How soap kills the coronavirus and why it's so effective
As coronavirus, or COVID-19, grips the country, it’s important that you do all that you can to protect yourself and others from this truly horrible virus. You’ll have heard that washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but what is it about soap that makes it so effective against viruses, and are there better alternatives? Read on to find out.
How does soap kill the coronavirus?
It all comes down to chemistry. A virus is protected by a fatty outer layer which means that water rushes right over it, which is why washing your hands with water alone is ineffective. However, soap molecules have two ends, one attracted to water and one attracted to fat. When you wash your hands with soap, the end attracted to fat connects to the fatty layer of the virus and pulls it apart, which means that the virus collapses. The broken virus particles become caught up in the soap and you simply wash them down the drain, leaving your hands clean and coronavirus free.
Which soap kills the coronavirus?
Any soap will kill the coronavirus as they all contain those fat loving molecule ends. This means that both liquid soap and bars of soap, in all colours and fragrances, are just as effective in eliminating the coronavirus as each other. The soap does not need to be antibacterial in order to work efficiently, so don’t worry about struggling to find one that is marketed in this way.
How quickly can soap kill the coronavirus?
There’s a reason why we have been told to wash our hands for 20 seconds. It actually takes 20 seconds for the soap to break down the virus enough so that it can be destroyed and washed away. So whether you want to sing happy birthday twice, or just count to 20 in your head, you must wash your hands for the right amount of time in order for the soap to do its job.
How much soap do I need?
Only a small amount of soap is needed to create a lather strong enough to kill off the coronavirus. The great thing about soapy water is that it completely covers your hands, meaning that no area will be left unwashed.
Is antibacterial hand gel more effective than soap?
Although antibacterial hand gel works in a very similar way to soap thanks to its alcohol content, if your hands are dirty or sweaty this can actually mean that the gel doesn’t work as well as you might like. Antibacterial hand gels containing over 60% alcohol are the ones that you need to look out for if you’d like to buy one, but they should only be used when washing your hands with soap isn’t an option. You should then reach for the soap as soon as you can to ensure that you’ve destroyed any pesky virus particles that might still be lurking on your hands.
Discover our great range of soaps and remember that 20-second hand washes are key.