National Handwashing Awareness Week. Holiday concept. Template for background, banner, card, poster with text inscription. Vector EPS10 illustration

To kick off National Handwashing Awareness Week which takes place Dec. 4-10, Cintas Corporation sat down with hand hygiene expert and founder of Henry the Hand Foundation, Dr. William Sawyer, to discuss the 4 Principles of Hand Awareness. 

“These 4 principles are to teach children and adults a life skill of good hand hygiene behavior,” explains Dr. Sawyer, who has spent over 35 years as a family medicine doctor. “Handwashing can help reduce the spread of infectious disease and improve people's health if we can just spread the word of its importance and not germs.” 

Endorsed by the American Medical Association and American Academy of Family Physicians, the 4 Principles of Hand Awareness from Henry the Hand Foundation include: 

1 Wash your hands when they are dirty and before eating. 

2 DO NOT cough into your hands. 

3 DO NOT sneeze into your hands. 

4 DO NOT put your fingers into your eyes, nose or mouth. 

Dr. Sawyer’s science-based hand hygiene behavior modification program focuses on hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and infection prevention awareness.  The recommendations can help students, employees, travelers, shoppers and others stay healthy this flu season and throughout the year. 

“It’s important to learn and practice good handwashing habits and ensure you have proper handwashing supplies at all times,” says Julia Messinger, marketing manager – Facility Services, Cintas. “Implementing a coordinated cleaning program can also help reduce the spread of germs throughout a facility.” 

Henry the Hand Foundation originated following the 1999 flu vaccine shortage in Cincinnati and was formed with the goal of keeping the community safe. Dr. Sawyer established National Handwashing Awareness Week which has been celebrated and promoted within schools and beyond. 

To learn more about Henry the Hand Foundation, visit For more information about Cintas facility services, visit