One of the most important lessons you learn at an early age is how to wash your hands. Knowing how to wash your hands is a sign of not only absorbing the importance of proper hygiene, but also taking care of yourself independently. But is it possible we've been learning how to wash hands the wrong way all along?
Other than the very basic steps of how to wash your hands, including lathering them up with soap, scrubbing them under water until the suds disappear, and drying them off with a clean towel, there's one other lesson you likely learned. And that's the temperature of water under which you were washing them should be hot. This is based on the theory that washing your hands in warm water kills more germs than in cold water. But a new study may turn that theory on its head.
The study, conducted by scientists at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, found that washing hands in cold water left those hands just as clean as hands washed in hot water.
It asked 20 people to wash their hands 20 times each with water that was 59 degrees, 79 degrees or 100 degrees and to experiment with different amounts of soap, while their hands were covered in harmless bugs.
And the researchers say there was no difference in the amount of bugs removed from participants' hands as the temperature of the water or the amount of soap changed.
Professor Donald Schaffner said, "People need to feel comfortable when they are washing their hands but as far as effectiveness [goes], this study shows us that the temperature of the water used did not matter."
The researchers did, however, admit that their study was small in size, with only 20 people. So more research is needed to figure out the optimal way to remove germs from people's hands.
In the meantime, we'll enjoy the pure comfort of our warm water while we wash our hands anyway!