Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Global Handwashing Day

Soapy hands under faucet

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, 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. Handwashing with soap is not only simple and inexpensive, but also can dramatically cut the number of young children who get sick. Washing hands with soap reduces illness and the spread of germs much more effectively than with water alone.2

  • 1.4  million children3 under the age of 5 years die from diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, the top two killers of young children around the world.4
  • Handwashing with soap could prevent about 1 out of every 10 episodes of diarrheal illnesses3 and almost 1 out of 6 episodes of respiratory infection like pneumonia.4

This year’s Global Handwashing Day theme “Our hands, our future!” reminds us that handwashing protects our own health, but also allows us to build our own futures, as well as those of our communities, and the world.

This handwashing demonstration will show you how handwashing can get rid of germs and chemicals that get on our hands every day.

Celebrate Global Handwashing Day

People and communities around the world will celebrate Global Handwashing day in many ways, including:

  • Learning how to wash hands the right way with this video demonstration.
  • Watching a Facebook Live talk on why handwashing with soap is so important.
  • Sharing handwashing lessons, events, and materials for thousands of students across the state of Georgia, where CDC is based.

Plan an Event

For more information on handwashing, please visit CDC’s handwashing website. You can also call 1-800-CDC-INFO, or email for answers to specific questions.