Proper Handwashing Procedures

Proper handwashing is critical to food safety. This video outlines the FDA Food Code guidelines around proper handwashing in a food service operation.
Proper Handwashing Procedures - Videos


Food Safety Retail Food Safety for Volunteer Groups Home Food Preservation Home and Consumer Food Safety Nutrition

More by Sharon McDonald, MEd, RD, LDN 

View Transcript

- [Instructor] One of the most important practices in preventing food-borne illness in food operations is hand washing.

Regular hand washing, especially before and after certain activities, removes germs and prevents their spread to food, food contact surfaces, and to people.

Good hand washing involves five simple steps: wet, lather, scrub, rinse, and dry.

The whole process should take at least 20 seconds.

When in a food service setting, wash your hands only in a sink designated for hand washing.

The water temperature should be at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Begin by wetting your hands with clean, warm running water.

Squirt soap on your hands or rub your hands on a bar of soap.

Lather your hands by rubbing them back and forth together.

Be sure to get the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails, all places that dirt and germs hide.

Scrub your hands and arms vigorously for at least 10 to 15 seconds.

The scrubbing creates friction and the soap acts as a lubricant to loosen dirt, residues, and germs on your hands.

Rinse your hands and arms under clean, warm running water, allowing the water to carry away the soap and any soils.

The final step is to dry your hands using a single-use paper towel or air dryer.

If drying your hands with a paper towel, use that to turn off the faucet.

So when should we wash our hands?

When entering into the food preparation area, after changing tasks, especially after working with raw foods and before working with ready-to-eat foods, after using the restroom, after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching any body parts including hair, ears, and nose, after touching or treating a cut or wound, after clearing tables or busing dirty dishes, after eating, drinking, smoking, chewing gum or tobacco, after handling garbage, after handling chemicals such as cleaners, polishes, or lubricants, after handling money.

In other words, any time your hands may become dirty or touch surfaces that may have dirt or germs on them such as aprons, dirty equipment, work surfaces, or cloths.

If you work with or around food, hand sanitizers never replace hand washing.

They're used only in addition to proper hand washing.

Only use hand sanitizers that are approved for use in food operations and use according to directions.

If you choose to use a hand sanitizer or antiseptic, use it after washing your hands.

The purpose of sanitizers is to lower the number of germs on your hands, not to clean your hands.

In fact, if your hands are visibly dirty or have food residues or grease on them, hand sanitizers are not effective.

Washing with soap and water is the only way to clean hands.

In the end, hand washing with soap and water remains the only way to eliminate the dirt and germs that are on our hands.

Just remember to wet, lather, scrub, rinse, and dry to prevent the spread of germs to the foods we prepare and serve.


Only registered users can write reviews. Please, log in or register

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the technical requirements for watching videos?
What devices and browsers are supported for watching videos?
Can a video be viewed multiple times?
Can I share a video with multiple people?
Is there closed captioning available for videos?
Are videos accessible for people who require special needs or services?
Who do I contact if I have a question about a specific video?