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How to Wash Your Hands

The Proper Way to Wash your Hands

Hand washing: an annoying interruption between playing with the dog and snack time. But it's also the best way to get rid of 95 percent of the germs on grubby hands, and with the right equipment, it's so bubble-licious. Kids are ready to start learning this skill by age 2.

Step 1
If you have to work any cranks to get a paper towel when you're done, pull down what you'll need (about 10 inches) before you start.

Step 2
Turn on the cold water, then slowly turn on the hot water until it feels warm; nothing will villainize hand washing faster than scalding water.

Step 3
Quickly run both hands under the water to wet them, then turn one palm up flat under the soap nozzle while using the other to pump some soap out. If you're using bar soap, rub it between your palms to make bubbles.

Step 4
Make more bubbles by rubbing your palms, the backs of your hands, and in between your fingers. For even more sudsing action, quickly dip your hands under the running water again. Lather up for at least 15 seconds (about how long it takes to sing "The Alphabet Song" or a round of "Happy Birthday") for optimal germ removal.

Step 5
To rinse, point your hands down into the sink at a 45-degree angle, so that the soap runs from wrists to fingertips. Make sure all the soap comes off — tell your child if there are still bubbles, there might still be germs too.

Step 6
Grab the prepared paper towel and dry your hands, then use the paper towel to turn off the faucet. At home, your bathroom gets cleaned frequently (right?) and only used by a few people, so a hand towel works fine, and you can use bare hands to turn off the water.

Step 7
Open the door (spare your child the germy doorknob) so she can get back to the important work of childhood — like letting the dog lick her fingers.

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