An investigation into the best way to wash hands to reduce the risk of food poisoning. Hands washed thoroughly with soap have a significantly reduced number of bacteria. Every year up to four and a half million people in the UK suffer with food poisoning caused by unseen microbes. The number of microbes can be reduced by washing hands but is this enough in the food industry? Does it matter how you wash your hands? These questions are explored through some fair tests. At the start of the test the bacteria or microbes are invisible. Twenty four hours later it is possible to see the bacteria on the incubated test plates. The testing proves there is a significant difference between the number of bacteria carried on quickly washed hands and the number carried on thoroughly washed hands.

First broadcast:
5 March 2008

As part of a study on microorganisms, this clip can be used to reinforce the importance of washing hands before eating or cooking. Before watching the clip, place UV cream on one child's hands to show the presence of bacteria. Demonstrate how easily the bacteria spreads from surface to surface by asking the child to shake hands with others and highlighting the evidence with a UV lamp. Challenge the children to think of ways to get rid of the bacteria and allow them to make suggestions. After watching the clip, pupils could similarly wash their hands quickly and thoroughly and observe the results. This activity could be extended to include the use of water, water and soap, water and antibacterial soap and soap as a fair test to determine the best conditions for fighting bacteria. Pupils could be asked to design a poster for their school toilets to encourage thorough handwashing.