Should you wash your hands in hot or cold water?

Researchers also found that washing even for 10 seconds significantly removed bacteria from the hands. Representational Image. DH file

The team of researchers found that the temperature the volunteers washed their hands and the amount of soap they used did not make any difference when it came to how well their hands were cleansed of germs.

According to the New Zealand Herald, the study's advice to wash hands for at least 10 seconds is because that is a sufficient length of time to wash "harmful food poisoning bacteria" off of one's hands.

However, he added that the latest findings had implications for guidelines and energy use.

A USA study has settled the age-old question of whether washing your hands with cold water is as good at washing them with warm water. This process was repeated multiple times over a six-month period. Moreover, further study is required on amount of soap, its type and the proper techniques of to remove harmful micro-organisms from the hands.

Thanks to a new study from Rutgers University, you can save your skin from scalding hot water the next time you wash your hands.

Still feel like you need hot water to have clean hands?

"But the actual water temperature won't kill bacteria as it can't be too hot or it would burn".

In the USA, federal guidelines to restaurants and catering outlets is to provide water heated to 38°C.

The water temperature debate is nearly as heated (no pun intended) as another hand-washing conundrum: whether it's more hygienic to dry your hands with an air-blower or with a paper towel.

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. "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". Instead, he said that the policy should only be that warm, or comfortable, water is used by employees when they wash their hands, and employees should wash their hands for a minimum of ten seconds.

"We are wasting energy to heat water to a level that is not necessary", Schaffner said.

Antibacterial soap was more effective than ordinary soap, the study finds.

Researchers from Michigan State University found that only 5 percent of us are doing it the right way.

'In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long term'. "Using warm water can make the soap more effective at removing dirt because it promotes this chemical reaction".

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