Mother Knows Best: Wash Your Hands

Held on May 5 each year, World Hand Hygiene Day is an annual observance that emphasizes the importance of handwashing in disease prevention. With Mother’s Day approaching, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) has compiled resources to encourage everyone to follow the good advice of mothers everywhere and wash their hands to help #StopTheSpread of #COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

“Wash your hands!” may be among the best advice your mother ever gave you, but evidence suggests that most people do not know how to properly wash their hands without leaving germs behind. NFID explored this topic in 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even with the development of new vaccines and medications to help prevent and treat COVID-19, one thing remains consistent: Handwashing is still one of the best ways to protect yourself from #COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

If everyone routinely and thoroughly washed their hands, an estimated one million deaths each year could be prevented around the world.

To raise awareness about this easy, but important public health intervention, NFID developed an animated #WashYourHands public service announcement—available in English and Spanish. The short videos describe the five key steps of proper handwashing: wet, lather with soap, scrub well, rinse, and dry thoroughly.

CDC Wash Your Hands

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, which is roughly the amount of time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. If you prefer another tune, several media outlets including the Los Angeles Times and CNN have published hand-washing playlists featuring artists from Elvis to Dolly Parton to Prince. And Wash Your Lyrics even allows you to generate handwashing infographics with the lyrics to your favorite songs.


Help spread the word by scrolling through the carousel and sharing these handwashing videos from NFID and partner organizations, including a 2020 classic in which NFID President-Elect Patricia (Patsy) A. Stinchfield, RN, MS, CPNP, demonstrates the right way (and the wrong way) to wash your hands:

CDC has developed comprehensive handwashing resources, including videos, printable fact sheets, and training materials for a range of audiences in multiple languages, including information about the science behind handwashing recommendations.

Mother Knows Best: Wash Your HandsAnd be sure to listen to your mother, as hand hygiene remains a key prevention tool that is right in our hands! On Mother’s Day and every day, share these resources to help spread the word—not disease.

To join the conversation and get the latest news on infectious diseases, follow NFID on Twitter using the hashtag #WashYourHands, like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, visit us on LinkedIn, and subscribe to receive future NFID Updates.