Good Health Starts with Clean Hands

A guest blog written by Nancy Bock, American Cleaning Institute®

Frequent and proper hand hygiene can stop germs and illness in their tracks.  Why are clean hands important?  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the single most important thing we can do to keep from getting sick and spreading illness to others is to wash our hands.

During the holiday season we want families to stay healthy, so it’s a good time to remind your children about the importance of keeping hands clean at home and on the go.  Children can play a huge role in keeping Santa healthy by cleaning their hands before they jump on his lap to talk about their wish list this year!  So, we are sharing the American Cleaning Institute® Clean Your Paws for Santa Clausfamily resource and coloring sheet with you (also available on the ACI website as a download).  Please encourage your children and others to decorate our coloring sheet and display it during the holidays in your home, office or at school.  If your children color the sheet, scan and send the finished coloring sheet to  We will add your artwork to the art gallery!

Good Hand Hygiene is Critical.

  • When preparing food
  • After touching animals
  • After using the restroom
  • Before meals and snacks
  • When hands are dirty
  • When you or someone around you is ill.

Wash Your Hands the Right Way!

  1. Wet hands with warm running water prior to reaching for soap, either in bar or liquid form.
  2. Rub hands together to make a lather. Do this away from running water, so the lather isn’t washed away.
  3. Wash the front and back of hands, between fingers and under nails. Continue washing for 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse hands well under warm running water.
  5. Dry hands thoroughly with a clean towel or air dryer.

When Soap & Water are not Available – Use Hand Sanitizer or Hand Wipes

Hand sanitizers or gels or antibacterial hand wipes are useful alternatives if soap and water are not available (for example, when traveling in the car or taxi on the way to a business meeting, before eating an in-flight meal or snack, outdoor work settings, etc.)

Using Hand Sanitizers:

  • Use one or two squirts or pumps of the product.
  • Rub hands together briskly, including the front and back, between fingers, around and under nails until hands are dry.

Using Hand Wipes:

  • Wipe all areas of hands until they are visibly clean.
  • Use one or more wipes and dispose in an appropriate trash container.
  • Let hands air dry.

The American Cleaning Institute® shares posters, bookmarks and brochures on cleaning for health that you can download. These resources are intended for educational purposes and may be reproduced in whole or part without permission but with credit given to the American Cleaning Institute®. For more information about the American Cleaning Institute® and hand hygiene, visit .

Nancy Bock, MSEd, is Vice President, Consumer Education & Meetings for the American Cleaning Institute®