Teach a Glo Germ Lesson for Improved Hand Washing in Your Classroom or Organization *Intro for Ebola Prevention




About: We focus on infection control and hygiene information. We distribute Glo Germ, Glitterbug and other fluorescent materials. We also distribute black lights, infection control posters, CleanPen and other hea...

What you'll need:

Make sure to properly introduce the training so that maximum participation can be realized by the audience. The subsequent steps will walk you through the best way to conduct a Glo Germ training for better hand washing. In general, questions are very effective to get the audience engaged in the trainings. Having the right tools are most important though. Here are the basics:

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Step 1: Introduce Germ Topics and Prepare Them to Apply Simulation Germs

Use these points to help formulate your introduction:


Briefly explain to the audience about the visualization exercise they will soon witness.  Explain how fluorescent materials are not visible unless a UV light is used similar to how germs are not seen with our eyes.  Finally, describe how the fluorescent material (depending on whether you have Glo Germ Gel or Powder) will represent germs and the task is to get rid of all the “germs.”


To help stimulate a good discussion, ask the audience questions similar to:

-How do illnesses spread?

-What is an epidemic?

-Have you ever gotten sick after you have been near other sick people?

-Do you think you wash your hands well enough?

-Have you had any experiences where you have observed others not washing their hands?

-What are some of the basic steps to staying healthy and not spreading illness?

Step 2: Apply Glo Germ Gel or Powder

Apply fluorescent simulation germs to the hands of the students or employees.  Gel is similar to lotion so it is generally easier for students to apply.  Glo Germ Powder shines more brilliantly under a UV light, but it is more difficult to apply (very chalky). 

Make sure that the gel or powder is worked into the hand on palm AND back side of the hand.  You can explain that the gel or powder represents times when you get your hands dirty through coughing, sneezing, shaking hands, touching unclean things, eating and so forth.

Step 3: Use Black Light to See Simulation Germs on Students' Hands

Turn off the lights or have the students line up at the disclosure center. Turning out the lights is most fun and generally illuminates the germs better. A disclosure center is a black box device that allows the students to see the simulation germs on their hands without turning off the lights (See: http://www.outfoxprevention.com/home/handwashing-kits-with-glo-germ/disclosure-centers-for-black-lights ).

Turn on the black light

Wave the black light over the students’ hands or other applied areas (i.e. counters, doorknobs, pencils or other areas where the audiences’ hands may have touched). Explain how germs and other unclean particles are often invisible to the human eye just like the fluorescent gel/powder, but they still exist (hence they show up under the black light).

Step 4: Have the Students Wash Off Simulation Germs According to Standards

Have students wash their hands or other applied areas (i.e. counters, doorknobs, hands, or other areas where students’ hands may have touched) with soap and water.  Teach them to lather the soap good and rub for 20 seconds. 



Point out that spots on the back of their hands need to be cleaned as well.  The Glo Germ will remain on there if they did not scrub hard or long enough!  Teach the following principles:  Don’t touch the edge of the sink once the hands have been washed.  Use warm water that is not too hot or too cold.  Regular soap is recommended just as much as antibacterial soap.  Dry their hands with a pre-prepared paper towel and then turn off the sink with the paper towel.

Step 5: Test Students on Hand Washing Effectiveness and Knowledge

Once all of the students have washed their hands, attempting to remove all of the simulation germs, gather them to check their hands again with the black light. 

Turn the lights off once again or have them line up at the disclosure center.

Turn on the black light and have them show the palm and back of their hands.  Show students that, although thorough cleaning attempts are made, germs and other unclean particles remain.  The Glo Germ sticks on like germs.  So teach them to scrub right each and every time!

