Tooth Decay...

Swimming Hygiene

Swimming and Hygiene, Recreational Water Illnesses (RWI)...

Hygiene-related Diseases

Hygiene-related Diseases and Conditions...


Diaper Changing at Home, in Childcare Facilities...

Hygiene Etiquette & Practice

Coughing and Sneezing, Around Animals...

Lower Income Countries

Diarrheal Diseases, Challenges, Handwashing Promotion...

Hygiene Fast Facts



Mother and child washing hands together

Many diseases and conditions can be spread through inadequate hand hygiene as a result of not washing hands. Hands should always be washed:

Hand hygiene is critical to interrupt the spread of infectious diseases, such as the common cold and gastrointestinal illnesses.

For more information, visit CDC's Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives!

  1. World Health Organization. Water for Health: Taking Charge [PDF - 6 pages]. 2001.
  2. World Health Organization. Hand Washing and Food Safety PDF icon[PDF - 2 pages]..
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