De Montfort University, Leicester (DMU) is planning to make a splash on Global Handwashing Day 2024 by attempting to break the world record for the largest number of children washing their hands simultaneously.

The ‘Germ Busting Washathon’ is set to take place on October 15, 2024. It aims to bring together school children from across the country to take part in an online hand washing lesson at the same time, in hope of setting a new record and raise awareness about the importance of hand hygiene in preventing infectious disease.

The record-breaking attempt is led by DMU microbiology and education experts, Katie Laird and Sarah Younie, whose research at DMU led to the creation of an educational brand called Germ's Journey to educate young people in the importance of washing their hands.

To date, Germs Journey has reached tens of thousands of children worldwide through books, supplying teaching resources to schools and healthcare workers, alongside interactive online platforms, games and videos, all for children to learn about germs and hygiene.

Katie said, “We founded Germ’s Journey to create better health for children through free at the point of access infection prevention education, in order to create lifelong hand hygiene habits.

“We felt attempting a world record with children from across the UK was a fun and exciting way to engage children in this important life skill.”

The attempt is aligned with Global Handwashing Day, a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of the importance of handwashing with soap.

Despite being a simple and cost-effective measure, handwashing with soap still often remains overlooked, leading to preventable illnesses and outbreaks. By attempting to break this world record, DMU hopes to highlight the importance of hand hygiene and encourage children to adopt healthier habits.

DMU has invited schools across the country to participate in this record-breaking attempt to promote a healthier and safer world through washing hands.