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Publication #FSHN20-11

COVID-19 Preventative Measures: Clean Your Hands Often1

Natalie Seymour, Mary Yavelak, Candice Christian, and Ben Chapman2

Updated April 21, 2020

This flyer is best viewed as a PDF. It provides guidance for washing your hands to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Figure 1. 

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water.

  2. Apply soap.

  3. Lather and scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.

  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.

  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.


  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

  • Before and after caring for someone that is sick

  • After going to the bathroom

  • Before and after preparing food

  • During food preparation as needed

  • Before eating food

  • Before putting on a face covering and after removing/handling a used face covering


If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.

For More Information


(800) 232-4636



This document is FSHN20-11, one of a series of the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date March 2020. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication. © NCSU. Used with permission.


Natalie Seymour, MS, Extension associate; Mary Yavelak, MS, Extension associate; Candice Christian, MPH, Extension associate; and Ben Chapman, professor, food safety specialist; NC State University Extension. UF Contact: Michelle Danyluk, professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center, Lake Alfred, FL | | (863) 956-8654.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.