Coronavirus: How to wash your hands properly to protect against COVID-19

As the COVID-19 coronavirus spreads across the globe panic is spreading too. Paranoia over contracting the virus has people living in facemasks, wearing hazmat suits and panic shopping.

But the best advice for staying safe is the simplest one - wash your hands frequently and efficiently.

The Project sent Rhys Mathewson to find out exactly how to wash your hands.

Nikita Lal from Hand Hygiene NZ put Mathewson to the test by checking his freshly washed hands with a black light and revealing all the nasties he had missed.

Lal says many people miss parts of their hands while washing - the wrists, in between the fingers and the thumbs are often passed over. 

In order to ensure you have yourself covered, she recommends singing 'Happy Birthday' twice as you wash. Forty seconds to a minute of thorough scrubbing should be enough time to get rid of all the bugs you carry around.

Lal also says people should interlock their fingers as they wash to ensure their nails are clean too.

In terms of frequency, she says hands should be washed before eating, after using the bathroom, after petting animals, gardening or any time they feel or look grubby.

The World Health Organisation and other medical professionals say frequent and thorough hand washing is the best way to protect against the virus. 

People should also make sure they're practicing good "cough etiquette" by coughing or sneezing into the crooks of their elbows.

Watch the full video above.