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Feel free to use our free Hand Washing Poster. Just enter your email and download the template.

Hand washing poster | Download Free Template

How to use the hand washing poster?

The efficiency and effectiveness of hand washing lie in its proper execution. Food handlers must know how to properly wash their hands to minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Use our hand washing poster as a clear guide on the essential steps of proper hand washing. 

  1. Familiarize the poster. Check whether the poster satisfies the company standards.
  2. Enter a valid email address. 
  3. Click "Download." The poster is automatically sent to your Downloads folder.
  4. Print the hand washing poster. Print a decent poster copy and give it out to food handlers.
  5. Pin the poster in a visible area. Ideally, display the poster near sinks or hand washing areas to remind food handlers.

Get an intuitive solution to reminding your food safety team of minimum hygiene practices with our smart Food Safety Management System.


Hand Washing 101: A Visual Guide to Protecting Your Health

Whether the aim is to stop a global pandemic in communities or to prevent the spread of germs in a food establishment, hand washing is one of the best ways to get the job done. Foodborne pathogens such as bacteria and viruses that can cause foodborne illnesses and other health threats can easily be spread through contact.

A food handler can unknowingly hold a contaminated object and spread the contaminant all over other areas.

In this article, we go deeper into how proper hand washing can protect consumers and food businesses alike from unnecessary food safety issues:


Key points covered in this article:

  1. One of the best ways to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses and the risk of infection by bacteria is through proper handwashing as part of hygiene standards.
  2. Proper execution means doing it long enough and covering all important areas
  3. Use a hand washing poster to ensure that any pathogen is removed from your hands.
  4. The Centers for Disease Control stated that proper hand washing with soapy and warm running water could significantly reduce the occurrence of deaths from gastrointestinal diseases by 50%.
  5. Hand washing is most effective if done for a minimum time of 20 seconds
  6. Hand washing becomes more effective with the right tools, such as clean water, soap, and hand brushes.
  7. Hand washing must be done according to the advised steps to ensure effectiveness. 
  8. FoodDocs' Food Safety Management System features smart tools, such as automatically-generated checklists, to help food handlers maintain a strict level of overall hygiene.


Use a hand washing poster for hygiene compliance and to ensure that you can maximise the benefit of the process by doing it correctly.

To further understand the importance of proper hand washing procedures and the hand washing steps display poster, we'll walk you through the following topics:


What is a hand washing steps poster?

A hand washing poster is a visual safety sign containing a step-by-step process to properly wash your hands. Although a very common hygiene action, you'd be surprised at how easily you could get it wrong.

Correct hand washing procedures must be thorough as part of your everyday healthy habits and bathroom rules. It would not be enough just to rinse your hands with water and then dry it to remove harmful germs such as bacteria and viruses.

A hand hygiene poster is a step guide to show which areas need to be covered properly when washing.

Hand washing is part of the many important food safety practices in the food industry. It is one of the most effective preventive measures against the spread of food poisoning due to cross-contamination with contaminated hands.

A hand washing poster with guidance highlights essential information, including:

  • Wash hands for at least 20 seconds to ensure that all pathogens on your hand are killed. You can use the "Happy Birthday" song to reference how long it takes to wash your hands.
  • Use clean, running tap water with liquid soap to prevent recontamination of hands.
  • Dry hands after washing. Wet hands are more likely to become contaminated during food operations.
The cook is washing his hands in the sink

Why is cleaning hands important for food businesses?

Proper hand washing as part of control programmes can save lives. Similar to the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, pathogens such as viruses and bacteria can easily be transmitted through human contact with foods and food contact surfaces.

Food handlers must always know when and how to properly wash their hands to keep their food operations safe at all times and prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

Hand hygiene is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Prevents spreading foodborne illnesses. Contaminated hands can be a significant source of foodborne pathogens. Food handlers who do not practice proper hand hygiene may transfer harmful bacteria, viruses, or other contaminants to the food they handle, posing a serious risk to consumer safety. 
  2. Promotes overall health. Promoting good hand hygiene practices among employees is not only important for food safety but also for their own health and well-being. Regular handwashing helps protect employees from contracting and spreading illnesses in the workplace, promoting productivity and maintaining a healthy workforce.
  3. Ensures regulatory compliance. Food safety regulations and standards often require food businesses to maintain strict hand hygiene practices. Compliance with these regulations is not only necessary to meet legal obligations but also demonstrates a commitment to food safety.
  4. Maintains customer trust. Maintaining high standards of hygiene, including proper hand washing, is crucial for preserving reputation and building customer trust. Customers prefer to dine or buy from food businesses with employees who evidently practice proper hand hygiene.

