In Focus:

Washing Hands In Cold Water Works As Well As Hot Against Germs

Good news for anyone planning on getting their hands dirty this summer: Washing them with cold or lukewarm water will work just as well as hot water to remove bacteria, according to a new study published in the Journal of Food Protection.

In handwashing experiments with 21 volunteers, Rutgers University researchers found no significant difference in cleaning power between water that was 60, 79 or 100 degrees Fahrenheit. They also found that lathering hands for just 10 seconds was sufficient to remove germs.

Everyone in the study had high levels of a harmless strain of E. coli bacteria applied to their hands and were then asked to wash them in a variety of scenarios: using cold, warm or hot water; using between half a milliliter and 2 milliliters of soap; and washing for various lengths of time, between 5 and 40 seconds. They repeated these tests several times over six months.

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