This Article is From Mar 31, 2020

How To Wash Your Hands The Right Way And Save Water? Our Expert Tells

Coronavirus: Shut the tap after wetting your hands. Else, use alcohol-based sanitiser or hand rub when soap and water is unavailable. Read here to know how to wash your hands when water is scarce.

How To Wash Your Hands The Right Way And Save Water? Our Expert Tells

Coronavirus prevention: Do not forget to apply sanitiser to dorsum of hands


  • Use hand sanitiser when soap and water is not available
  • Apply sanitiser to dorsum of the hands as well
  • Shut down the tap while washing hands to conserve water

Washing hands regularly is an important prevention step for coronavirus. According to the World Health Organisation, you must wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water. It also released a video illustrating how to wash hands properly for one minute. Use a timer or count one to 10, in each of the following steps:

  • Wet hands with water and apply enough soap to cover all surfaces of the hand. Let the water run smoothly to avoid touching the tap later on. You can also shut down the tap with a tissue paper.
  • With soap, rub hands palm to palm, to obtain a good quantity of foam. Rub right palm over the back of left hand with interlaced fingers, and vice versa. Rub again palm to palm, with fingers interlaced.
  • Rub the back of your fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked. Repeat this action for each hand. Rub rotationally, left thumb clasped in right palm, and vice versa.
  • To clean the tip of the fingers, rub rotationally backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm, and vice versa.
  • Rinse hands thoroughly with running water.
  • Dry hands thoroughly with a single-use towel. If the tap is not elbow operated, use this towel to turn off the tap, without touching it directly. Your hands are now clean and safe.

Also read: Coronavirus Quarantine Tips: Nutritionist Nmami Agarwal Shares A Weekly Diet Plan For The Lockdown Period

What are the times when you should wash your hands during COVID-19 outbreak?

  • Before, during and after preparing food.
  • Before eating food.
  • Before and after caring for a sick person.
  • After using the toilet.
  • After changing the diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet.
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • After touching animal, animal feed, or animal waste.
  • After touching garbage.If you do not have immediate access to soap and water, use alcohol-based sanitiser.

Also read: Who All Are More Susceptible To COVID-19? WHO Tells

Coronavirus prevention: How to wash your hands when water is scarce?

However, how to wash hands properly if water is scarce? Dr P. Raghu Ram, President of The Association of Surgeons of India, says that in case soap and water is not available, then you need to use alcohol-based hand rub or sanitiser. "When one is using sanitiser, do not forget to apply it on the dorsum of the hands along with the palm. Coronavirus can affect dorsum of the hands too. Make sure you apply sanitiser on both palms and dorsum as the latter often gets missed," he tells DoctorNDTV.


Apply sanitiser to the dorsum of the hands as well
Photo Credit: iStock

In order to conserve water, always shut the tap while rubbing your hands with soap. After wetting your hands initially, shut the tap down with a tissue. Rub all parts of the hands as instructed above, and then reopen the tap for rinsing hands.

Washing of hands, social distancing and staying indoors are currently the most important prevention steps of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Also read: Should You Disinfect Your House Too? Here Are The Steps You Should Follow

(Dr P. Raghu Ram is President of The Association of Surgeons of India)

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.