It is a fundamental practice that should be prioritized to uphold the highest standards of hygiene and safety in the food industry. Food business owners can promote proper hand hygiene by providing the necessary tools and visual aids used for hand washing. 

What is the importance of a hand washing poster?

Proper hand hygiene helps prevent the spread of germs and reduces the risk of infectious diseases. To reinforce the importance of hand washing, the use of handwashing posters is widely used to educate and remind individuals about the correct hand washing techniques and key moments for hand hygiene.

A handwashing poster serves several important purposes:

  • Reminder for staff guidance. To become effective, handwashing has to cover specific areas, be performed for at least 20 seconds, and be done regularly. A hand washing technique poster is a proper guideline for people handling foods and a reminder to wash hands frequently and correctly. Bacteria and pathogens can hide beneath the nails and between the fingers. As such, you have to wash these areas thoroughly. The proper and simple steps of hand hygiene consist of the following:
    • Rinse hands
    • Lather soap
    • Rub hands palm to palm
    • Rub the back of the hands
    • Rub fingers interlaced
    • Base of thumbs
    • Rub fingernails
    • Wash wrists
    • Rinse hand well
    • Dry with a clean towel or tissue
chef washing hands at restaurant kitchen

With a hand washing informative poster, you can be sure that cross-contamination can be kept at a minimal level. It can also help increase consumer confidence in your food business.

  • Increase awareness. Not everyone knows that the duration of hand washing plays a great role in its effectiveness. In addition, some people think washing your hands with water alone would suffice. With a Hand washing poster, you can help increase awareness for effective hand hygiene improvement regarding this matter and teach everyone in the food industry and common households how to wash their hands properly. It also serves as a poster for health care for promoting healthy living and practising hygienic activities daily.
  • Training for food handlers. This visual aid can also serve as a training guide and educational tool for food handlers and improve the food safety culture. Employees with dirty hands are one of the leading sources of contamination in the food industry. Improper food safety practices can lead to many different food safety hazards. Frequent association with this teaching tool can help train food employees to wash their hands with soap all the time properly.

At FoodDocs, we've listed all the necessary food safety posters, checklists, and charts important for every food business operation, including this downloadable hand washing poster. There is no need to make a poster from scratch. What makes these printable posters and other documents so good is that we've considered all the key elements in making them, and we do the task of regularly updating them for you in case new information from food agencies comes up.

Oh, and did we mention that they are free? Because they are! Download and print these tools for your whole team from our Food safety posters hub. Visit our free HACCP plan template hub for more. Make FoodDocs your main resource for the most important food hygiene poster templates, charts, and food safety checklist templates.

What are the proper hand washing steps?

Proper hand washing involves a set of steps that must be performed in proper order. The effectiveness of the hand washing process depends if the steps are followed correctly. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has established 7 effective hand washing steps similar to health care facility level to prevent any spread of infection:

  1. Wet your hands and cover your hands in soap
  2. Rub right and left palms together
  3. Rub the back of hands while interlacing fingers
  4. Rub hands while interlacing fingers
  5. Rub the back of the fingers
  6. Rub thumbs
  7. Rub the tips of fingers

These simple steps for proper hand washing technique are basic, and steps 2 to 7 can be interchanged as everything is done.

Additional essential steps, such as rinsing afterwards and drying hands with a dry, disposable paper towel, can also be added to your hand washing awareness poster. Hand drying is an important part of the handwashing process because it reduces the risk of pathogens clinging to the sanitized hands. 

Our hand washing poster covers 11 detailed steps to sanitize hands when handling foods properly. This poster enumerates clear steps to follow for all food handlers.

Get more useful templates, checklists, and posters from our Template Hub

What is the minimum amount of time required to complete the handwashing process?

Researchers have proven that hand washing is most effective when done for a minimum time of 20 seconds.  

This duration allows for thorough cleaning and removal of germs from the hands. It is important to note that the 20 seconds should be spent actively washing the hands, including all surfaces such as palms, back of hands, between fingers, and around nails, using soap and water.

Rushing through the handwashing process may compromise its effectiveness in removing pathogens effectively.

Waitress holding bottle of sanitizer at business entrance

What are the materials used in hand washing?

The most important material in regular hand sanitising for proper hygiene is a source of clean and warm water. Your tap water must be free from contaminants and have passed the minimum requirements to be considered potable.

