Give Yourself a Hand: Global Handwashing Day

Give Yourself a Hand: Global Handwashing Day

Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Global Handwashing Day! (Don’t worry, we’re not checking them.) Observed every October 15th since 2008, Global Handwashing Day helps raise awareness about the health and safety benefits of washing your hands with soap.  That’s right: people around the world clean their hands with water, but, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, not enough of them use soap to wash their hands.

Why soap?

Washing hands with soap prevents illness and removes germs much more effectively than water alone, which is especially important as we head into cold and flu season!  According to the CDC, the simple act of washing hands with soap can reduce the incidence of diarrhea rates among children under five by almost 50 per cent, and respiratory infections by nearly 25 percent.  Those numbers remind us that healthy habits done right from the start can have a great impact!

When should you wash your hands?

Hands should be washed with soap after using the bathroom or cleaning a child’s diaper. You should also wash with soap before handling and serving food (e.g., before cooking, eating, and feeding a child).

What’s the best way to wash your hands?

  1. Cover wet hands with soap; scrub all surfaces, including palms, back of the hands, between the fingers, under rings, and especially under fingernails for about 20 seconds.
  2. Rinse well with running water rather than still water.
  3. Dry on a clean cloth or by waving in the air.

Honest Tip: Want an easy way to make handwashing fun for the right amount of time? Find a familiar song that takes about 20 seconds to sing and don’t stop scrubbing until it’s done; for instance, you can sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice in about that time. (Every country has short, popular children’s songs that can be used for this purpose.)

Spread the word (not the germs) and get washing...Don’t forget the soap!

Happy Global Handwashing Day!


We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.