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Demonstrate the sticking power of germs and the necessity of good hand washing techniques! These experiments use Glo Germ™ gel, Glo Germ™ powder, and a blacklight. The Glo Germ™ products simulate the behavior of real germs, so you can see how they spread.
Watch our Glo Germ™ video and then try the experiments below:
Is the Glo Germ™ gel all gone? Which water temperature seemed to work best? (Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after the experiment is finished.)
Here's another experiment you can try, but you'll need two people to help you. Have one person use a timer to time the other two, who will be washing their hands.
Whose hands show the most germs? Based on the other projects, what does this tell you about the importance of soap for removing germs?
To test different hand soaps and see what affect antibacterial soap has on the Glo Germs (which simulate actual germs), you will need at least three kinds of soaps to compare. Try bar hand soap and several kinds of liquid hand soap (with lotion and without, antibacterial, and even a natural or organic liquid soap if you wish).
What were the results? Did you predict which soap would work the best, and was your prediction correct? Why do you think that particular soap worked best?
To show the way bacteria spreads by cross-contamination, use an unwashed head of lettuce and the bottle of Glo Germ™ powder to thoroughly coat the lettuce in 'germs.''
There are little spots of glowing germs all over the objects you used to make the salad, spread from your hands and the lettuce. Not only is it important to wash your hands, it is important to wash fruits and vegetables carefully. Be sure to throw away the lettuce after the demonstration is done, and clean the entire area thoroughly with soap and water. If you do not want to do this experiment with a whole head of lettuce, try just a few leaves, or cut half a head. The experiment will still work using less lettuce; it just won't be as dramatic.
Another experiment you can do with the simulated germ powder is to cut up a piece of fruit. Try cutting up a mango, apple, or pear. (Note: Make sure you have adult supervision!)
Where can you see spots of Glo Germ™? On the cutting board, the knife, and the fruit? How can this spread diseases? If someone did not properly wash fruits and vegetables, which touch kitchen utensils or other food, bacteria can spread. This is one way that food poisoning can happen. It is also very important to handle raw meat carefully. Never let meat drip blood on fruits or vegetables nearby. By keeping the kitchen clean and handling food properly, germs and disease can be limited.
See the behavior of germs on surfaces like a countertop, table, or cutting board.
Look at the surface of the countertop again. Does it still glow? Now, use plenty of soap and water to clean off the surface. It is always important to use soap and water or another cleaner, not just wipe off a surface you are trying to clean, to thoroughly remove germs.