Washing your hands with hot water is pointless

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

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

Researchers in New Jersey have found that handwashing with cool or cold water removes the same amount of bacteria from one's hands as handwashing with warm or hot water, as long as hands are washed thoroughly for at least ten seconds.

Scientists have poured cold water on the theory that we need to wash our hands with hot water to kill germs.

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

The findings were published in the Journal of Food Protection.

"Whether you choose the bar of soap, whether you use a plain soap or whether you use an antimicrobial soap, the most important thing is to wash your hands", says Professor Schaffner. The authors found that even washing hands for 10 seconds significantly cleared bacteria from the hands.

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.

However, further study would help to decipher what types of soap are most effective at removing harmful bacteria from hands.

When it came to the results, Professor Donald Schaffner stated that the temperature of the water used "didn't matter".

Also, using cold water comes with an energy-saving advantage, he adds.

For the study, the researchers contaminated the hands of 21 volunteers with high levels of a harmless bacteria several times over six months. Those guidelines now recommend that plumbing systems at food establishments and restaurants deliver water at 100 degrees Fahrenheit for handwashing.

And, using cold water saves more energy than warm or hot water, Schaffner pointed out. The participants were then asked to wash their hands in 60-degree, 79-degree or 100-degree water.

Antibacterial soap was more effective than ordinary soap, the study finds.

"Instead of having a temperature requirement, the policy should only say that comfortable or warm water needs to be delivered", he said.

In this study, scientists at Rutgers University-New Brunswick wanted to find out if popular assumptions about the benefits of warm or hot water and official guidance on hot water - given to the food industry in the USA - held true.

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