Virginia Tech® home

4.4. Hand Hygiene

Cover cuts or abrasions on hands when in a biohazardous work area.

Hydrate dry, cracked skin with lotion to improve skin integrity on hands.

Always keep hands gloved when working with biohazardous agents, making sure your wrists are not exposed.

Never touch your face with gloved hands.

Never put your hands in your personal pockets while gloved.

If you need to access your lab coat pockets while working, train yourself to only access them while gloved, not when ungloved.

When gloved, never touch any work surface that others touch bare-handed. (e.g., keyboard, computer mouse, pencils/ pens, doorknobs, equipment handles, telephone, faucets, etc.)

Practice effective hand washing:

  • Wet hands with clean, warm running water and apply soap.
  • Rub hands together to lather soap, washing backs of hands and thumbs, between fingers, around nails; wash wrists up to slightly above area covered by gloves. Scrub for 20 seconds.
  • Rinse hands under clean running water; dry using clean paper towels.
  • If no soap or running water is available, use moist disposable wipes to physically remove dirt/debris from your hands, then use hand sanitizer on all hand/wrist surfaces. Wipe hands with paper towels before product dries on skin, then reapply sanitizer and let air dry. Wash with soap and water as soon as possible.