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A Teacher Did an Experiment to Show the Power of Handwashing, and You Can’t Stay Unimpressed

They say a picture is worth a thousand words…well you’re going to appreciate that in this amazing example — especially when you are trying to teach a valuable lesson to children.

Recently on Facebook, Jaralee Annice Metcalf, a teacher from Idaho, decided to teach her young students a valuable lesson on the importance of properly washing their hands. And now the whole world has taken notice!

At Wise Owl Remedies we were so impressed by how simple this project was, that we couldn’t hold back from sharing it with you!

Power of Handwashing
© Treddy Chen / unsplash ©

Right when winter started, just when flu season had begun, a crafty teacher from Idaho Falls Elementary School, Jaralee Metcalf, was getting ‘sick and tired’ of always being ‘sick and tired’!

Although she can’t stop the spread of bacteria in her class was, she wanted to show the kids why it’s so important to wash their hands in order to kill the bad germs.

The Point of Her Experiment

handwashing experiment
© Jaralee Annice Metcalf / Facebook

To properly illustrate how bacteria can spread and why it’s so important to wash your hands well, (and often) Jaralee came up with a simple classroom activity for her classroom.

To start the experiment, she asked several of her students (with different levels of hand cleanliness) to touch 5 pieces of white bread that were cut from the same loaf, at the exact same time. Then she simply place each loaf of bread in an individual ziplock bag to see what would happen over the next 30 days.

Steps of Her Project

Jaralee Annice Metcalf handwashing experiment steps
© Jaralee Annice Metcalf / facebook

“We took fresh bread and touched it.” — Jaralee Metcalf explains in her Facebook post that’s been shared over 70 thousand times!

The 1st piece of bread was rubbed on all over the classroom laptops. The 2nd piece of bread was the “control piece”; it wasn’t touched at all and it was placed in a ziplock bag and labeled “Fresh and Untouched.”

The 3rd piece of bread was touched by all the students in her classroom with unwashed hands. The 4th piece of bread was also touched by the entire class but only after they washed their hands with warm water and soap. Lastly for the 5th piece of bread, the entire class used hand sanitizer to clean their hands just before they all touched the bread.

And after 30 days the results are in!

1st Piece of Bread Wiped on Classroom Laptops

1 slice of bread wiped on Chromebook
© Jaralee Annice Metcalf / Facebook

Exactly 30 days later the laptop-rubbed slice of bread looked the the worst compare to all the other specimens. The teacher did want to mention that at their school they do sanitize their classroom laptops, however they didn’t obviously do it for this classroom experiment.

Amazing Effect of Washing With Soap & Warm Water

The Effect of Washing Hands With Soap and Warm Water
© Jaralee Annice Metcalf / Facebook

Amazingly the only slice of bread that didn’t have any bacteria on it was the 4th piece of bread! It was the only piece of bread that was touched baby the entire classroom but only after they washed their hands with warm water and soap. A great lesson why we should wash our hands often!

The 2nd slice of bread that was untouched was as you would expect it to be.

The “Unwashed Hands” Slice of Bread

Jaralee Annice Metcalf - The dirty hands slice of bread
© Jaralee Annice Metcalf / Facebook

The 3rd piece of bread that was touched by all the students in her classroom with unwashed hands was coated in disgusting mold growths after the 30 day period!

The “Hand Sanitizer” Slice of Bread

Jaralee Annice Metcalf - The “Hand Sanitizer” Slice of Bread
© Jaralee Annice Metcalf / Facebook

What’s shocked us the mist as seeing the results from 5th slide of bread (the “hand sanitizer” slice) which turned out to have a ton of bacteria! I thought hand sanitizer killed 100% of all the germs on your hand…obviously not!

Once their teacher, Jaralee shared the results of her “Handwashing” experiment on Facebook to teach families the importance of handwashing, as you can imagine her post went viral!

We Want to Hear from You

The hand sanitizer slice really shocked us…how about you? How do you teach your kids that they need to wash their hands properly? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Written by Cary Byrd

Cary Byrd, owner of is on a mission to help people feel better using natural remedies and making wise choices into healthier lives, they love (and truly desire).