What's the Best Way to Get Rid of Germs And Bacteria?
Worried about germs? Lots of us are, but few of us have all the facts. To find out how much people really know, we pounded the pavement and posed a few questions.
1. In general, how long can viruses or bacteria survive on most surfaces?
A. 10 minutes.
B. One hour.
C. 2 hours.
D. 2 days.
2. Moving from your house to the workplace, which of these surfaces at a typical office is the least germy?
A. An elevator button.
B. A toilet seat.
C. A desktop?
3. To prevent the spread of germs, for how long should you wash your hands?
4. Now you know how long you should wash. But which of these tips can increase the effectiveness of hand washing?
A. Working up lots of lather.
B. Drying your hands afterwards.
C. Using antibacterial soap?
5. True or false? Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are better than plain old soap and water when it comes to killing germs.
1. The answer is c, 2 hours. Some studies have shown that bacteria and viruses can live on doorknobs, desktops and surfaces for up to two hours.
Germs in general tend to like areas that are moist, they like moisture, they like areas that are cool. And they also like areas that are dark that don't have sunlight. So those are the parts of your house where you have to be especially vigilant.
2. You may not believe this but the answer is b, a toilet seat. Researchers at the university of Arizona did a study where they looked at different surfaces and they found that the toilet seat was less contaminated. Areas that are cleaned more frequently, like toilets, tend to have less germs than things that are cleaned less frequently
Like desktops, telephones and elevator buttons, studies have looked at port-a-potties and found that they were less contaminated than picnic tables which are rarely cleaned.
3. 15-20 seconds is usually fine. That works well for most people. Since you don't usually have a stopwatch with you you can sing a song. And actually with kids it's fun to teach them to sing the ABC song or happy birthday when they wash their hands.
4. Well, sort of - drying your hands is the right answer, but your pores don't really have anything to do with it.
Germs love moisture so you want to be sure to get the moisture off your hands. But it is important to use a clean towel or a paper towel or a hand dryer.
Lathering is good but it's really the scrubbing action that gets the germs off your hands. And antibacterial soap is good but it hasn't been proven to be any more effective than regular soap and water.
5. It's true that hand sanitizers are better at killing germs and they're handy if you don't have access to soap and water. But soap and water is actually more effective at physically removing germs.
This entry last modified on: February 22, 2013 3:08 PM
About the Video
Which is less germy, a toilet seat or your office desk? How long can germs survive on surfaces? Test your knowledge of germs with our Everwell Challenge.