Why does hand washing with soap work so well on most viruses?

Hello Everyone!

I feel responsible because I am a soap maker who wants to provide you with all the information and tools you need to keep yourself healthy as If I were helping my immediate family.   I am using the help of a Chemistry professor to provide you with the following information.  Please read on:

EXERPT from an article written by  Palli Thordarson a professor at the School of Chemistry at the University of New South Wales, Sydney 

 

"Why does soap work so well on the new coronavirus and, indeed, most viruses? Because it is a self-assembled nanoparticle in which the weakest link is the lipid (fatty) bilayer.

That sounds scientific. Let me explain.

Soap dissolves the fat membrane, and the virus falls apart like a house of cards and “dies,” or rather, it becomes inactive as viruses aren’t really alive. Viruses can be active outside the body for hours, even days.

Disinfectants, or liquids, wipes, gels and creams containing alcohol (and soap) have a similar effect but are not as good as regular soap. Apart from alcohol and soap, antibacterial agents in those products don’t affect the virus structure much. Consequently, many antibacterial products are basically just an expensive version of soap in how they act on viruses. Soap is the best, but alcohol wipes are good when soap is not practical or handy, for example in office reception areas".

Soap dissolves a virus’ structure

Soapy water is totally different. Soap contains fat-like substances known as amphiphiles, some structurally similar to the lipids in the virus membrane. The soap molecules “compete” with the lipids in the virus membrane. That is more or less how soap also removes normal dirt of the skin (see graphic at the top of this article).

The soap molecules also compete with a lot other non-covalent bonds that help the proteins, RNA and the lipids to stick together. The soap is effectively “dissolving” the glue that holds the virus together. Add to that all the water.

The soap also outcompetes the interactions between the virus and the skin surface. Soon the virus gets detached and falls apart like a house of cards due to the combined action of the soap and water. Boom, the virus is gone!

 

If you want to read more, please follow this link here.  Remember, Soap and water is always better and most of the time cheaper!

I hope this has helped you a bit!

Cheers and stay Healthy

 

Johanne


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