Why wash hands?

I always tell my kids to wash their hands…but why? We tell the kids it is important to have clean hands, but it’s hard for them to understand. With the current covid-19 situation, we’ve heard more and more about the importance of hand washing.

One of my friends had the brilliant idea to make cross contamination in the kitchen visual. So we did!! A little disclaimer; in a previous life I was a nuclear engineer. Yup, super geek here. My coworkers and I were EXPERTS (to the fullest definition of the word) at keeping cross contamination to a non-existent level. That is part of why this little experiment lit my fancy, it put me in a world I was completely comfortable in and know a ton about.

I asked the girls to make a simple sesame chicken marinade. I took care of slicing the chicken (and washing my hands afterward!) and asked them to make the marinade for me. To keep it easy, I laid out the measuring spoons they would need and told them how much of each. The twist…..they dipped their hands in paint before they started to get a visual of how gunk from their hands get passed on to everything!

They had a lot of fun measuring out all of the ingredients and mixing – as I suspected they would. They are my little helpers afterall!

I also had some hunches going in. I thought that there would be paint all over their clothes and faces. I also thought I would escape unscathed. I was wrong on both accounts! They tried to open some of the lids but needed help. That’s when I got “germy”. They did an excellent job of keeping themselves clean. Other than a sleeve that got dipped and a small splatter, their faces and clothes looked good.

Here is what the table looked like after we were done. Much to my surprise there was no paint in the marinade (or they whisked it away!), but the mixing bowl did have paint on it.

What didn’t occur to me until we were making the video was that some of those little germs can live for a long time on a surface. This means you might grab the salt shaker later and you have inadvertently cross contaminated yourself again.

I think it’s safe to say that today I helped my kids understand a little bit better the importance of washing gunk off of your hands, even if you can’t see it.

Our entire live video is here.

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