Report Finds That When You’re Washing Your Hands, Hot & Cold Don’t Matter

A new report from Rutgers-New Brunswick found that washing hands with cool water removes the same amount of harmful bacteria as washing hands with hot water.

Over a six-month period, 21 study participants washed their hands multiple times in 60-degree, 79-degree or 100-degree water with different amounts of soap after having high levels of harmful bacteria put on their hands.

The results: those who washed their hands in the cold water removed as much bacteria as participants washing their hands in hot water. It also found that the amount of soap used made no difference in cleanliness.

The study will be published in the June issue of The Journal of Food Protection and could affect the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines, which currently recommend food establishments and restaurants have access to 100-degree water for hand washing.

It is also expected to help conserve water energy since hot water uses more energy than cold water.

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