Proper Hand Washing Techniques for Kids

I remember when my son was little how hard it was to make sure he kept his hands clean. Teaching hand washing techniques to young children can be tough but with all of the germs they encounter at school and while out playing, it is something that we have to continually remind them to do. We know that the correct hand washing procedures will help to prevent the spread of germs, cold and flu viruses and more nasty things.

Proper Hand Washing Techniques for Kids
Here are some tips to help you teach the proper Hand Washing Techniques for Kids

1. Start running your tap water. The water should be warm but not hot. They should always test out the temperature of the water using just one finger so that they don’t injure their entire hand if the water is too hot.

2. Children can use any type of soap (liquid soap, bar soap or antibacterial soap) and only need a little bit of soap to effectively wash their hands.

3. Have them squirt a little bit of soap into each hand (if using liquid soap) and have them rub their hands together to make a nice soapy lather. Teach them how to get between each of their fingers, wash around their wrists and several inches up their forearm. A good rule of them is to have them “wash” their hands for at least 20 seconds with 30 seconds being optimal.

4. Rinse hands, wrists and lower forearm area under warm running water until the soapy residue is gone.

5. If using a public restroom teach them how to use a clean paper towel to turn off the water (on the faucet handles) and to dispose of the paper towel into the trash without touching the trash can lid. Depending on where we are, I also share to use that towel to open the rest room doors and throw out the towel in a different trash can once outside the restroom.

I know we have to keep reminding the how to wash right, but if it helps us to stay healthy, then it is worth it! Do you have an special tips that you use with your kids?


  1. susan king says:

    I’m going to try this with our grandkids.

  2. Sherry Compton says:

    Hand washing is so important. Funny that I saw this post today. A relative was just asked to teach a day training on hand washing to restaurant employees after they were seen not doing often enough. We often don’t think about how many times we need to do this when handling food and food items. I believe my grandson was taught to see Happy Birthday to You as he washes his hands. Having a song makes the time go by and brings in some fun.

  3. Yes, I believe it’s very important to make it a custom wash your hands often — at least after play outside, before meal etc. It makes me mad that at school before lunch kids can not wash their hand (at lest in our school)

  4. md kennedy says:

    I am so glad so many places now have touchless faucets and hand dryers – not only does it save trees but it makes keeping clean much easier!

  5. Jo-Ann Brightman says:

    It is strange how things change. Now we should not use antibacterial soap. Regular soap and water is all we need. I love all your tips. although I must admit I didn’t always have the kids wash up their lower arms, and concentrated on hands, between fingers and on nails.

  6. We sang the Happy Birthday song two times when we washed our hands. It still runs through my head when I wash. Please do NOT use antibacterial soap. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antibacterial soaps are not necessary, but washing your hands thoroughly with ordinary soap and warm water is one of the most effective ways to ward off infection.
    (I’ll get off my soap box now)

  7. These are some great tips for children. I think it’s important to teach them the importance of handwashing young especially to fight againt colds and the flu.

  8. Christina A. says:

    When my son was little…I actually had him practice counting while washing his hands! Two birds with one stone…handwashing and counting! 😉

  9. Deb, yeah…definitely brainwashed into us nurses! I haven’t practiced nursing in about 15 or so years and I still wash my hands at least a dozen times every day!

  10. I’m big on handwashing and it was brainwashed into us as nurses to always wash our hands often. I was proud to have the cleanest hands after a handwashing exercise in nursing school (used a black light to check how well we washed). Most didn’t wash their fingernails well (mine were short too), so I’d say to kids, make sure you wash your nails well since bacteria and germs like to hide there.