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How to wash your hands

A quick splash 'n dash doesn't get your hands properly clean.

Washing your hands properly is a way to help protect yourself and your loved ones from illnesses like coronavirus and food poisoning. Here is the Rufus handwashing resource for kids.

There are a few essential steps you must follow to wash your hands effectively.

1. Soap and water

Wet your hands thoroughly under warm running water and apply soap to them.

2. Rub

Rub your hands together to make a lather. Spread it over all areas of your hands and wrists, making sure it covers

  • your palms
  • the backs of your hands
  • your wrists
  • your fingers and
  • fingernails  

Rub between each finger and round your thumbs. It’s this action which helps the soap dislodge and remove dirt and germs. Do this for at least 20 seconds. 

3. Rinse

Rinse the soap off completely under a stream of clean running water.

4. Dry

Dry your hands thoroughly, using a clean hand towel or hand dryer, not a tea towel or your clothes.

Watch the video

Handwashing for children

We’ve created the Rufus handwashing programme to help parents teach their children good handwashing habits to help protect them from illnesses like coronavirus and bacteria like E.coli.

Rufus has five steps to handwashing.

Print out a poster of the five steps to stick over your sink

Handwashing sink poster

Get the poster

Entertain your kids as they wash their hands by singing our handwashing song with RTEjr's Clara and friends. Remember the five steps: wet, soap, rub, rinse and dry.


Wash, wash, wash your hands,
Thumbs and fingers too,
Rinse and then make sure they’re dry,
That’s the thing to do!”

Sing the song three times while washing hands to make sure they are really clean. 


The storybook helps teach children the key times to wash their hands.

Storybook PDF (22MB) 

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