This teacher’s disgusting experiment proves why you should always wash your hands

We all know that washing our hands often and thoroughly is important. But even before the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) how many of us actually washed our hands as much as we should? One teacher wanted her class to see the negative effects unclean hands can have, so she came up with a disgusting germ experiment using slices of bread.

Donna Gill Allen teaches Health Occupation at Cape Fear High School in Fayetteville, so she knows a thing or two about the potency of germs. To show said potency, she and her class removed three slices of bread from the bag from which they came—one slice they removed while wearing gloves (the “control”), the second they removed with freshly washed hands, and the third they removed and passed around to all the students in the class.

Each slice was placed into a separate baggy and left to sit for a few days.

“Watch how the bread changes over time due to germs,” Allen wrote in her viral 2017 Facebook post showing the experiment’s results. “It is so cool and a great way to teach the importance of hand washing.”


Clearly, the slice that was passed around the class developed some serious issues whereas the “control” slice and “clean hands” slice look fresh enough to eat. Shocked Facebook users shared Allen’s post almost 75,000 times to spread the word.

If that “dirty” slice doesn’t make you want to wash your hands right now then please don’t come near us with those paws of yours! But seriously.

Allen’s experiment provides the CDC’s well-known statistics on hand-washing with a clear visual. The CDC reports that researchers in London found that if everyone routinely washed their hands, “a million deaths a year could be prevented.”

A million deaths could be prevented. Get thee to a sink, people—and use soap!

Any time you’re thinking about skipping the sink, just remember that “dirty hands” bread slice. Thanks to Allen’s disgusting experiment, we’ll be taking part in our hand-washing ritual a lot more often, especially during these uncertain times. It’s one easy way to help us all stay healthy.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, HelloGiggles is committed to providing accurate and helpful coverage to our readers. As such, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, we encourage you to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments, and visit our coronavirus hub.