Handwashing How-To

April 13, 2011

Hand Washing How to

In a further attempt to take the Blair Family Handwashing to the next level, I thought it would be fun to create this handwashing how-to, so that my younger kids have a visual guide of exactly how this process is supposed to go down. Lovely Olive kindly helped out as hand model.

To make doubly sure I was getting the technique correct, I looked up directions from the Mayo Clinic.

1) Start with warm water and rinse your hands.
2) Add soap, then scrub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds (tip: if counting to 20 seems too hard, you could come up with a song that takes about 20 seconds to sing).

handwashing how to

Don’t forget in-between the fingers, the wrists, the backs of the hands, and the fingernails.

handwashing how to

3) Rinse well.
4) Use a clean towel to turn off the faucet.

handwashing how-to

5) Instead of rubbing your hands dry, pat them instead, and it will help prevent chapping.

handwashing how to

Simple as that! To see a list of when you should wash, click here.

How about you? Any tips or tricks for teaching proper hand-washing techniques? Are your kids visual learners like mine?


This post is sponsored by Method. I’ll be posting a huge Method giveaway here tomorrow — the prize includes the cute new Mickey Mouse soap. Woot!

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Julia Reynolds April 13, 2011 at 8:40 am

My kids sing the ABC’s. Their grandpa is a Dr. and he taught them all to do that.


2 Design Mom April 13, 2011 at 8:53 am

What a good grandpa!


3 Haydee April 13, 2011 at 9:47 am

We use Method too and the foam hand wash is perfection for the kids. Easy to use and little to no mess. Cannot wait for your giveaway tomorrow–love the Mickey Mouse dispenser!


4 Design Mom April 13, 2011 at 10:23 am

I agree. Foam is so easy for kids. It’s just right.


5 aimee @ smilingmama April 13, 2011 at 11:05 am

Love the visual guide! I’m BIG on hand washing and have the kids (and adults!) wash their hands when coming home from playgroup, school, the park (well, just about every time we come home, I guess!). I have tried the song trick without too much success so I emphasize making bubbles…as in, remember to make TONS of bubbles. Or, I know you can make more bubbles than that! Making lots of bubbles makes them giggle and takes a solid 15-20+ seconds, too.


6 Design Mom April 13, 2011 at 11:23 am

The focus on bubbles is so smart, Aimee! I’ve got to try that.


7 tara April 13, 2011 at 11:10 am

We just read the most adorable book…Felicity Floo Visits the Zoo. I just love the illustrations and the message.


8 Design Mom April 13, 2011 at 11:25 am

Sounds cute, Tara. I’ll have to check it out.


9 Aimee April 13, 2011 at 11:19 am

Keeping those tiny finger nails short is SUPER helpful in eliminating a germ breeding ground. I’m on top of that as much as washing. Also its important to remember that too much washing can dry out skin and cause bacteria to grown in those places. Keeping a natural lotion close by like extra virgin coconut oil which is naturally antifungal and antimicrobial is helpful too!


10 Design Mom April 13, 2011 at 11:25 am

Great point about the fingernails, Aimee. And thanks for the reminder to keep hand lotion nearby. Love it!


11 Lynda April 13, 2011 at 11:27 am

I have seen posters that suggest singing the “ABCs” or “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”… “Twinkle, twinkle, little star, now I know how clean my hands are!” ;)
Some kids might like setting a timer for 20-30 seconds – if that’s convenient?


12 Kristy April 13, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Those are some pretty wonderful hands!! :)


13 Tawnee April 13, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Love it! Yesterday my mother-in-law heard me wash my hands for dinner. She made me go back and rewash them because apparently I didn’t wash them long enough.

So here is a tip! Don’t embarrass your daughter-in-laws when your kids grow up. Maybe look into getting a sink that has warmer water so she doesn’t wash her hands for a couple seconds because if she washes her hands properly, they go numb!!

