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Hand washing involves both mechanical and chemical action. Careful washing of the hands reduces the number of bacteria

Hand washing is the single most important means of preventing the transmission of infectious agents. Careful washing of hands using soap, water and nail brush reduces the number of bacteria

Hand washing is most important to reduce the numbers of bacteria. Soap and water will emulsify fat, clean the hands and reduces the number of microorganisms


To encourage hand washing in following situations:

  • On starting and completion of duty shifts
  • Before performing any invasive and non-invasive procedure
  • Between handling of patient and between procedures on same patient
  • After handing contaminated articles like, urinal and bedpan, etc
  • After dealing with situations when microbial contamination is likely, even if gloves are used


  • Soap
  • Bowel with 7% Lysol
  • Nail brush
  • Towel
  • Running water

Precautions Taken During Hand Washing

  • Nails should be short to avoid the dirt and microorganism
  • Remove watch and jewelry from hands and wrists
  • Fold back sleeves above elbow (if necessary)
  • Stand away from wash basin
  • Avoid splashing water against uniform clothes


  • Turn on tap using elbow and regulate flow of water
  • Wet hands and lower arms under running water keep hand forearms lower than elbows during washing
  • Apply soap to hands, replace soap in dish
  • Scrub hands area between fingers and wrist in rotatory movement for 15 to 30 seconds
  • Clean finger nails with brush or use finger nails of other hand
  • Rinse hands and wrist, forearm and elbow in running water. Ensure that hand and forearms are lower than elbows during washing
  • Close tap with elbow
  • Dry hands from fingers to wrist and forearms now hold arms above elbow

Hands should be washed at the following times:

  • When visibly contaminated with blood, body fluids, or tissues
  • After every patient contact
  • After removal of gloves and other protective wear or equipment
  • Before eating, drinking, smoking, applying makeup, or changing contact lenses outside of the lab, and after using the lavatory facilities
  • Before all other activities that entail hand contact with mucous membranes or a break in the skin
  • Periodically during the day when routinely handling and testing bloody fluid
Handwashing Procedure - Purpose, Equipment, Precautions, Procedure
Handwashing Procedure – Purpose, Equipment, Precautions, Procedure
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