How Does Hand Soap Kill COVID-19?

In the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak, we've received mounting queries from readers, prospects, and customers.

In response, this blog discusses one of the frequently asked questions, "How does hand soap kill Covid-19?"

If you found this article, the chances are that you're wondering the same. Reading on, you'll find a simplified explanation of how soap, like MOXE's Premium Hand Soaps, handles the COVID-19.

Cut to the chase…

Hand washing does two things:

Hand Soap loosens the virus's grip and flushes them off

As we go about our daily activities, it's natural to have greasy and oily hands. It's easy for germs to stick and find safety on such soiled hands.

In such a state, water-only may not help eliminate those germs lurking around your hands since water and oil are natural enemies. For this, the germ finds a hiding spot in the grease and hitchhike on your hands.

This is where soap comes in handy, in that it helps water penetrate the oil, thereby gaining access to the germs.

Soap contains two-tail molecules. While one (the hydrophilic head) bonds with water, the other (hydrophobic tail) bond with fat and oils.

As you lather, the suds help lift the oil along with the dirt and germs built on your skin. As the germs lose their hold, a clean water rinse flushes them all off.

Soap Molecules how hand soap breaks in and destroys the virus

Hand Soap breaks in and destroys the virus

Besides flushing viruses, your soap can burst open specific disease-causing agents and break them apart.

For clarity – the novel coronavirus, which has dealt the world a huge blow globally, is enveloped in a layer of fat. Hand soaps contain properties that can penetrate the oils or fats and incapacitate the virus.

Of course, hand wash is considered the single most effective hand hygiene approach and the best way to keep the virus at bay. While washing your hand with soap and water sounds like a no-brainer, a disturbing lot of people get it wrong.

As straightforward and 'every-day' as the directive sounds, a little drift can leave you ignorantly exposed to germs.

For clarity, of over 3700 persons captured in a hand wash study, only 5 percent of them washed right.

So another big question:

Are there specific soaps that kill the virus?

Any good quality hand soap should suffice.

What about antibacterial soaps? Interestingly, there is no additional benefit of using an antibacterial hand soap and in fact may do more harm in the long run. 

In 2016, the US. Food and Drug Administration(FDA) banned certain over-the-counter antibacterial soaps since they offer no unique bacterial prevention benefit.

Instead, they're unhealthy for regular use, as studies suggest people who use antibacterial soaps stand a higher risk of antimicrobial resistance.

So a plain soap with natural ingredients is your best bet.

What if you don't have access to water and soap?

Then consider the next hand hygiene measure –which are alcohol-based hand sanitizers with 60-70% alcohol content. 

However, if you are without soap and hand sanitizers, you may reconsider using water-only. But in this case, you'll have to rub your hands more vigorously under the running water – and perhaps for a longer time – and then air dry or wipe off with a clean towel.

Although using only water will knock some germs off your hands – particularly for less soiled hands – its effectiveness is far less than soap and water or hand sanitizers.

If you find yourself in such a situation where water and/or soap is scarce and without your hand sanitizers, avoid contacts as much as possible.

Does warm water work better against COVID-19?

The water temperature is not a factor when it comes to COVID-19. Whether warm or cold water, hand washing removes a similar amount of germs and dirt from your hands.

Remember, for hand washing, water is not what kills the germs. The role of water is simply to dislodge the germs – not to 'burn' them.

Where water is scarce, can I wash in a bowl or basin?

Clean-sourced running water remains the best way to stay safe. For one, water in a bowl might have been contaminated from previous use.

Where there's water scarcity, this is when boiling your water before use or using a disinfectant may come in handy.

Note, however, that boiling here is not intended to kill the germs on your hand but to eliminate contaminants in your water.

The point is to be sure to wash your hands with the cleanest possible water.

How often should I use hand soap?

As often as the need arises. This is one tricky part of the handwashing rituals.

Health officials recommend washing your hands:

  • After contacts with surfaces particularly outside the home, like touching fiat currencies
  • After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
  • Before and after attending to the sick
  • Before and after visiting public places such as schools, markets, religious houses, public transportation etc.
  • Before and after meals
  • After contacts with animals – including your pets
  • After contacting garbage
  • After leaking the toilet or bathroom or after helping children with their diapers
  • On visibly greasy or dirty hands

You'll have to wash regularly. Every time, and again.

Scouting for a faucet and soap every single time you make suspicious contact can be overwhelming. However, it is the best way to protect yourself and others.

outdoors man with dirty hands

Hand washing vs. hand sanitizers

Both the soap-and-water and hand sanitizer techniques are effective measures against most pathogens and germs.

Here's a guide on when to use what:

  • Are your hands greasy or visibly dirty? Use soap and water; hand sanitizers are not effective on visibly soiled hands
  • If you're an on-the-go person –perhaps due to work or personal lifestyle – alcohol-based hand sanitizers will be more practicable.
  • If you're usually in areas where water and/or soap is scarce, get a premium hand sanitizer.

Noteworthily – while alcohol-based sanitizers is a sure bet for the novel coronavirus, it's no match for certain types of viruses and bacterial like the rotavirus and norovirus responsible for diarrhea.

Where to buy Premium Hand Soap? 

Formulated with a base of coconut oil, aloe vera and a proprietary blend of 100% essential oils. MOXĒ hand soap provides a moisturizing liquid soap glides right onto the hands and washes clean. You might get obsessed with washing your hands. All. The.Time.

How can using hand soap help reduce the spread of the coronavirus? 

While no measure may guarantee complete eradication of the virus, reducing the number of peak cases will help the NHS from becoming overwhelmed and better positioned to deal with the few reports and, in turn, minimize fatality counts.

The goal is to bring the cases down and help save more lives.  As simple as hand hygiene sounds, it can be your best contribution to a safer planet.

Our heart goes out to all who have suffered a loss to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more on how to stay safe, read through our informational blog news, or browse through the Frequently Asked Questions to see what other readers – like you – are asking.

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