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Posted: June 01, 2017

Is it better to wash your hands in cold or hot water? 

Mike Kemp/Getty Images/Blend Images

By Najja Parker, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Do you always wash your hands in hot water? A new study suggests you can turn the heat down a notch because cleaning your hands in cold water is just as good. 

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Professors from Rutgers University-New Brunswick conducted an experiment to learn the most effective way to clean your hands. While many people assume warmer temperatures get rid of more germs, the researchers’ results proved that it’s a myth. 

Analysts gathered 20 volunteers, asking them to wash their hands, which were covered in bugs, 20 times each in 59-, 79- and 100-degree Fahrenheit water with varying amounts of soap.

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They determined that there was no difference in the number of insects removed in each of the water temperatures or amounts of soap. 

»Related: Photos: The 10 germiest items in your home 

"People need to feel comfortable when they are washing their hands but as far as effectiveness [goes], this study shows us that the temperature of the water used did not matter," researcher Donald Schaffner said.

Although the scientists noted their study was small and more research was needed, they recommend people wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, using an adequate amount of soap to cover the entire surface. 


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