Washing hands in cold water as good as hot

Jun 03, 2017, 02:08
Washing hands in cold water as good as hot

Experts in the U.S. tested 20 people with different water temperatures and they found that hands washed in temperatures of 15 degrees were just as clean as those washed in temperatures of 38 degrees.

The water temperature debate is nearly as heated (no pun intended) as another hand-washing conundrum: whether it's more hygienic to dry your hands with an air-blower or with a paper towel.

A USA study has settled the age-old question of whether washing your hands with cold water is as good at washing them with warm water.

He said that people should feel comfortable when washing their hands, but the actual temperature of the water "didn't matter", he said.

However, the researchers accept their study is small and say more extensive work is needed to determine the best ways to remove harmful bacteria.

"Also we learned even washing for 10 seconds significantly removed bacteria from the hands", said Dr Schaffner, from Rutgers University in New Jersey.

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Just a short rub of the hands made a major difference the study, published in the Journal of Food Protection, found.

They were asked to wash their hands in 60-degree, 79-degree or 100-degree water temperatures using 0.5 ml, 1 ml or 2 ml volumes of soap. They repeated these tests several times over six months. It emphasizes that hands should be washed and rubbed vigorously for at least 20 seconds - as long as singing "Happy Birthday" twice, and that enough soap should be used to cover the whole surface of both hands.

These findings are significant, particularly to the restaurant and food industry, because the US Food and Drug Administration issues guidelines every four years, researchers said.

The action of washing soap off in the process of handwashing is what "helps to get hands clean", she said.

"The literature on hand washing includes a tremendous amount of misinformation, and data on many issues are missing", they wrote in the new study. Businesses would save money and not waste as much energy, he argued, if the revised handwashing policy was followed.

"When you want to decontaminate your hands by washing them, the soap chemically detaches the dirt and the organisms, which then come off after you rinse them", she said. "Does it give us the definitive answer about hand washing?" "But for the time being, I don't see the recommendations changing but I'm hoping that this study will lead to more in-depth stories that can give us even stronger evidence that could lead us to changing our current recommendations".

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