There’s a Good Chance You’re Hand-Washing Your Dishes with Water That’s Too Hot
Even food safety experts agree that your hands have had enough.
When it comes to hand-washing dishes, conventional wisdom has it that the hotter the water, the better. How else are you going to kill those nasty germs, right?
Sorry y’all, but it turns out that we’ve been scalding our hands for naught.
The Kitchn spoke with Ben Chapman, PhD, a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University, who set the record straight on hand-washing dishes and water temperature. Warning: your hands won’t be happy to hear what’s coming next.
According to Chapman, when you’re hand-washing dishes in the sink, “temperature of water isn’t really a factor until above 135 which is way, way, way too hot for anyone’s hand.”
“The water doesn’t even have to be hot,” he continued. “Just warm enough to loosen grease or food attached to the plate.” How warm is warm enough, you ask? As cool as 80 degrees. So, subjecting your hands to anything hotter that is ineffective and unnecessary.
Surprisingly, drying is actually much more important than the temperature of the water. Why? Bacteria thrives in wetness. Drying your dishes is “going to kill another 90 percent of whatever is left [after washing],” Chapman told The Kitchn.
To ensure complete sanitization of your dishes, nothing can compete with a dishwasher, which, after dousing them with water between 140- and 145-degrees Fahrenheit, also dries them completely.
So, give those poor hands a break, OK?