How to Wash Your Hands Right: Tutorial and Tips

When and how often should we actually wash our hands? Read on to find out more about our step-by-step instructions on how to wash your hands properly and learn why it is so important to clean your hands right.


Washing your hands is the easiest thing in the world? That’s a common misconception – you only remove germs if you wash your hands thoroughly.

Washing your hands right: 7 steps

1. Turn on the water

Hold your hands under running water and wet them properly. The ideal temperature should be as warm as necessary, but as low as possible. If the water is too hot, it’s more likely to damage the delicate skin and dry it out.

Washing your hands right: 7 steps

2. Lather the soap

Lather some bar soap or liquid soap between the wet palms of your hands to create a foam. If you’re using liquid soap: One pump is enough. Using too much soap does not harm your skin, but it doesn’t make your hands cleaner, either.

Washing your hands right: 7 steps

3. Soap your hands right

Soap your hands thoroughly, in circular movements and with light pressure: between the fingers, on the fingertips, on the nails and the palms. Take at least 20 to 30 seconds to soap your hands to carefully remove germs and bacteria.

Washing your hands right: 7 steps

4. Soap between the fingers

Take special care to wash the area between your fingers. To do this, hook both hands together and move the fingers back and forth in the spaces between the other hand. Don’t forget your thumbs!

Washing your hands right: 7 steps

5. Rinse off thoroughly

Rinse the foam off completely. By the way: It's a myth that washing your hands without soap is useless. But: washing without soap is less effective. If you only have the option to wash without soap, hold your hands under warm running water for at least 30 seconds.

Washing your hands right: 7 steps

6. Dry hands carefully

Afterwards, dry your hands and the spaces between your fingers with a soft towel. Do not rub, but pat your hands dry to not irritate the delicate skin. Remember to change the towel regularly (e.g. at least once a week in a one-person household).

Washing your hands right: 7 steps

7. Apply hand cream

Ideally, you should use hand cream after each washing, because important skin fat is removed. Moisturizing hand creams help to support the skin's own regeneration process.

NIVEA Favourites for Thoroughly Cleansed Hands


To prevent the skin from drying out, it is essential to choose the right soap and rich follow-up care.

How do I find the right soap and hand cream?

When buying soaps, make sure that the formula is as mild as possible. These products do not attack the protective acid mantle of the skin as much. Best, choose a soap that contains natural oils to prevent your hands from drying out. If you have particularly sensitive skin, you should look for the "pH-neutral" label.

Soap bars or liquid soaps?

For your skin, it does not matter whether you use a liquid soap or a bar of soap. But: in public facilities, where many people wash their hands, it is recommended to give preference to liquid soaps – more bacteria tend to accumulate on soap bars. 

Which hand cream suits me best?

Depending on how often you wash your hands – e.g. for professional reasons – and how dry they are, there is a variety of hand cream options: 

  • An extra rich hand cream for chapped hands has a moisturizing effect and accelerates the healing process
  • A hand cream for normal skin is ideal for maintaining the neat condition of your hands and nails
  • People who work at the computer or handle important documents should go for a hand cream that is quickly absorbed – it won’t leave greasy fingerprints!
  • An anti-age hand cream enriched with Q10 can help prevent skin aging on the hands

Why is it so important to apply cream after washing your hands?

Every time you wash your hands, you remove not only dirt but also protective skin oils. It is therefore important to use caring soaps and apply a hand cream after each wash. This way you support the skin's regeneration process and keep your hands supple.


Everyone knows: washing your hands is a must. But why? And how often should we wash our hands?

The right hand hygiene protects us

Our hands are in use and in contact all day long - with other people and with different objects. Whether we are on the subway, typing on a smartphone or blowing our nose with a
tissue: By touching surfaces, bacteria and germs stick to our hands.

By washing our hands regularly and properly, we get rid of potential germs. That is important for our health: Almost 80 percent of all illnesses are transmitted via the hands –especially gastrointestinal infections, pinkeye and the flu.

At the same time, bacteria and dirt can get from the hands to the skin on our face and cause pimples.

However: Washing your hands too often strains the skin and dries it out. That is why you should apply cream to your hands after every wash.

You should wash your hands when you...

  • ... have been to the bathroom
  • ... have sneezed or wiped your nose
  • ... had contact with sick people
  • ... have pet animals
  • ... have touched animal food
  • ... have taken out the garbage
  • ... have put on make-up
  • ... come into contact with food, for example, before cooking
  • ... have cooked, especially if you touched raw meat or raw fish
  • ... have worked in the garden
  • ... are coming home

Double the fun: Washing hands together

Get your children into the habit of washing their hands regularly and properly as early as possible. Washing your hands together is much more fun for your kids!

Should I disinfect my hands when I have a cold?

Whether it’s a cold or the flu: When we are ill, we transmit the germs through our hands. But should we disinfect our hands when we are sick? No! Rely on thoroughly washing your hands and refrain from shaking hands should do the trick.

When should I disinfect my hands?

Anyone who washes their hands regularly and thoroughly in everyday life is already doing enough for their hand hygiene. The number of germs is considerably reduced – and with it the risk of infections.

So when and why disinfect the hands at all?

In medical institutions like hospitals, disinfecting the hands is essential to prevent the spreading of germs. That applies in particular to the nursing and medical staff.

But even as a visitor you protect patients that way – they usually have a weakened immune system and are therefore susceptible to infectious diseases.

If you are caring for a relative at home, please discuss with your general practitioner whether disinfecting your hands is advisable.


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