Mark the “Hand Washing Test” for each student so they know where to better clean their hands the next time their hands are dirty.  (Hand Washing Test found at: https://sites.google.com/a/outfoxprevention.com/www/home/events-and-charity-causes/hygieneblog/handwashingtestforbetterhygienecompliance )



Instruct them on more thorough cleaning processes.  For example, have them pay more attention to:

                -Going through a regular cleaning process

                -Spending more time washing hands and affected areas

                -Washing in and around cracks and crevices

                -Using more soap during cleaning


Step 6: Conclusion of the Glo Germ Hand Washing Training by OUTFOX Prevention

The conclusion should sum up the information that was discussed in the introduction and apply what was learned during the activity.  In addition, use this time to display evidence in order to back up what was seen during the germ simulation.  Show examples and tell stories.  The following steps will help give you ideas that will create a lasting impression in the minds of the audience.  



1.            Supplement the Glo Germ Kit training with statistics on the amount of sick days your organization or the average organization uses in a year.  What are the effects on business (operations, sales, profit, etc.) dealing with the number of absences?  What is the effect of a child’s education if he/she often is absent?



2.            Share stories that deal with illnesses.  Stories dealing with preventable illnesses (preventable if the person(s) involved maintained a clean environment) are the most effective.



3.            Relate how this training can be applied outside of the organization.  Explain how the training can be taught to their friends and family at home.  Many illness outbreaks stem from bad habits learned at home.  These bad habits are often subsequently transferred to the work and school environments.   



4.            Set up a timetable for future hygiene goals.  Help the students plan out when they will observe good hygiene principles.  Use the Program Ideas, Constructive Activities, or Simple Game Ideas to follow up effectively.  Use your Glo Germ kit for all kinds of hygiene and infection control trainings!

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    14 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I work as a Nurse Consultant for Child Care, and have done many infection control workshop for child care providers, preschool centers, and parents. This looks like a fantastic kit and I will be getting one for my workshops. I would suggest targeting public health associations, like local Public Health Departments, or send them to school district health centers/school nurses. They would know better ways to get them incorporated into classrooms. I know that school nurses have a national association and state associations, and the American Public Health Association will be having their big conference in San Francisco in October 2012.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    i like the idea need to make a video and use a diffrent why besides the glow powder mabe a yellow high lighter keep it cheap teachers dont make a lot


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Took a look at ur stuff. Really like it. Haven't seen any of it yet.

    To get the info out to infection control people do u go to the yearly APIC (Association of Practictioner's in Infection Control and Epidemiology) convention?

    Not really sure how to get it out to teachers. I'm sure they have a national convention too.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yes- We did APIC in 2011 and are planning on it for 2012. We love that show! Hope to see you there if you make it.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    LOVE Glo Germ! But I acutally had someone who was allergic to the product. Not really sure what component but did notify the company, etc. Of course this was the only one in 15 years of using it and the company had never had one reported before.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    We did this for nursing students. Our "glow germs" were in lotion form, so after everyone rubbed in the nice new hand lotion we had everyone wash (seemingly to show how water resistant the "lotion" was) but it really demonstrated how poor some people wash their hands.........for me I totally missed one thumb! Most people missed in between their fingers, or around nails.

    I think a demonstration like this should be done in first grade and every year or two after

    Thanks for the Instructable

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Great comment- thanks! You're right that between fingers and around nails have the highest (and on the backside) frequency of left germs.

    Thanks for the suggestion for schools. We have been trying to target teachers and already have quite a few using the system to teach hand washing... But do you have any ideas to get in front of them better? Teaching students early definitely starts them off right!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Years ago, when my father was teaching med students at Tulane, he did something similar. At the beginning of his lecture he put a tiny dab of the glow powder on the tip of the nose of a couple volunteers. He then gave his lecture, then at the end of the class he asked the students to come back to the front and stand under some black light. Obviously the purpose was to demonstrate how quickly and far the germs had spread... It worked much better than anticipated, to the complete humiliation of one of the male students.... Whereas most had germs spread all over their faces, hands and clothes, this poor hapless guy's crotch positively glowed. Clearly he hadn't been paying much attention to the lecture!

    2 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I am still smiling from your comment! Oh the stories I have from doing multiple trainings over the years... Not to stereotype, but the boys usually do get used as the bad examples because of their poor hygiene habits. Thanks for sharing and the laugh!