White Bread Mold Experiment Teaches the Importance of Washing Hands

An elementary school teacher used an experiment with white bread to show how important is to wash your hands.

Flu season is around the corner and Jaralee Metcalf, a behavioral specialist who works with autistic students in elementary school wanted to teach the importance of washing hands to stave off the influenza virus.

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The experiment goes viral on social media 

Little did he know the science experiment he used to send the message would go viral. 

Using an experiment he found on the website of C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, Metcalf took five slices of white bread and placed them in separate sandwich bags. One was placed in the bag untouched, while the second one was touched by children who didn't wash their hands. The third was touched by hands washed with soap and water and the fourth with hand sanitizer. The fifth piece of bread was rubbed over the students' Chrome books. 

The bags were labeled and prominently displayed on the wall. The students' job was to track how quickly mold show up on the bread. Metcalf posted his results on Facebook for the world to see. The mold started forming right away with the Chromebook by far having the most mold. 

Mold Bread Experiment
Results of the mold bread experiment.  Source: Jaralee Metcalf. 
White Bread Mold Experiment Teaches the Importance of Washing Hands
Chromebook mold results after 3-4 weeks. Source: Jaralee Metcalf

Dirty hands weren't much better than the Chromebook in terms of the amount of mold it caused. 

White Bread Mold Experiment Teaches the Importance of Washing Hands
Dirty hands were only a little better than the Chromebooks. Source: Jaralee Metcalf 

While hand sanitizer helped, it did do as well as one would have thought in fighting mold. 

White Bread Mold Experiment Teaches the Importance of Washing Hands
Hand Sanitizer fails to fight mold. Source: Jaralee Metcalf

Turns out good old soap and water does the trick. There was little in the way of mold when clean hands touched the bread. 

White Bread Mold Experiment Teaches the Importance of Washing Hands
Mold is much less when clean hands touch it. Source: Jaralee Metcalf 

"As somebody who is sick and tired of being sick and tired of being sick and tired. Wash your hands! Remind your kids to wash their hands! And hand sanitizer is not an alternative to washing hands!! At all!." wrote Metcalf in his Facebook post

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