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Water Temperature: Comfort drives compliance.

Jim Mann's picture

Today's quality handsoaps are like the "cold water" laundry products. They are very effective at low wash temperatures, thus protecting our epidermal fabric, the skin.

User comfort, guides and encourages frequent handwashing. Some operators and regulators encourage, even demand, handwashing at the top of the comfort range, 110F. A temperature range of 85-105F, matched with a quality handsoap, is less drying to the skin. Healthy skin is easier to clean and encourages more frequent washing.


  1. colin k. thacker
    2004-10-25 @ 12:10:40 pm
    please specify some quality soaps and are there some that are not adequate?
  2. Kyle Clemens
    2004-10-25 @ 4:10:07 pm
    I agree that requiring water at the top end of the range can discourage good handwashing;experienced that today myself. But,on the other hand (no pun intended), water that is too cool can have the same effect.
  3. Pete Giesen
    2004-10-27 @ 3:10:28 pm
    I agree that good soap is a must, and should contain a moisturizer as people won't want to wash their hands if they are dry and cracked.
  4. Paul Allwood
    2004-11-1 @ 12:11:57 pm
    I tend to agree with the premise that appropriate detergent and a comfortable water temperature will improve handwashing rates. However, I'm really curious about the relative importance of variations within the allowable temp range on handwashing compliance.
  5. Dale Nagata
    2004-11-8 @ 7:11:04 pm
    If hands is a food contact surface shouldn't it be treated as any other food contact surface that requires cleaning. The food code requires that the wash water be 110F. So hands needed to treated the same. If 110F is too hot then we must also lower the wash water temperature.
  6. Jim Mann
    2004-11-10 @ 7:11:41 am
    The physical characteristics of a healthy hand make it easier to keep clean. Washing with water between 95F and 105F avoids excessive drying and cracking of the skin. The body also generates heat, including from the friction involved. There is very little water required for effective handwashing as the surfactants and friction release the soil. The 110F requirement for cleaning inanimate surfaces takes into consideration the immediate heat loss to the surface being cleaned. Please remember to rinse thoroughly as much of the skin degradation can be attributed to poorly rinsed hands.

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