Washing your hands with hot water is pointless

Most people believe that using hot water is more effective than warm
Most people believe that using hot water is more effective than warm

03 June, 2017

Using water at a temperature ranging from 38C (100F) to 15C (60F), there was no significant difference in the removal of bacteria.

The Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom just states that they must provide washbasins for cleaning hands must have hot and cold running water, soap and materials for hygienic drying.

Before they started the tests, their hands were covered in harmless bugs.

Findings from the study may have major implications with regards to saving water energy, as warm or hot water requires more energy than cold water.

Donald Schaffner, a professor at the university, said: "People need to feel comfortable when washing their hands, but as far as effectiveness this shows us that water temperature did not matter".

The coauthor Jim Arbogast, Vice President of Hygiene Sciences and Public Health Advancements for GOJO, said more work needs to be carried out to understand exactly the amount and the type of soap that is needed to remove harmful microbes, though the study does not indicate any differences between the amount of soap used.

A new study has discovered that cool water removes the same amount of harmful bacteria.

When the researchers analyzed the amounts of bacteria left on hands after washing, they found that water at all three temperatures worked equally well.

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Antibacterial soap was no better than normal soap, researchers also found. This process was repeated multiple times over a six-month period.

Dr Lisa Ackerley said: 'Warm water is good as it helps the soap to lather and it's the action of washing soap off which helps to get hands clean.

The issue of water temperature has been debated for a number of years without enough science to provide proof that water temperature makes a difference in hand hygiene, said the USA researchers.

The Rutgers study appears in the June 2017 issue of the Journal of Food Protection.

NHS advice says hands should be run under tepid running water, before liquid soap is applied to every surface of them, and rubbed vigorously for at least 10 to 15 seconds.

The researchers did find that very brief hand washing, for just 5 seconds, did not clean hands effectively.

'We are wasting energy to heat water to a level that is not necessary'. "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". "Does it give us the definitive answer about hand washing?"

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