Viral Black Light Photo Proves Importance Of Thorough Hand-Washing

Woman washing her hands
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Even Kristen Bell is sharing this viral black light photo that proves how important hand-washing really is

Okay, okay, Kristen Bell isn’t actually saying your hands are filthy. She wouldn’t do that; she’s lovely. But her loveliness is precisely why she really does want everyone to properly scrub their hands amid this whole coronavirus outbreak (you’ve probably heard a thing or two about it recently, yeah?).

As paranoia over the novel coronavirus grows, the CDC keeps underscoring a basic but fundamental component of minimizing the spread of infectious diseases: wash your hands. Still, judging by the number of face-mask-selfies flooding social media at the moment, it would seem people are still dubious hand-washing is an effective tool.

Enter, this viral blacklight photo shared by Bell. Taking to Instagram on Tuesday, she shared six photos of a hand beneath the signature glow of a blacklight. The first photo is labeled “before washing,” while the others capture increments of hand-washing time up to “30 seconds with soap.” And, let’s just say, wowza.

“My mom sent me the handwashing blacklight comparison,” The Good Place star captioned the series of snapshots, adding with emphasis, “30 SECONDS WITH SOAP YALL!!!”

Why is Bell scream-typing at all of us? Well, because the blacklights make it abundantly clear that hand washing is, in fact, a highly effective tool in banishing germs and bacteria. While the “before washing” hand photo lights up like Clark Griswold’s house at Christmas, that telling glow — which shows areas of the hand that effectively haven’t been cleaned fully — diminishes sequentially. After 30 seconds of hand-washing with soap, it basically doesn’t glow at all anymore.

You might be thinking, duh, everyone knows to wash their hands. However, as this little experiment proves, there’s a big difference between washing your hands and truly washing them to the standards recommended by the CDC. A recent risk analysis study performed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) makes several solid points about the latter.

First, it’s noted that both the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) consider hand hygiene to be the most efficient and cost-effective way to minimize the propagation of infectious diseases. Someone (maybe Bell?) should definitely tell that to the 30 percent of the population who admitted to the study they don’t wash their hands with soap regularly.

Is anyone else having flashbacks to that genius bread experiment that likewise illustrates the importance of handwashing?

Having said all of that, 30 seconds with soap under warm water might as well be an eternity when you have little ones. Kids certainly aren’t inclined to spend any more time washing their hands than is absolutely necessary. Since this is necessary, though, you’ll have to find a way to make it fun for them.

Fortunately, there’s another coronavirus post going viral that deals with just that! Thanks to good people of Twitter, there’s no shortage of suggestions for songs to sing during a proper handwashing sesh. From Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” to the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” (which, bonus, also provides a good cadence for CPR), these tracks will help you easily hit the 30-second mark for getting your hands squeaky clean.

And if you really want to double-check your hand-washing skills, you can replicate Bell’s blacklight hand-washing experiment with specialty hand soap like Glo Germ.