If one is not supposed to talk before washing in the morning, how can one avoid being rude if someone says hello (e.g., a less observant family forgets)
Thank you for your question.
It is permitted to talk before washing our hands in the morning. The idea is not to engage in idle conversation or to greet someone before davening. If the other person greets you, you may answer. You should try not to get engaged in conversation before davening, however if you already said brachos it is permitted.