Additionally, the following hygiene materials must be present to accomplish basic hand washing techniques:

  • Anti-bacterial hand wash, bar soap, or detergent
  • Paper towels
  • Alcohol or alcohol-based hand sanitisers (optional)
  • Fingernail brush (optional)

It's worth noting that in situations where water and soap are accessible, traditional handwashing with soap and water is generally preferred over hand sanitisers. Hand sanitisers are recommended as a convenient option when soap and water are not available, but they may not effectively remove certain types of contaminants, such as chemicals or heavy soiling.


What is the most important aspect of hand washing?

Perhaps the most important factor in hand washing is the length of time you spend on the process. This helps ensure that all pathogens are soaked with soap to prevent the spread of bacteria.

During this time, the food handler must actively perform the proper steps to optimize the hand washing process. 

Who needs a hand washing poster?

All food establishments, manufacturing, retail shops, groceries, and other food-related businesses would benefit from a simple poster for hand washing. Routine hand hygiene is a basic food hygiene practice that must be practised by all food handlers for infection prevention and control.

Basic homeowners, healthcare workers, and schools can even use a hand washing poster as an approach to safety. Practically, any industry with hygiene facilities can use a hand washing poster to help keep their hands clean.

Health authorities from food agencies suggest washing hands with plain soap before and after food preparation and on other occasions, such as the following, for effective infection prevention:

  • After going to the bathroom.
  • In between handling raw foods and ready-to-eat products.
  • After throwing garbage.
  • After handling live animals.
  • When hands are soiled.

Frequent and effective hand hygiene significantly reduces the levels of bacteria and other infectious germs on food handlers' hands. 

How can I help my team keep in mind all needed sanitation rules?

A food business's performance is only as good as how employees know proper food handling practices. The problem is that training a food handler is not an easy job in addition to managing a whole food business. Not to mention that food handlers must always be reminded of proper food safety tasks.

Hand washing is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to practising food safety tasks. 

Use FoodDocs' smart Food Safety Management System to get essential and intuitive tools for monitoring and guiding food handlers in performing sanitation practices.


Using our services, you can get the following benefits:

  1. Employee hygiene checklist
  2. Master Sanitation schedule
  3. Task notifications

Employee hygiene checklist

We automatically generate customizable digital monitoring forms and checklists that fit your food business and your daily operations.

Among these monitoring forms is an Employee Hygiene Checklist with all the most important hygiene operations to maintain strict personal cleanliness.

Our system will automatically generate a customizable checklist with all of the essential tasks. You can easily edit and tailor the listed operations according to your unique operations.

Use this checklist to remind all food handlers of minimum hygiene tasks that need to be done every day.


Employee hygene checklist

Employee hygiene checklist from the FoodDocs software

Master sanitation schedule

Maintain the cleanliness and sanitation status of your facility by using our Master Sanitation Schedule.

This schedule is automatically generated and contains sanitation tasks that must be done in intervals (e.g., weekly, monthly, or quarterly). Optimise your sanitation tasks by maintaining an organized schedule.

Customise the schedule according to your business operations. Set new schedules and create new tasks as needed. 


Master sanitation schedule


Master sanitation schedule from FoodDocs

Task notifications

Ensure that every food handler will perform every sanitation and hygiene task on time using our smart notification system. Using our Food Safety App, our smart software sends out automatic notifications to alert all food handlers of their tasks due to be performed.

This way, no one will forget the most important daily tasks. Additionally, this feature can also be used to remind everyone of important dates for schedules.

Food safety experts designed this intuitive software to cover all food safety monitoring tasks for every food business in the food industry.

It was made to help food businesses maintain compliance with international and local food safety laws and regulations. We base all monitoring procedures on your operations and the location of your food business.

Switching to our digital Food Safety Management System won't even take too much time. The whole process would only need an average of 15 minutes to finish! You can switch to a digital FSMS while on your couch or while waiting for a meeting to begin. Start running your digital FSMS with us.

Try our free 14-day trial and join more than 20,000 satisfied customers.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the second stage of handwashing?

The second stage of handwashing is lathering the hands with soap. This step helps to remove dirt, germs, and oils from the skin by creating a soapy lather.

What is the correct first step in handwashing?

The correct first step in handwashing is wetting the hands with clean, running water. Wetting the hands before applying soap helps to initiate the process of removing dirt and germs. It also activates the soap and allows it to reach all areas of the hands. 

How many steps are in hand washing?

Handwashing typically consists of seven main steps: wetting the hands, applying soap, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds, rubbing the soap in between fingers, rubbing the back of the hand, and rinsing the hands thoroughly with clean water.

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