"Bread experiment" will help to teach children to wash their hands




It can be difficult for parents, caregivers and teachers to teach children to follow the basic rule of hygiene - to wash their hands.


Bread experiment for kids.
Bread experiment for kids.


Perhaps, when a child sees dirt on his fingers, he will wash them. But if his hands seem to be clean visually, he may decide that it is not necessary to wash them once again.

Of course, it is not so easy for a child to understand what viruses and microbes are and what dangers they can pose to health.

Dayna Robertson and Jaralee Metcalf, both of whom work in the elementary school of the state of Idaho, USA, offered an original solution to this urgent problem.


On Facebook, Metcalf talked about a simple experiment conducted with third-grade students.



On the left is a slice of bread used to wipe laptops. On the right is a slice that children touched with dirty hands.
On the left is a slice of bread used to wipe laptops. On the right is a slice that children touched with dirty hands. Bread experiment for kids.



Slices of fresh white bread were used for the experiment.

One of the slices went to students with unwashed hands, the second to students whose hands were treated with sanitizer, and the third to students who washed their hands with soap.



  1. All the children had to do was touch the slices, after which each sample was sealed in an airtight plastic bag.
  2. With another slice of bread, the students "wiped" the school laptops, and then he went in a separate bag.
  3. The "control group" was a slice of bread, which nobody touched (you can put it in the bag with pliers or turn the bag inside out).
  4. For three or four weeks the children followed the changes that occurred to the bread.

Oddly enough, the slice touched by children who disinfected their hands was in worse condition than the slice touched by students who washed their hands with soap. This suggests that a hand sanitizer does not in itself replace a standard hand wash. 


  • By the way, it was proved that alcohol-based antimicrobial will not protect the body from superbugs.


On the left is a slice of bread that the children touched after hand disinfection. On the right is a slice that was touched by students who washed their hands with soap.
On the left is a slice of bread that the children touched after hand disinfection. On the right is a slice that was touched by students who washed their hands with soap. Bread experiment for kids.


As might be expected, the slice that no one touched was in the best shape.



A "control" slice of bread that no one has touched.

A "control" slice of bread that no one has touched. Bread experiment for kids.


What experiment can you do at home?

According to Dina Robertson, after the "bread experiment" the children began to take a closer look at hygiene and realized that the disinfectant would not protect them from the terrible bacteria, and the most effective protection is washing your hands with soap and water.

It is important that any parent can repeat such an experiment with his child at home (such experiments are especially relevant in the flu and cold seasons).

What experiment can you do at school?

As for teachers and educators, they will have to coordinate the conduct of such an experiment with their superiors, since in some schools and kindergartens certain rules may apply regarding the cultivation of "microbial farms." (Hermetically sealed packages do not release any pathogens into the external environment, however, it is important that children cannot reach them without the supervision of teachers.)

Note that the publication describing the "bread experiment" on the Web quickly became viral and received user approval.

Detailed instructions for conducting this experiment can be found on the website of the Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan.



Bread experiment for kids recommendations

By the way, scientists recommend using bread from a bakery or a home-made bun. The fact is that a large number of preservatives in purchased bread can affect the results of the experiment.

Epidemiologists also noted that not only children but also adults should not forget to wash their hands before, during and after cooking.

In addition, you must wash your hands before eating, after visiting the restroom, after contact with animals , after blowing your nose and, of course, in cases where visible impurities appear on the hands.

According to experts, to protect yourself from pathogens, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.

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