Washing hands in cold water as good as hot

GETTY- STOCK IMAGEBut whichever temperature and soap you use you have to was your hands for at least 10 seconds

GETTY- STOCK IMAGEBut whichever temperature and soap you use you have to was your hands for at least 10 seconds

Water temperature as high as 38°C and as low as 15°C did not have a significant effect on the reduction of bacteria during hand washing, said the researchers.

"Water works as a physical cleanser and washes the organisms and microbes off the hands", said Dr. Raymond Pontzer, director of infection prevention for UPMC in Pittsburgh, who was not involved in the study.

Surely even the laziest among us - those who give their hands a cursory rinse, or worse, don't wash them at all - can manage a piddling 10 seconds.

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.

"Professor Donald Schaffner stated, ".as far as effectiveness, this study shows us that temperature of the water used didn't matter". The participants were then asked to wash their hands multiple times in water temperatures ranging from 15 degrees Celsius to 38 degrees Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit to 100 degrees Fahrenheit) and soap volume ranging from 0.5 milliliters to 2 milliliters. Researchers in New Jersey have found that handwashing with cool or cold water removes the same amount of bacteria from one's hands as handwashing with warm or hot water, as long as hands are washed thoroughly for at least ten seconds. In fact, the average length of time for hand washing was only six seconds, falling short of the newest study's advised 10 seconds. In this case, more does not equal better as there were no significant differences between the amount of soap used when it came to cleanliness.

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The findings were published in the Journal of Food Protection. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration issued a report that antibacterial soaps weren't more effective and could cause health problems.

Dr Lisa Ackerley, a food safety adviser for the British Hospitality Association, 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".

Scrub all surfaces of the hands. "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".

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

Scientists at Rutgers University-New Brunswick wanted to test if the popular assumptions on the benefits of using hot water, and the official guidelines on hot water use in the U.S. food industry, were true.

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