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Washing and Drying - Handling the Myths

23 June 2017 | Updated 01 January 1970

Researchers in Florida have found that there is statistically little difference whether hands  are washed in hot or cold water.

Most of us know just how important hand washing is in protecting our health. Our goal in the professional cleaning industry is to encourage everyone to wash their hands properly and frequently.

However, according to Stephen Ashkin, a green cleaning  advocate promoting sustainability, there are a few myths about hand washing we need to be aware of.


Always wash with hot water

Most of us think hot water helps kill germs and bacteria on our hands. But the reality is, the water would have to be scalding hot to make that happen. In fact, hot water may work against us. Water that is too hot may cause us to remove our hands too quickly to wash properly. Further, researchers in Florida found that there is statistically little difference whether hands are washed in hot or cold water.


Always use antibacterial soap when washing hands

Back in 2007, a study of triclosan, which was used in hand soap and is now banned in the US did not significantly reduce the number of bacteria on hands. Since then other studies have come to similar conclusions about many other antibacterial hand soaps.


You don't have to dry your hands after washing

Some people wash their hands, shake them off and then fly out the door. Drying hands helps remove any remaining microbes on hands plus it is easier for pathogens to collect on hands that are wet.


Using hand towels isn't the best way to dry hands

Correctly using a hand towel to dry hands takes about 10 seconds. Studies indicate it can take as long as 45 seconds for some electric dryers to remove moisture from hands thoroughly, far too long for most people to wait. And some studies indicate that hand dryers can spread microbes to nearby surfaces, increasing the chances of cross-contamination.

Stephen P Ashkin is co-author of both The Business of Green Cleaning and Green Cleaning for Dummies. He said: "Hand washing is like everything else, if you're going to do it (and I hope you do), you've got to do it right."

Picture: Now wash your hands



Article written by Cathryn Ellis | Published 23 June 2017


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