It is a "halacha" (Jewish law) to wash "Maiyim Achrohnim". (After eating a meal with bread, a person must wash his hands before saying the Birkas Hamozohn. This washing of hands is called "Maiyim Achrohnim".) There are two reasons for this:

1) The fingers are dirty and it is not proper to make a "brocha" like this.

2) It is possible that "Melach S’dohm" (salt of Sodom) is still on his fingers from the meal. Even today when "Melach S’dohm" is rare, there is still a chance that it is mixed in with regular salt. The danger is that it can cause harm to a person’s eyes if he accidentally touches them while the "Melach S’dohm" is on his fingers. (Mishnah B’rurah 181:1) The Chofetz Chaim rules that even in modern times, a person should be strict about washing "Maiyim Achrohnim". (Mishnah B’rurah 181:22)

When a person washes for "Maiyim Achrohnim" he should not just dampen his fingertips. The Chofetz Chaim says that a person who does only this, has not done what is necessary. (Mishnah B’rurah 181:10) Instead, a person should wash up to the second knuckle, or higher up if it is not clean there.

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