Why you don’t need to kill germs on hands – just wash them off…

Why you don’t need to kill germs on hands – just wash them off…

The “best” and “easiest” way to remove germs is with soap and water

An excellent article sprang into life, inspired by a simple question from a four year old girl. Claire asked “Why do we need soap?” The answer, published on The Conversation website is well worth reading…

The response, published as part of the splendid Curious Kids series of articles came from Mary-Louise McLaws, Professor of Epidemiology Healthcare Infection and Infectious Diseases Control, UNSW.

Soap has a fun element to it of course, wrote Professor McLaws – it sometimes smells pleasant and you can blow bubbles with it. But crucially, “…it also keeps you healthy because it makes it easy for us to remove germs.”

Removing pathogens by washing

There are good and bad germs, she explained: the latter or pathogens can cause illnesses. We can’t see them because they’re too small. But her advice was clear.

“The best and easiest way to remove bad germs is washing them away with soap.”

Professor McLaws advised that hand washing should always take place when you’ve been to the toilet, after blowing your nose, before helping prepare food and before eating.

And the object of the exercise – perhaps surprisingly to some – is that the aim is not to actually kill the harmful germs at all.

“If you’re not a nurse or a doctor you don’t need to “kill” all the germs on your hands. You just need to wash the germs away. Soap is amazingly good at doing this.”

Curious Kids: why do we need soap? »

How to wash your hands

Here’s TEAL’s fun video, showing you how to undertake a really effective hand wash. Teach it to the kids!


Free downloadable handwashing themed resources for preschool and nursery children

Here’s the link to the PDF documents that will help to educate and entertain the children in your care: they all have a hand washing theme. They are free to use and distribute for everyone. Have fun!

Teach hand washing to children – it’s the most important lesson they can ever learn!

Hand washing is the most important lesson a child can learn and acquiring it is an essential lifelong skill. A Kiddiwash Xtra or KiddiSynk portable hand washing sink can be positioned right next to the sand pit – helping to ensure that children dramatically reduce the risk of infection as they finish play.

The Kiddiwash range of warm water hand wash units are perfect for smaller hands – and are ideal where a portable solution is required.

Whether you require a larger wheeled unit such as the KiddiSynk, or the ultra portable Kiddiwash Xtra, you can ensure that all children in your care are able to wash their hands whether inside or out.