• Question: Could I kill a bacteria with my bare hands?

    Asked by R-Dog to Ceri, Marikka, Matt, Rob, Sally on 18 Nov 2014.
    • Photo: Sally Cutler

      Sally Cutler answered on 18 Nov 2014:

      No, but they will live on your hands!

    • Photo: Ceri Dare

      Ceri Dare answered on 18 Nov 2014:

      Yes – by washing your hands! This stops germs being spread.

    • Photo: Matt Bilton

      Matt Bilton answered on 18 Nov 2014:

      Actually, our skin makes bits of proteins which can kill bacteria – antimicrobial peptides! It is one way our bodies try and protect us from bacteria. So yes, technically, you can kill a bacteria with your bare hands 🙂

    • Photo: Marikka Beecroft

      Marikka Beecroft answered on 19 Nov 2014:

      Our skin has so many bacteria growing on them it also stops many other nasty bacteria from growing on them most of the time! I suppose technically you could but your bacteria could do all the dirty work for you!

    • Photo: Robert Hampson

      Robert Hampson answered on 19 Nov 2014:

      Bacteria live on your hands anyway. Your skin produces antimicrobial peptides to keep the population in check. So I suppose you do kill them with your bare hands, in a way.

      The bacteria that live there also compete with each other which prevent one bacteria becoming problematic. This is one reason that MRSA often lives on peoples skin and up their noses without causing problems.

      If you use the alcohol gel in hospitals, you could kill most of the bacteria on your hands. Bleach also successfully kills bacteria (but would also burn your hands so its not a good idea).