Hot or cool: Water temperature does not impact bacteria removal during hand washing, study shows

Cool water is as effective as hot water for removing harmful bacteria, according to a study conducted by researchers at Rutgers University-New Brunswick (N.J.).

For the study, researchers put high levels of harmful bacteria on the hands of 21 participants numerous times, over a six-month period. The participants then washed their hands in 60-degree, 79-degree or 100-degree water temperatures using 0.5 ml, 1 ml or 2 ml volumes of soap.

Journal of Food Protection published the study.

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The study shows that water temperature as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit and as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit did not have a significant effect on bacteria reduction during hand washing. Additionally, researchers found no difference between the amount of soap used for reducing bacteria.

However, further research is necessary to determine how much and what type of soap most impacts bacteria removal from hands.


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