Noroviruses and Hand Washing Proper hand washing is one of the most important ways to prevent norovirus infections. There is a proper way to wash your hands. The CDC recommends wetting and lathering with soap and water, followed by scrubbing hands for 20 seconds, including between fingers and under nails. Finally, hands should be rinsed and thoroughly dried. Single-use disposable paper towels are best. It is important to wash hands frequently, especially after using the toilet and before eating, preparing, or handling food. Alcohol-based sanitizers may be used in addition to hand washing, but should not be used in place of hand washing. In the rare instance in which soap and water are not available, hand sanitizers can be used in their place, but cannot be relied upon to completely inactivate noroviruses. Hand washing is a simple practice that can help protect you and others from norovirus as well as other infectious diseases.