Many types of viruses can be spread by the hands of caregivers and food handlers, and regular and proper decontamination of hands is crucial in interrupting such spread. Standardized methods to assess the virus-eliminating potential of handwash and handrub agents have not been available and this test method addresses this gap. Each fingerpad of an adult subject receives 10 microl of the test virus suspension and the inoculum allowed to dry. The contaminated area is then exposed to 1 ml of a control or test agent for the desired contact time and virus remaining on the fingerpad is eluted, and the eluates are titrated for infectious virus along with the required controls. The method can also allow the determination of further virus removal due to post-treatment rinsing of the fingerpads with water and/or their subsequent towel- or air-drying. Percent reductions in the amounts of infectious virus after treatment with the control and test agents are then determined. The method gives results that are comparable to those obtained using the whole-hand. The activities of all major classes of germicidal chemicals used in hygienic hand antiseptics have been tested against several enveloped and non-enveloped viruses of human origin.