Amid Covid-19, we have been told to keep washing our hands frequently. WHO says, 20 seconds of washing your hands with soap will save lives Water alone may rinse off dirt, but viruses and bacteria are so small they often need chemical and mechanical intervention. In order to get their sticky nanoparticles out of the crevices that make up our unique fingerprints, soap is important. So, why does soap work so well on Covid-19 virus? Soap dissolves the fat membrane, and the virus falls apart and “dies,” or rather, it becomes inactive as viruses aren’t really alive. Viruses can be active outside the body for hours, even days. Soap is made up of two-sided molecules. One side is attracted to water and the other side is attracted to fat. Viruses are made up of material surrounded by a coating of proteins and fat. When viruses interact with soap, that fat coating gets ripped out by the soap molecules which destroy the virus Water and scrubbing with your hands are important to this process because the combination creates more soap bubbles, which disrupt the chemical bonds that allow bacteria, viruses and other germs to stick to surfaces. While alcohol can also break an oily membrane, washing with soap has the added benefit of physically removing even tougher to break viruses and bacteria from the skin.
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