Effective Handwashing Does Not Require Hot Water

GETTY- STOCK IMAGEBut whichever temperature and soap you use you have to was your hands for at least 10 seconds

The findings are in line with United Kingdom and worldwide advice that washing your hands with soap in either warm or cold water amounts to good protection from food poisoning, colds and flu.

MORE: What Is the Right Way to Wash Your Hands?

"If you think about how many different things you do with your hands and how many different places they may visit in any given day - even if your hands look clean, they are covered in microorganisms or germs, some of which are harmless while others can carry infection and disease", says Culbert.

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

The washed their hands for ten seconds at a time in water at 15.5, 26 and 38°C (60, 79 or 100℉) using varying amounts of soap.

The amount of soap used did not affect the results, but the researchers believe that more research could be useful to establish the optimal type and amount of soap that reduces bacterial loads.

Researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey concluded that repeatedly washing your hands in hot water can damage the skin, making it harder to remove germs and possibly letting more in.

According to the researchers, there was no significant difference in the amount of bugs removed from the hands as the water temperature or the volume of soap changed.

The study took place over a six-month period.

Co-author Donald Schaffner, a professor of food science, said: ‘People need to feel comfortable when they are washing their hands but as far as effectiveness, this study shows the temperature of the water used didn't matter'.

And they also found only small benefits from using an anti-bacterial formula compared with an ordinary bar of soap.

Dr Lisa Ackerley, a food safety adviser for the British Hospitality Association, said: "Warm water is good as it helps the soap to lather and it's the action of washing soap off which helps to get hands clean".

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that plumbing systems at food establishments and restaurants provide water at 100º F for washing hands.

"The literature on hand washing includes a tremendous amount of misinformation, and data on many issues are missing", they wrote in the new study.

"It's an interesting piece of information in the overall study of hand washing", he says. The authors of the study hope that the agency will revise water temperature policy at that time to avoid so much wasted energy on hot water usage.

'We are wasting energy to heat water to a level that is not necessary'.

Antibacterial soaps were banned in the United States previous year after claims they do "more harm than good".

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