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, 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
- Organize or participate in a handwashing event in your school or community.
- Look for and use the hashtag #GlobalHandwashingDay, on Twitter and Facebook, and get a toolkit with educational social media messages.
- Make sure you and your family know when and how to wash your hands properly.
Global Handwashing Day
CDC’s Handwashing Information & Resources
- Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives
- When & How to Wash Your Hands
- Show Me the Science
- Health Promotion Materials
- Training & Education
- Publications, Data, & Statistics
- 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
- 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.
- UNICEF. One is too many: Ending Child Deaths from Pneumonia and Diarrhoea. 2016. [6.51 MB]
- 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.
- Page last reviewed: October 12, 2017
- Page last updated: October 12, 2017
- 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