If this is an emergency, please call 000 immediately.

What is hand rubbing?

The single most important action you can do to avoid infection is wash your hands.

Rub your hands with an alcohol handrub liquid for 20–30 seconds for hand hygiene.

Wash your hands with soap and water when they are visibly dirty, for 40–60 seconds.

This guide is regularly updated and aligns with the current edition of Australian First Aid (4th edition, 7/2011)

What to do

Use a palmful of the alcohol handrub liquid in a cupped hand, covering all surfaces.


Rub hands palm to palm.


Rub right palm over top of left hand, with interlaced fingers and vice versa.


Rub palm to palm with fingers interlaced.


Rub backs of fingers against opposing palms.


Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa.


Rub fingers of right hand around, back and forward in left palm, then vice versa.


When dry, your hands are now safe.



Hand rubbing fact sheet

Related advice

How to hand wash

The single most important action you can do to avoid infection is washing your hands. We’ve put together a quick fact sheet about the best way to wash your hands to avoid infection.


Know the signs of coronavirus (COVID-19) and help stop the spread with this handy fact sheet.

Bites and stings

Here’s a helpful guide for dealing with many different types of bites and stings – from snakes and spiders to jellyfish and bluebottles.

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