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Water temperature doesn’t make any difference when it comes to removing harmful bacteria from your hands, a new study suggests.
“People need to feel comfortable when they are washing their hands but as far as effectiveness, this study shows us that the temperature of the water used didn’t matter,” says Donald Schaffner, professor and extension specialist in food science at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
For the study in the Journal of Food Protection, high levels of a harmless bacteria were put on the hands of 21 participants multiple times over a six-month period before 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.
“This study may have significant implications towards water energy, since using cold water saves more energy than warm or hot water,” Schaffner says. “Also we learned even washing for 10 seconds significantly removed bacteria from the hands.”