NSF Scrub Club
December 15, 2004

Greta Houlahan
NSF International
Phone: (734) 913-5723

Rebecca Herbst
Tel: (612) 215-9828

Test Your Germ Knowledge
Take the following quiz to test your germ and handwashing knowledge to help keep your family healthy and out of the doctor's office.

1. How long do germs stay alive on surfaces?
a. 1 minute
b. 10 minutes
c. 2 hours
d. 5 hours

Answer: (c) 2 hours. Some viruses and bacteria can live from 20 minutes to up to 2 hours on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks. (

2. How long should you lather your hands with soap to eliminate germs effectively?
a. 5 seconds
b. 20 seconds
c. 1 minute
d. None - most germs rinse off with warm water alone.

Answer: (b) 20 seconds. Getting hands wet isn't enough to kill germs. Use soap and rub your hands together, paying special attention to the areas around your finger nails, for at least 20 seconds before rinsing (about as long as it takes to sing  the Scrub Club® handwashing song together). To help kids learn the proper way to wash their hands in a fun and entertaining way, visit to play educational games, listen to the handwashing song (sung by Phil Solem of the Rembrandts) and download activities.

3. What is an easy, effective activity that you can do to keep from getting sick?
a. Handwashing
b. Sleeping
c. Exercising
d. Eating a balanced diet

Answer: (a) handwashing.  While all of these activities are good habits, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the single most important thing that you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands. (

4. How many school days are lost annually due to the common cold?
a. 22 million
b. 5 million
c. 50 million
d. 10 million

Answer: (a) 22 million. According to the CDC, nearly 22 million school days are lost annually due to the common cold alone. Approximately 164 million days are lost total due to illness.

5. How are germs and infectious diseases most commonly spread?
a. From droplets in sneezes and coughs
b. Indirect contact by sharing toys, touching doorknobs or other items
c. Food contamination
d. All of the above

Answer: (d) All of the above. Infections can be spread through person-to-person contact or simply from being in the same room. Proper hygiene, including covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze, washing your hands often and cleaning and sanitizing food preparation areas all help stop the spread of infectious diseases and foodborne illnesses. (

6. After handling raw meat, what is a sufficient way to clean your hands?
a. Wipe hands on a wet towel
b. Rinse under hot, cold or warm water
c. Wash them with soap and warm water
d. Any of the above

Answer: (c) Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food, especially raw meat. Improper washing, such as using a damp cloth or without soap will not remove bacteria from your hands.

7. What percentage of Americans don't wash their hands when leaving the restroom?
a. 12 percent
b. 27 percent
c. 33 percent
d. 58 percent

Answer: (c) 33 percent. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about one in three people don't wash their hands after using the restroom. To learn the six steps to proper handwashing, visit, an interactive web site designed to teach children, parents and educators about the importance of proper handwashing.

8. Where do the most germs typically lurk in the kitchen?
a. Countertops
b. Sponge or dishcloth
c. Cutting board
d. Refrigerator door handle

Answer: (b) Sponge or dishcloth. In a study conducted by the University of Arizona, the average-sized sponge had more than 7 billion bacteria. Countertops, cutting boards and refrigerator door handles should all be cleaned regularly with hot water and a disinfectant cleaner or a mixture of bleach and water.

About NSF International:
NSF International, an independent, not-for-profit organization, helps protect you by certifying products and writing standards for food, water, air and consumer goods ( Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting public health and safety worldwide.  NSF is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment. Additional services include safety audits for the food and water industries, management systems registrations delivered through NSF International Strategic Registrations, Ltd., organic certification provided by Quality Assurance International and education through the NSF Center for Public Health Education.



Scrub Club® and Scrub Club characters are copyright 2007 NSF International.
"BAC" character copyright 2006 The Partnership for Food Safety Education.

Please distribute Scrub Club® materials freely in classrooms, publications, etc.,
provided that credit is given to NSF International.