If you’re a parent or a teacher, you probably say “wash your hands” more than any other phrase. Chances are, the kids in your life just don’t understand why hand-washing is such a big deal. Well, here’s all you need to show them.
Jaralee Metcalf, an Idaho-based behavioral specialist who works with students with autism in kindergarten through sixth grade, has helped a science experiment go viral. She and her coworker Dayna Robertson found the experiment on the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital website and thought it would be the perfect way to show kids how important it is to wash their hands.
The experiment involved putting five slices of bread in separate baggies. One bread slice was put in the baggie untouched, one was touched by kids with dirty hands, one was touched by kids who washed with soap and water, and one was touched by kids who used hand sanitizer. The last slice of bread was rubbed on the classroom laptop computers.
After a few days, mold started forming on some of the slices. The most mold by far appeared on the computer slice, followed by the slice touched by kids with dirty hands, then the slice touched by kids who used hand sanitizer.
The message is clear: Wash your hands! (Also, hand sanitizer isn’t as effective as plain old soap and water.)
Metcalf shared the experiment on her Facebook page, and it’s now been shared over 64,000 times.
“I have an 8-month-old who has gotten sick so much since winter started,” Metcalf told BuzzFeed. “Plus, my husband and I are always getting sick, too. It comes with the job to a certain extent, but hand washing is so important in order to stay healthy. I just wanted to send out a friendly reminder to my friends to wash their hands.”
She also revealed that her students were “surprised and disturbed” by the results of the experiment. And as you’d expect, they’re now a lot more committed to hand hygiene.