A Disgusting Moldy Bread Experiment That Shows the Importance of Washing Hands With Soap and Water

In 2014, pre-kindergarten teacher Courtney Lee Simpson showed the kids in her class the importance of handwashing with a rather overt experiment involving pieces of bread.

More recently, Jaralee Ann Metcalfe, a behavior specialist at Discovery Elementary School in Idaho Falls, Idaho conducted a very similar experiment at the wake of flu season. Metcalfe’s experiment also included hand sanitizer and school computers.

Like the previous experiment, the first bag was the control sample – a plain piece of bread. The second bag contained a piece of bread handled by children with dirty hands, which grew a great deal of mold. The bread in the third bag showed very little reaction from hands washed with soap and water. The fourth bag contained bread handled by those who used hand sanitizer and the fifth bag held a piece of bread with rather appalling amount of mold that had been rubbed onto the school computers.

The results are alarming, particularly regarding hand sanitizers and shared computers. Metcalfe explained that the computers are normally sanitized, but went uncleaned that day due to the experiment.

This experiment can be recreated very easily with instructions by Camp Little Victors at CS Mott Hospital in Michigan.

After spending some time at the playground, soccer field, or in the backyard, it can be easy to see the dirt on our hands. What you can’t see are the invisible-to-your-eye germs that accumulate on your hands throughout the day. To help kids see the effect those germs have, give this eye-opening experiment a try.