Witness the spread…with bread


UPDATE (March 16, 2020): After a little over a week nothing has changed (aside from the “hand sanitizer” slice falling to the floor). Is Great Value brand bread the cockroach of white breads or was it too dry? I’ve added a tsp of water to each bag to test my theory that it was just too dry to grow anything in the allotted time.

UPDATE (March 23, 2020): After giving the bread a week to fester in its new moist environment, mold has appeared! Two slices have shown signs of visible growth, the dirty desk and the dirty keyboard. Let’s see what the week has in store. Check back in on the 27th for the next update:

As of March 5, 2020 we’re in the latter part of flu season, cold season and now there are concerns over the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) – people are concerned about germs! I remembered an article I saw several months ago in which a elementary school teacher used bread to show her students the importance of proper hand-washing. I thought it was time to bring the experiment to FOX21 News…with a few twists.

Armed with a fresh loaf of bread, sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer and soap I set out to grow some bacteria. First a disclaimer: I went to school to study science, so I know there are a lot of holes in this highly scientific experiment, but I think it will still perform very well overall despite non-laboratory conditions.

With freshly washed hands and a new bag to handle each slice of bread I found as much dirt as I could, and it wasn’t hard. I first bagged a control slice, I touched it only with the bag, to see how a normal slice of bread would react to a week in a bag. Our dirty handed employee (who will go unnamed) washed their hands over an hour before being coerced into touching the bread. They then used hand sanitizer and infected a new slice. A dirty desk was next – I think the slice of bread left the desk cleaner than it was before. I then cleaned the desk with sanitizing wipes and rubbed a new slice of bread on it. A dirty keyboard, door handle to enter and exit our employee entrance and a toilet seat were next. Finally I rewashed my hands thoroughly and placed the final “washed hands” slice of bread in the bag.

In the meantime one of the best ways to stay healthy is to keep these health and cleaning tips in mind:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from person to person, from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.

Follow these five steps every time:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

They also say hand sanitizer should only be used when you cannot wash with soap and water.

Use cleaning products according to their directions and read the label to see what bacteria and viruses the products may be effective against. Clean frequently used surfaces often, like desks and keyboards, to prevent the buildup of dirt and bacteria.

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