Thanks for cleaning your hands

April 28, 2021

Thanks for cleaning your hands


It’s been a long year. As we keep on keeping on, it’s a good time to acknowledge what everyone is doing to support good hand and respiratory hygiene to help control infection – and the importance of maintaining those efforts.

Ryan Reynolds, Mariah Carey and The Rock are just a few of the Canadian and global celebrities who have produced imaginative videos or social posts on hand hygiene to help contain COVID-19. Lots of adorable kids made videos too.

To them and all who are singing Happy Birthday twice while washing your hands to make sure you are doing it long enough or coming up with creative ways to remember how far to stand apart, we want to say thank you (Speaking personally, while it may be true that an adult male grizzly bear is about 2 metres tall, as a kid they seemed much taller!).

May 5 is Clean Your Hands Day, a day to acknowledge everyone who is making a difference helping to control the COVID-19 pandemic by following public health measures. Your efforts to clean your hands, stay home, provide care, wear masks and now, get vaccinated, are making a difference. Together, we’re saving lives, protecting those who are vulnerable, and supporting friends, families and neighbours in our community. Let’s continue to make every day Clean Your Hands Day. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over but we have flattened the curve in the past and we can do it again by being vigilant and following the best practices in public health.

Two people cleaning their hands

This year, Healthcare Excellence Canada has changed the name of ‘STOP! Clean Your Hands Day’ to ‘Clean Your Hands Day’ to reflect the importance of continuing to follow public health guidance, including cleaning our hands.

Healthcare Excellence Canada is leading Clean Your Hands Day in conjunction with the World Health Organization’s SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign, which is a global initiative. In Canada, we are partnering with many organizations including the Public Health Agency of Canada, Infection Prevention and Control Canada, Patients for Patient Safety Canada, Public Health Ontario, Health Standards Organization, and L’Association des infirmières en prévention des infections. 

Whether you are a member of the public, patient, visitor, essential care partner, or work in healthcare, maintaining good hand and respiratory hygiene are important personal practices that help reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others.

The necessary simple but essential measures cannot be stated too often:

  • Clean your hands often, with soap and warm water or with hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available. 
  • When coughing or sneezing:
    • cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand
    • dispose of any tissues you've used as soon as possible in a lined waste basket and clean your hands immediately afterwards
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands
  • Before applying and after taking your mask off, clean your hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

This May 5 and every day, join your colleagues at Healthcare Excellence Canada by celebrating those who are making a difference by following local public health guidance. 

Please help share the Clean Your Hands Day campaign. For tools, information and resources to help spread the message visit