Wash Away Germs

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Many germs spread by our hands, and often times, people don't wash their hands well enough to get rid of germs. In this activity, learners will get their hands "dirty" with cinnamon and cooking spray, then test and compare different ways of washing their hands. While messy, this is a great model to show learners how much time is really needed to wash dirty hands. Step-by-step instructions are included with photos. Activity guide includes a "What's going on?" explanation and connections to relevant science concepts on what are germs and how we transmit them to each other. A final section includes tips on better ways to wash your hands and when you should do it.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Non-stick cooking spray or liquid cooking oil
  • Cinnamon
  • Access to a sink
  • Soap
  • Towel


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Viruses and Bacteria
      • Protists and Fungi
    • Human Body
      • Muscles and Skin


Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • DIY Science Apps


  • , The Regents of the University of California, 2015

Funding Source:

  • National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award, 5R25OD010543-02