What Kills Germs When Washing Hands?

Posted by RAIL19 on Aug 14th 2020

What Kills Germs When Washing Hands?

What Kills The Germs On Your Hands When Washing?

We’re all well-aware that washing your hands is critical to keeping ourselves and those around use healthy and safe from not only coronavirus, but other bacteria and viruses like the flu, Salmonella, food poisoning and E. coli 0157.

How exactly does this work, though? Is it the temperature of the water you use or the type of soap? Or is it something else?

If you don’t know what gets rid of the germs on your hands, you may be unknowingly washing your hands improperly — and not killing as many germs as a result. We've outlines some the most important factors when it comes to killing germs through hand washing. 

Water Temperature

You’d think that hot water would be most effective at killing germs — after all, we cook raw food to remove harmful bacteria — but that’s not the case, according to the CDC.

Water serves only to physically remove bacteria and viruses from the skin. Hot water can hurt your hands without removing any extra bacteria, so stick to warm or cold.

Of course, water alone does not remove everything from your hands. For that, you’ll need soap.

Soap Type

Believe it or not, your hand soap does not kill germs. It instead supplements water to remove more organisms from your skin.

Chemically, the soap loosens germ-containing particles on the skin and then dissolves them in water, making them much easier to remove.

On top of that, soap encourages you change your washing behavior — you wash your hands longer to get the soap off, removing even more harmful microbes.

Now, many hand soaps nowadays contain antibacterial additives, yet even these soaps are barely more effective at killing bacteria.

Dry Your Hands Thoroughly

According to the CDC, wet hands can spread disease more easily than dry hands. Make sure that you dry your hands thoroughly with a clean towel or an air dryer every time.

The 20 Second Rule

This is the golden rule when it comes to washing your hands. It's recommended to wash for a full 20 seconds washing between fingers, backs of hands and nails. Need help passing the time? Sing happy birthday or your ABCs!

Recently Viewed