Soap consists of pin-like molecules that has one end that likes to bond with water (Hydrophilic Head) & another end that hates water but likes to bond with oil and fats (Hydrophobic Tail). These are the key elements of how soap destroys viruses they come in contact with.
These are the key elements of how soap destroys viruses they come in contact with.
Viruses (eg. COVID-19) are made up of a layer of Lipid (fat) membrane which have spikes made up of protein that aid the virus to attach to human cells.
When you rub your hands with soap and water…
The soap molecules use their hydrophobic tail (attracted to fats) to cut into the virus membrane and destroy its structure.
As you rinse your hands away with water …
The soap molecules form bubbles (micelles) surrounding the broken fragments of viruses / bacteria / dirt with the hydrophilic head on the outside, bonding with water to be rinsed away.
Normal Soap or Anti-bacterial Handwash?
There is NO evidence that washing with anti-bacterial soap is more effective than using normal ones, as both can effectively destabilize and destroy viruses and bacteria.
What is most important :
- Keep a habit of washing hands frequently to prevent the accumulation of viruses and bacteria
- Wet and rub hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before rinsing off, make sure all areas are covered
- Carry a hand sanitizer (with at least 70% alcohol content), use when hand wash is not readily available
By : Alvin Ho
B (Eng), MBA, Certified Allied Healthcare/Fitness Professional (EIMS), Master Fitness Trainer / Fitness Nutrition, Resistance & Endurance Training Specialist (NFPT)