Keeping hands clean limits the spread of germs and viruses that can lead to illness. Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

However, if soap and water are not readily available, EH&S recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean your hands. EH&S also recommends that all departments purchase alcohol-based hand sanitizer dispensers. Alcohol-based sanitizers are effective in inactivating harmful viruses.

How to Wash Your Hands

  1. Wet hands with clean water and apply soap (water does not need to be hot, warm water is ideal, but cold water is also fine).
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Make sure to lather all surfaces of your hands – back, between fingers, and under nails.
  3. 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 and use a towel to turn off the water.

Below are important times to clean your hands:

  • Before touching your eyes nose, or mouth
  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before and after:
    • Eating food
    • Caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting and/or diarrhea
    • Treating a cut or wound
  • After touching:
    • An animal, animal feed, or animal waste
    • Garbage or trash
    • Your face mask
    • Objects or surfaces that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts, or electronic cashier registers/screens
  • After:
    • Using the restroom
    • Changing diapers or cleaning a child that has used the restroom
    • Blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • Handling pet food or pet treats

How to Use Hand Sanitizer

  1. Apply product to the palm of one hand
  2. Rub hands together
  3. Rub the products over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry
  4. Do not towel dry

Install alcohol-based hand sanitizer dispensers in conspicuous areas at the following locations (and other locations that are deemed appropriate):

  • Dining facilities
  • Shared equipment spaces (computer labs)
  • Residence halls
  • Athletic facilities
  • Buses
  • Child care centers
  • Public spaces/lobbies entrance areas
  • Meeting rooms
  • Other high traffic areas

NOTE: DO NOT install dispensers in areas where they will obstruct or impede egress.

Recommended Resources

DocumentWeb SiteVideo
Clean Hands Keep You Healthy (Flyer)
Wash Hands Before Eating (Flyer)
Health and Hygiene ProtocolsClean Hands Keep You Healthy: USC EH&S Guide to Hand Washing – YouTube

Questions? Call (323) 442-2200 or email