Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings

Practicing hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to prevent infections in healthcare settings. Hand hygiene, which means cleaning your hands by washing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and prevent spreading germs to others.

CDC recommends the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers as the primary method for hand hygiene in most healthcare situations.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers effectively reduce the number of germs that may be on the hands of healthcare workers after interacting with patients. Using hand sanitizers is also a quick and easy way for healthcare workers to clean their hands, so it improves hand hygiene compliance in healthcare settings.

Medical professional using a touchless sanitizer dispenser

When washing hands, healthcare workers should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water when hands are visibly dirty, before eating, after using the restroom, and after caring for people with infectious diarrhea.

For more information, visit CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings website to learn how to protect patients and healthcare providers.

Page last reviewed: March 21, 2022