Safe Food Practices

Hand Washing

Hand Washing: Do It Right
Hand washing is a simple and effective way to prevent infections. It's important for all students to know both how and when to properly wash their hands.

  • Use soap and warm water and rub all surfaces of the hands vigorously for at least 15 seconds.
  • Rinse well under running water and dry thoroughly. When possible, use a paper towel when turning off taps.
  • Use an alcohol based hand rub if a sink isn't available for proper hand washing and there's no visible dirt on the hands. Rub over all surfaces of hands and wrists until dry. Hand rubs that contain between 60% and 90% alcohol are the most effective.

When Should You Wash?

  • Before you eat, drink or touch food
  • After you use the washroom
  • After you play outside or touch an animal
  • If your hands look or feel dirty

Fun Ways to Encourage Hand Washing
The Teacher Resource Manual to Promote Hand Hygiene developed by the Ottawa Public Health Department is an excellent resource that has been adopted by Peel Public Health. It contains downloadable grade specific curricula, posters and fact sheets.

Lesson Plans for Kindergarten to Grade 3

  • Pages 1 - 13 Lesson Plans 7-11
    (13 pages, 940 KB)
  • Pages 14 - 29 Lesson Plans 12-14, Additional Activities, Assignments 1-2
    (15 pages, 888 KB)

Lesson Plans for Grades 4 to 8

  • Pages 1 - 15 Lesson Plans 15-18
    (15 pages, 780 KB)
  • Pages 16 - 28 Lesson Plan 19, Additional Activities, Assessments 3-5
    (12 pages, 1.34 MB)

Other Lesson Plans

JK - Grade 2

Grades 3 - 4

Grades 5 - 8


  • How to Wash Your Hands (806 KB, 2 pages)
    (Flyer [8 ½ x 11] for posting near sinks in bathrooms and classrooms.)
  • Stop Infections! (425 KB, 1 page) Wash Your Hands Poster
  • Glo-germ™ Kit
    This kit contains an ultraviolet lamp and hand gel containing simulated "germs." The lamp illuminates the germs, showing the effectiveness of hand washing techniques.
  • Hand washing video for older students

Did You Know?
Proper hand washing may eliminate nearly half of all cases of food borne illness and significantly reduce the spread of the common cold and flu.

For more information

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Revised: Wednesday December 05 2012

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