College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

Germs Are Everywhere! Fight Them with Hand-Washing

Germs are everywhere! They can get on your hands and everything you touch throughout the day. Washing your hands often with soap and water is one of the most important actions you can take to get rid of germs and avoid spreading them to those around you.

Germs can get into your body from your hands via your eyes, nose and mouth and make you sick. Proper handwashing with soap and water removes germs from the hands and helps prevent infection.

When Should I Wash my Hands?

  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing into your hands.
  • After touching an animal, animal feed or removing animal waste.
  • After handling pet food or pet treats.
  • After touching garbage.
  • After touching your face.
  • After scratching a body part.
  • After returning from the farm.
  • Before, during and after preparing food.
  • Before eating food.
  • Before and after caring for a sick person at home.
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound.

Steps for Proper Hand-Washing

  1. Wet your hands with clean, warm running water
  2. Apply soap to your hands.
  3. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
  4. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  5. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  6. Dry your hands using a clean towel and use the towel to turn off the water.

For more information

Contact Jimo Ibrahim, Ph.D., agriculture health and safety specialist, at