Thanks for the post!!


14 nanda April 13, 2011 at 2:00 pm

We slowly sing that song especially for hand washing;

“Top and bottom, top and bottom”
“In between, in between”
“Scrub them all together, scrub them all together”
“Now they’re clean, squeaky clean.”

Sung to the tune of “Frère Jacques” (Coincidentally!) :)


15 tara April 13, 2011 at 2:28 pm

we got this song from the Signing Time sign language videos:

“oh, whoa, look at my hands, look at my hands, they’re dirty.
oh, whoa, look at my hands, look at my hands, they’re dirty.
a little soap and water.
a little soap and water.
oh, whoa, look at my hands, look at my hands, they’re CLEAN!”

super fun song for toddlers and preschoolers. my older son (4) doesn’t really care for it too much anymore, he a superhero now… you know?


16 Ann April 13, 2011 at 2:54 pm

This is great. I’m taking this laptop downstairs and showing it to the boyz RIGHT NOW. I ALWAYS have them wash their hands directly after school and I remember my Mom making me wash my hands AND face after school. I don’t go that far. We are constantly reminding them to wash their hands. I wonder how long do we have to do that? Until someone calls them on it? Gross. Thanks for doing this!


17 Amy April 13, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I changed the lyrics to “row, row, row your boat” to:
Wash, wash, wash your hands
clean as they can be
we will always wash our hands
so they’ll be germ free.

We sing it twice to reach the recommended time.


18 Cari April 13, 2011 at 3:41 pm

To help my 5 year old understand the importance of handwashing to get rid of germs I put glitter on his hands. The glitter germs transfered to everything he touched and then when his little brother or I touched the toys we got glitter on our hands. It really seemed to help him understand the concept.


19 Ajane February 18, 2013 at 11:14 am

that is incredible. what a smart approach to take! i love to see parents who are actively trying to teach their children why instead of just saying because i said so or because you have to!


20 diane April 14, 2011 at 7:11 am

what a neat dispenser! and cute hands too! my son is 4 months old but i can’t wait to teach him things like this :)

Cari, that glitter visual demo is genius. now that i think about it…i hate how glitter gets EVERYWHERE even in places you don’t remember touching! (like, behind your knees)

the song suggestions are all so great, hard to choose which one. be nice to rotate them so that kids don’t get bored with it or try to sing it faster haha


21 Damaris @Kitchen Corners April 15, 2011 at 12:17 pm

cute, I loved this post. My son is so good about washing his hands. His teacher told him that he had to sing the entire ABC’s songs while washing his hand. I always get busted when I’m washing my hands and I’m not singing the song.


22 seesaw April 18, 2011 at 10:18 am

this is soo cute. i can’t wait to start a family.


23 juliagblair April 20, 2011 at 9:23 am

Thanks for the delightful reminder. We’re washing our hands much better these days! Sure agree about keeping fingernails short!


24 CT July 31, 2011 at 4:20 pm

When i wash my hands i make the sink be FULL OF BUBBLES!! I’m 15 and i love bubbles(: I don’t wash my hands for 20 seconds though.
I usually wash them for like 10 mins or more.I have alot of fun washing my hands! I love playing with the bubbles also :P my dad will knock on the door asking if im alright XD I stay too long in the bathroom washing my hands but i don’t care i have so much fun! BUBBLES!!!


25 Jadah November 21, 2011 at 12:16 am

Great step-by-step pics! My daughter learned the “top and bottom” song at her preschool. She sings it twice (first time for soap and water and second time for rinsing): “Top and bottom, Top and bottom, In between, In between, Don’t forget your nails, Don’t forget your nails, Wash them clean, Wash them clean.” I posted a video of my daughter washing her hands and singing the song at http://www.familysponge.com It’s a pretty catchy tune. And I notice she does all of the handwashing movements even when she is not singing out loud. When you sing it twice, it’s about 30 seconds of handwashing.


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