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Cold Water Is as Effective as Hot For Washing Your Hands

Cold Water Works Just as Well

Germs are everywhere. Swine flu, regular flu, our homes, the gym — there's no escaping the little buggers. One of the best ways to protect yourself is still the easiest: wash those hands! If you're like me, you probably believe that the hotter the water, the better. Not so, says a recent study.

Conducted by scientists with the Joint Bank Group/Fund Health Services Department, the study looked at the bacteria levels of participants after they washed their hands in different water temperatures. The results showed no difference in levels between participants who washed their hands in hot water versus those who washed in cold. The scientists went on to say that tepid water is a better choice for hand washing because it's gentler on the skin and it's better for the environment.

I think it'll take me a little while to adjust to this change — something about washing my hands in hot water just feels safer. When you do wash up, though, make sure you always use soap and lather up for at least 30 seconds.

Image Source: Getty
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Allytta Allytta 6 years
again, one of those things my medic grandma thought me when i was child, and only now there's scientific merit to it :D LOL science is so slow, smart people knew this stuff before just using logical thinking.
InShapeMommy InShapeMommy 6 years
Interesting! Any tips for keeping your hands from drying out after so many washes? My hands are terribly cracked in the winter from lots of hand washing and I can't find anything that helps. Any advice?
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 6 years
I use whatever temperature it is coming out of the faucet - typically slightly colder than room temperature. I wish other brands made those soap slivers that Bath and Body Works does so that I can carry my favorite bar soap with me. The soap in those automatic dispenser is terribly drying. I guess I could always try creating soap shavings myself :-(
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 6 years
I use whatever temperature it is coming out of the faucet - typically slightly colder than room temperature. I wish other brands made those soap slivers that Bath and Body Works does so that I can carry my favorite bar soap with me. The soap in those automatic dispenser is terribly drying. I guess I could always try creating soap shavings myself :-(
biarose biarose 6 years
To actually kill the germs using water it would need to be boiling hot.. so there's not really any point using warm over cold.
Spectra Spectra 6 years
Yeah, the only point of the water is to rinse the soap off your hands. I think a lot of people confuse hand washing with say, clothes washing. To kill all the icky dust mites and germs in your bedding, you SHOULD use hot water to kill everything off, but when you're washing your hands, warm/cool water works just as well.
Antioxidant Antioxidant 6 years
I love washing my hands with cold water. The coldness sort of wakes up my system a bit and I feel more refreshed.
imLissy imLissy 6 years
that's good since they turned off the hot water in our bathroom here. Well, the other bathroom has hot water I think, but it's always freezing in there.
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