Jaralee Metcalf is an Idaho-based behavioral specialist who works in an autism unit with students in kindergarten through sixth grade.
A couple of weeks ago, she and her coworker — special education teacher Dayna Robertson — found an experiment on the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital website. It used bread to show children how many germs are on their hands. "We really wanted the kids to understand why we're constantly telling them to wash their hands," Jaralee told BuzzFeed.
For the experiment, they placed five different slices of bread in separate baggies. One bread slice was put in the baggie untouched, one was touched by kids with dirty hands, one was touched by kids who washed with soap and water, and one was touched by kids who used hand sanitizer. The last slice of bread was rubbed on the classroom Chromebooks. Mold started forming on some of the slices after a few days.
Jaralee said that, while it is gross, it was important to share. "I have an 8-month-old who has gotten sick so much since winter started. Plus, my husband and I are always getting sick too. It comes with the job to a certain extent, but hand-washing is so important in order to stay healthy. I just wanted to send out a friendly reminder to my friends to wash their hands," she explained. She posted the experiment on Facebook and it now has over 60,000 shares.
Here is the mold that formed from the Chromebooks:
Here is the untouched slice:
Here is the mold that formed from dirty hands:
Here is the bread that was touched by washed hands:
And here is what happened to the slice that was touched by kids who used hand sanitizer:
Jaralee also said it's important for parents to keep their sick kids at home. "Nothing is more frustrating than working with an obviously sick kid all day long and then potentially bringing that illness home with me. Hand-washing can only go so far," she said. And as for the students? Jaralee said they have definitely upped their hygiene habits since the experiment!