Happy Birthday to you.

Have you ever learned the birthday song as a way to get your hands clean? That’s one of the tricks that is now being taught to children all over, giving them the skills they need to have clean hands and wash away harmful bacteria. Lather up and scrub your hands while you sing happy birthday, and you will have done your part to prevent the spread of germs.

That keeps you scrubbing, but what temperature water should you be scrubbing in?

Should You Use Hot Water For Handwashing?

Common sense says hot water. But as humans, we can’t take water at a hot enough temperature to truly do any good. You see, major medical equipment is cleaned at a boiling temperature in order for sterilization. But if you washed your hands in water hot enough for sterilization, well, you probably wouldn’t be able to feel your hands. They would be red and blistered and would make you take an emergency trip to the ER.

So the next best thing to hot water is warm water, right? Think again.

Warm water actually makes you more vulnerable to germs and bacteria. It softens your hands and allows the germs to settle in rather than wash away.

Cold water is the solution. Cold water allows you both to save energy from not having to heat the water, and it allows the soap and the scrubbing to do their jobs more effectively.

With every handwashing you do, by letting the water run for seconds, even minutes to heat up, you are sending valuable resources down the drain. And it makes you more vulnerable to germs and bacteria. Small actions make big differences. So why not change your handwashing routine today.