Don’t wash your hands with hot water – use cold water to save energy and water

More on saving water, from the N.Y. Times:

In its medical literature, the Food and Drug Administration states that hot water comfortable enough for washing hands is not hot enough to kill bacteria, but is more effective than cold water because it removes oils from the hand that can harbor bacteria.

But in a 2005 report in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine…(subjects) were instructed to wash and rinse with soap for 25 seconds using water with temperatures ranging from 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees, the various temperatures had “no effect on transient or resident bacterial reduction.”

 

How does this save water? There is no need to run the faucet until the hot water comes, avoiding all that wasted water, and by using cold water you save the energy needed to heat the water.

I’ve long thought that washing my hands with soap and cold water does the job. The same for washing dishes. Strange that for most of my life I thought hot water was absolutely necessary. I looked on the CDC and Mayo Clinic websites and found nothing. One says use cold or warm water and the other says nothing at all.

This means that switching over to cold water with soap is a reasonable step if you’re looking to conserve water and energy. Of course, you can still use warm water, but I find I don’t really need it. In the end, my goal is to live a Zero Waste, low-carbon lifestyle and this is one small step in that direction.

 

Tell your kids it’s okay to use cold water with soap! (image: woodleywonderworks)

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