6 Step Handwashing Guide

It is essential that the highest standards of hygiene are maintained at all times. You must wash your hands prior to carrying out any aspect of personal hygiene, for example, handling your catheter or drainage bag, or changing your stoma bag.

The 6 step guide

Use an un-perfumed soap from a dispenser. Whatever the product used, the hand washing technique is very important to ensure effective results in preventing the spread of infection.

1.  Wash palms of hands.

Step 1 - Handwashing Guide

2.  Wash between fingers at back of hands.

Step 2 - Handwashing Guide

3.  Wash between fingers palm to palm.

Step 3 - Handwashing Guide

4.  Wash palm area.

Step 4 - Handwashing Guide

5. Pay particular attention to thumb area and thumb joint.

Step 5 - Handwashing Guide

6.  Wash finger tips paying particular attention to nails and dry hands well with clean disposable towel discarding correctly. 

Step 6 - Handwashing Guide
Reference (Images): G.A.J Ayliffe (1978)







Most Commonly Missed Areas

It is important to pay particular attention to the following areas which have been shown to be the most commonly missed following hand washing.

Handwashing Guide - Commonly Missed Areas
Reference (Images): Taylor L (1978)


  • Hand washing is the simplest and easiest way of preventing the spread of infection to yourself and other people.
  • Thorough rinsing under running water is an important part of the procedure. Finally, dry the hands thoroughly using one paper towel for each hand – this also helps to prevent soreness. 
  • For more information see the NHS guide to washing your hands