University Health Service

Two pairs of hands washing

Why wash:

Do you know that 80% of germs that cause illness are transmitted by hands?

And in just 15+ seconds, you can reduce your risk of getting sick, as well as help protect others? 

That's what washing your hands can do, because it breaks the chain of transmission. That's why Wolverines Wash! 

It's most important to wash:

  • After using the toilet
  • Before, during, and after handling or eating food
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • Often -- just think of all the grimy surfaces you touch!

How to wash with soap and water:

  1. Wet your hands
  2. Apply soap and rub into a lather for at least 15 seconds -- friction counts! -- and be sure to wash the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails
  3. Rinse
  4. Dry

If you can't wash with soap and water, use hand sanitizer:

Hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations. But unfortunately, sanitizers don't eliminate all types of germs and might not remove harmful chemicals. Also, they're not as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.

How to use hand sanitizer:

  1. Apply a dime-size amount of sanitizer to your palm
  2. Rub your hands together so that the sanitizer reaches all surfaces of your hands and fingers
  3. Keep rubbing until your hands are dry

Other ways to prevent getting sick:

  • Get an annual flu vaccination
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hand) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, if possible.
  • If you are sick, keep your distance from others and if possible, stay at home.

​For more information: