Some of us would keep a bottle of hand sanitiser in our bags so we could clean our hands on the go. While hand sanitisers are usually marketed to kill germs because of its alcoholic content, we aren’t completely sure if they’ll REALLY do their job as advertised.
Therefore, Jaralee Annice Metcalf, an elementary school teacher from Idaho, United States, carried out a small experiment to compare the effectiveness between hand sanitiser and good ‘ol soap and water. The simple experiment was done with five pieces of plain white bread, and the results clearly showed how soap and water were the only effective way to keep our hands clean.
Jaralee asked all her students to touch Bread #3 with dirty, unwashed hands, Bread #4 with clean hands washed with warm water and soap, and Bread #5 with hands cleaned with hand sanitiser. And she decided to wipe Bread #1 on all the laptops in her class to prove laptops are really full of germs, implying how laptops can be one of the biggest sources of children’s flu.
In a Facebook post that shared Jaralee’s experiment, Bread #2 that’s “fresh and untouched” actually meant untouched bread from the same bag of bread used on that day. All the bread were transferred into ziplock bags and sealed air-tight. Jaralee and her class collected the results 3-4 weeks post-experiment because of the preservatives in the bread.
As you can see, Bread #4 (touched with hands washed with soap and warm water) had little to no mould, while Bread #5 (touched with hands cleaned with hand sanitiser) cultivated a patch of disgusting mould! Although the size of the mould was smaller compared to the other pieces of “dirty” bread, it clearly showed that hand sanitisers don’t work 100%!
The reason why Jaralee carried out this science project was to show everyone (and her students) the importance of washing hands with soap and water. Also, flu season was starting, so it was the right time to remind her kids to wash their hands regularly. She also mentioned that the laptops in her class are usually sanitised, but they skipped sanitising that day for the sake of this experiment.
It’s pretty simple and clear that we should always wash our hands properly to prevent the spreading of contagious diseases.
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