Tuesday, October 4, 2022


When you wash your hands, what order do you add soap and water?

When you’re in a public restroom, do you silently judge people who wash their hands differently than you? “How can they put the soap on dry hands before getting them wet?” Or, “Why wet your hands before putting on soap. What a waste of time!”

The same goes for the argument about brushing your teeth. What comes first, the water on the brush or the toothpaste? Or cereal and milk, which one goes in the bowl first?

How do you wash your hands? Do you wet them first and then add soap, or do you add soap first, when your hands are dry, then wash with water after? Answer in the poll below and see how many other hand-washers do things like you.


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2 years ago

It depends on the soap dispenser.
If it is a foaming dispenser, than no water first.
If it is straight soap, I wet hands first.

2 years ago

I couldn’t believe this is even a question… it’s like asking if you walk without alternately using your feet. But, for absurd detail, I wet to rinse loose dirt, soap to dissolve stuck dirt, scrub 30 seconds or more as needed, rinse, repeat soaping as needed, rinse, towel dry. NEVER use a blower as it actually encourages bacterial growth.

2 years ago

I rinse first to remove any dirt before using soap. It all depends on what I was doing before.
Then wash with soap, twice.
Today we walk around with treated tissues in our pockets to ensure we clean everything when out shopping..
After returning from a shopping trip, we wash all our street clothes, and shower before entering our home.
An extra step to stay bug/virus free and clean if we can…

Cheryl Bacon
2 years ago

If you use foaming soap, you don’t need much water. We bought Simplehuman rechargeable hand soap dispensers a couple years ago. One less thing to touch, especially while cooking.

Mike & Cathi Stark
2 years ago

Back in the day, borax was the soap of choice in public restrooms – you had to wet your hands first. Also when washing with bar soap, you have to wet your hands first. I find my bar soap gentler on my hands so I’m not using liquid soap much at all.

2 years ago

59% of us can’t be wrong. 🙂

James E O'Briant
2 years ago

Hand washing — I use liquid soap from a dispenser that makes it foamy, so I generally don’t need to add water until it’s time to rinse. Due to the Pandemic, I’m careful to wash for 30 seconds before rinsing. (You can time your 30 seconds by singing “happy birthday to you” twice.)

Bob Weinfurt
2 years ago

I wet them a little, then soap, and wet them more as needed as not to rinse off the soap prematurely.

Ron H.
2 years ago

I think the question refers only to liquid soap. Bar soap doesn’t work well unless hands are wet first.

2 years ago

The only CORRECT answer is the first one.
Last year to work concessions at baseball spring training I had to get an Arizona food handlers permit. 1st lesson was on washing hands then 1st question on the test was how to wash your hands.
1. wet both hands and wrists
2. soap your hands
3. scrub hands and wrists throughly fronts, back, and between fingers.
4. rinse
5. wipe with disposable paper towel.

2 years ago

I put the soap on the towel and then dry off my hands with it because the towel is the last thing I touched. 🙂

2 years ago

This question is like what came first the chicken or the egg!!!

2 years ago

i wet my left hand as i pump soap into my right hand. if there is no pump, then i wet my hands first

2 years ago

Soap and water at same time

2 years ago

I never use hand dryers, they are noisy and spread the germs back on your hands. A quick shake at the sink, and hands dry quickly. If there is paper towel, get towel first to turn off faucet. Use a towel to open the door. I am not a germaphobe, just caution is better practice.

2 years ago
Reply to  Tom

Totally agree, my Brother-ln-law has been doing that for sense ever. When I was much younger I always thought it was weird, not so much anymore, i started doing that when I started using PUBLIC bathrooms, especially at restaurants!

Joe R
2 years ago

Prior to COVID-19 It’s was amazing how many people did not wash their hands after using the bathroom and then open a door. Just in case they have blowers instead of paper towels (They tend to spread germs around). I always did and always will carry several pieces of paper towel in a zip lock bag to dry my hands and then use to open The door.

2 years ago

I pump the soap into one dry hand & use the fingers of the soaped hand to turn on the water for just a second to wet the other hand. Then I scrub my hands & flip the lever to turn the water back on to rinse. It’s a habit I developed for water conservation in boondocking.

2 years ago

We have a jingle on Mexican radio and television to remind children and adults how to wash your hands during the pandemia: Mojar, enjabonar, frotar, frotar, frotar, enjuagar y secar, Get wet, soap up, rub, rub, rub, rinse and dry.

2 years ago

Liquid soap first. If bar soap then water first.

Mark B
2 years ago

It depends on the soap. If foam, I apply foam first and start working it. If thick, I get a little water first.

It is notable how hand washing compliance in public men’s bathrooms has gone way up. E.coli, hepatitis, norovirus, staphylococcus and streptococcus didn’t seem to impact behavior. This virus has.