Skip 
Navigation Link
Medical Disorders
Resources
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
Excess Weight May Raise Rosacea RiskDecline in Antibiotic Use in Livestock Isn't Enough, Critics SayCould a Hot Cup of Tea Preserve Your Vision?Breathing Retraining Beneficial in Patients With AsthmaZika Babies Facing Increasing Health Problems With AgeHealth Tip: Dental Association Supports Fluoridated WaterAnother Legacy of Terror Attacks: MigrainesRain May Not Cause Achy Joints After AllDisrupted Sleep Linked to Increased Amyloid-β ProductionAtherosclerosis ID'd in Many Without CV Risk FactorsArtificial Intelligence Promising for CA, Retinopathy DiagnosesFirst Drug Approved for Rare Condition That Inflames Blood VesselsProtecting Your Health From Wildfire SmokeHealth Tip: Recognize Warning Signs of HypothermiaNew Hope for Kids With Multiple Food AllergiesFew Patients, Providers Discuss Costs of Glaucoma Medicationsβ-Cell Sensitivity to Glucose Impaired After Gastric BypassHow to Perk Up the Holidays for Hospital PatientsVigorous Exercise May Help Slow Parkinson's DiseaseIf Mom Has Rheumatoid Arthritis, Baby May Develop It, TooNew Gene Therapy May Be Cure for 'Bubble Boy' DiseaseAnother Gene Therapy Breakthrough Against HemophiliaPrenatal Sugar Intake May Increase Asthma Risk in OffspringObesity May Be Tied to Higher Rosacea Risk in WomenGot Scabies? Here's What to DoAre Women With Parkinson's at a Disadvantage?Bariatric Surgery Alters Liver Fatty Acid MetabolismORBIT Bleeding Risk Score Performs Best in A-FibHealth Tip: Prevent the Spread of NorovirusAre Good Kidneys Going to Waste?Metabolic Risk Factors Linked to Severe Liver DiseaseImpaired White Matter Integrity for Depression in Parkinson'sHave Eczema? No Need for Bleach Baths, Study SuggestsPowerful Clot-Busting Drugs Not Useful After Leg Blockages: StudyComing Soon: A Gel That Could Help Save Soldiers' EyesGene Therapy May Allow Hemophilia Patients to Go Without MedsThyroidectomy-Specific Quality Improvement Measures ID'dPatients OK With Fewer Opioids After Gallbladder SurgeryShhhh! Patients Are SleepingDiagnostic Mutations ID'd in Chronic Kidney Disease PatientsAntithrombotics Deemed Safe in Carpal Tunnel Release SurgeryLink Between Diabetes, Antibiotic Use Called Into QuestionHealth Tip: Diagnosing PneumoniaNoisy Commutes Could Cause Long-Lasting DamageThe Buzz on How Flies Spread DiseaseRisk of Surgical Complications Up for Overlapping Hip SurgeryOral Microbiome Composition Linked to Esophageal Cancer RiskSmartphone Pics Help Docs ID Kids' Skin ConditionEven Non-Heart Surgery May Harm Your HeartCan Scrotal Vein Condition Hike Heart Risks?
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Hand Washing Works Whether the Water's Hot or Cold

HealthDay News
by -- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
Updated: Jun 1st 2017

new article illustration

THURSDAY, June 1, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- You don't need to scald your hands to get rid of germs. For effective hand hygiene, water temperature matters less than time, new research states.

The finding runs counter to U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines recommending that food establishments and restaurants deliver water at 100 degrees Fahrenheit for hand washing, the researchers said.

Scientists at Rutgers University in New Jersey said they found that cold water is as effective as hot in getting rid of harmful bacteria and other germs. What's more important, they said, is that people scrub their hands with soap for at least 10 seconds.

"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," said Donald Schaffner, a specialist in food science at the university.

And, using cold water saves more energy than warm or hot water, Schaffner pointed out.

"Also, we learned even washing for 10 seconds significantly removed bacteria from the hands," he said in a university news release.

For the study, the researchers contaminated the hands of 21 volunteers with high levels of a harmless bacteria several times over six months. The participants were then asked to wash their hands in 60-degree, 79-degree or 100-degree water.

The amount of soap the people used didn't affect the findings. The researchers noted that more study is needed to determine exactly how much soap and what types are best for removing potentially harmful germs.

Referring to the FDA guidelines for the food service industry, Schaffner said their findings suggest a policy change is in order.

"Instead of having a temperature requirement, the policy should only say that comfortable or warm water needs to be delivered," he said. "We are wasting energy to heat water to a level that is not necessary."

The study appears in the June issue of the Journal of Food Protection.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more on hand hygiene.