This is a legacy version of the WELL Building Standard. Please check the latest version here.

Hand washing

Hand washing


To reduce pathogen transmission by providing accessible and sanitary hand washing facilities.


Hand washing is one of the most important and effective means of reducing the transmission of pathogens through food. Responsible for approximately 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths occurring in the U.S. each year, foodborne illness is a major cause of preventable illness and death, personal distress and avoidable economic burden. Regular rinsing with soap and water helps to reduce the spread of unwanted and potentially dangerous germs. In addition, using paper towels to dry hands is more effective in removing bacteria than using air dryers. Since liquid soap in bulk refillable dispensers is prone to bacterial contamination, utilizing sealed liquid soap cartridges reduces the possibility for bacterial contamination and significantly reduces bacteria on hands whereas contaminated refillable dispensers increase bacteria on hands after hand-washing. Hand washing sinks should also provide sufficient room for washing one’s hands without touching the sink sides, to prevent possible recontamination.

Part 1
Hand Washing Supplies

The following are provided, at a minimum, at all sink locations:
Fragrance-free hand soap in accordance with the Cleaning, Disinfection and Hand Hygiene Product section in Table A4 in Appendix C.
Disposable paper towels (air dryers are not forbidden, but are supplemented).

Part 2
Contamination Reduction

One of the following is provided, at a minimum, at all sink locations:
Liquid soap in dispensers with disposable and sealed soap cartridges.
Bar soap with a​ soap rack that allows​ for drainage.

Part 3
Sink Dimensions

Bathroom and kitchen sinks meet the following requirements:
The sink column of water is at least 25 cm [10 inches] in length.
The handwashing basin is at least 23 cm [9 inches] in width and length.

Part 4
Hand Washing Station Location

Bathroom and kitchen sinks meet the following requirement:
Where applicable, a handwashing station or a clear sign pointing to the nearest handwashing station, is located at the entryway to areas intended for food consumption.