Washing your hands is something that everybody does. Whether it is before eating or after going the bathroom – we all wash our hands sometime in the day. When its cold out we tend to wash our hands in the warm water, but when its a warm day, we tend to refresh ourselves by washing our hands in cold water. However, should we be washing in just one temperature. Is it possible that one temperature is more beneficial than another temperature for eliminating all bacteria on ones hand?
According to DebGroup, a study was conducted in order to determine if the temperature, being hot water, had any effect on ridding pathogens on one’s hand. In this study, the Null Hypothesis would be that hot water as effective as cold water when washing hands, while the Alternative Hypothesis would be hot water is more effective than cold water when washing. The study surveyed a total of 510 adults and were asked a series of questions regarding how they wash their hands; for example, how often they wash, how they wash, how long they wash for etc. According to National Geographic, 70% of the people surveyed believed that washing their hands in warmer water was more beneficial. By the end of the study it was determined that the hot water had no effect on the amount of pathogens left on the skin compared to cold water. Another study, according to the New York Times, conveyed by scientists from the Joint Bank Group/ Fund Health Services had participants contaminate their hands. The participants washed their hands for 25 seconds in soap and water ranging from 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It was then observed to see if the hands washed in the hotter water had less bacteria than the hands washed in cooler water. The study determined that the temperature had no effect on the outcome of the bacteria on the hands. Hot water is as effective as cold water when washing hands. This would mean that the Null Hypothesis is true. It is true that heat does indeed kill off bacteria, so why would it not be the same for hot water? According to Amanda R. Carrico from Vanderbilt University, she confirms that heat does kill off bacteria. However, she explains that in order to acquire that amount of heat in your water, it would be very unsafe for humans to wash with. That amount of heat would burn and cause great discomfort which all in all, is unnecessary in order to wash your hands. So, as long as you wash your hands with soap and water for the normal amount of 25 seconds, you’ll have clean hands despite the temperature of the water.
Altogether, it does not matter what temperature water you use to wash your hands. Washing your hands is definitely a vital part of everyday living, so as long as you use soap and water, you’ll definitely be clear of any possible bacteria and pathogens lying on your hands. So, make sure you wash your hands, but it won’t matter what water temperature you use!