Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers work by killing germs on your hands, while washing your hands with soap and water removes germs from your hands. Handwashing will remove all types of germs from your hands, but hand sanitizers are not able to kill all types of germs or remove harmful chemicals like pesticides and heavy metals.