Soap or Sanitizer ? Which works better?

Various measures have been suggested to reduce the risk of infection following the outbreak of COVID-19 in several countries. It is necessary to clean someone’s hands with alcohol-based hand rubbing or washing them with soap and water, as specified by WHO.

Why is this important?

Why is soap better?

  • Both sanitizer and soap can kill viruses, but virus washing is a more effective way.
  • Using sanitizer does not guarantee 100% death of the virus. While soap washes the virus effectively.
  • Most people touch their faces once every 2-5 minutes. As long as the virus is present in your hand, the risk of being infected with the virus is high. Especially until you wash your hands.
  • Just washing hands with water is not enough because the virus is sticky.
  • Soapy water is totally different. The soap contains fat-like substances that are more capable of fighting viruses.
  • Soap also works to create a layer between the skin of the hand and the virus.
  • If the skin of your hand is dry, wash your hands properly with soap so that the risk of viruses is completely eliminated.
  • Wash properly with soap between your fingers and inside the nails.

The stools accumulated on our hands are innumerable viruses and bacteria. Washing hands without soap help to reduce the number of microbes but most viruses and bacteria do not fully emerge. Therefore, the use of soap becomes far more effective in removing microbes.

Their genetic content in the virus is enclosed in a layer of fat called lipid casing. Soap molecules are pin-shaped with a head that is water-loving and an oil-loving tail. Being loved by oil, there is an affinity for the tail part of the molecule and goes ‘competing’ with lipids in the virus casing.

Thus, soap and water dissolve the viral bond together and break the interaction between soaps such as viruses and skin surface, dissolving the alcohol lipid covering present in hand sanitizers, thus neutralizing the virus.

But, sanitizers are not as effective as soap and water.

To be effective, sanitizers must have at least 60% alcohol. Unlike soap foam, alcohol does not come into contact with all parts of the hand. Adequate use of sanitizer on hand can increase coverage.

Soaps produce better results when hands are looking dirty or sleek, unlike sanitizers.

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