Updated: Oct 24, 2020
In times of Covid-19, many people ask the same question; in this post, I hope I can help you clarify it.
Although I focus on natural soaps on this website, I consider it essential to speak about soaps in general, given their importance in preserving our health and preventing germs, bacteria, and viruses from entering our body.
First, we must differentiate the terms:
Bacteria is a pathogenic microorganism. Microorganisms are microbes: single-celled organisms visible using a microscope. The adjective pathogen qualifies that which can originate and trigger the disease.
A virus is a small set of genetic information protected by a membrane. They do not have all the machinery of the cells, and above all, they are incapable of mitosis. They cannot divide themselves. It is above all for the same reason that scientists do not consider viruses as living things.
Germs is a general term used to refer to bacteria, viruses, fungi, and microscopic protozoa that can cause disease.
Before talking about how soap is effective in eliminating viruses, let's understand how they are composed. In general terms, viruses have an outer membrane formed by a lipid bilayer, a relatively impermeable barrier to water; thus, washing with only water is insufficient. The soap, together with the water dismantles that protective membrane, and makes the virus inactive; the water supports eliminating the soap residues with the dormant viruses from our hands.
So the soap discharges and encapsulates the viruses so that the water can take them away. If you use a bar of soap, a recommendation is to rinse it afterward, since there may be a film of microorganisms, dead skin cells, and other components around it.
Is handwashing enough?
Wash your hands with patience; for at least 30 seconds and thoroughly rub your hands before rinsing.
Disposable paper towels are ideal for drying hands because they get rid of the paper with the virus's possible remains. I am aware that it is not a perfect option for all families.
I recommend what I do in my house, each bathroom has its towels and identified by color, I change the hand towels of the guest bathroom if someone uses them.
Is soap the same as a disinfectant gel?
Many ask themselves that the answer is no, despite having similar effects, their compositions are different, gels, sprays, or wipes have alcohol. For example, the 'antibacterial agents' of these types of products do not affect the structure of viruses. There is no scientific evidence to indicate that the use of antibacterial soaps is better than that of regular soap and water concerning bacteria and not viruses.
Ideally, if you have dirty hands, you should look for a place to wash your hands with soap and water. If that is not possible, then the last option is to use some antibacterial products and remember that antibacterial products kill various bacteria and deactivate some viruses. However, for the Covid-19, the best recommendation is still soap and water.
In conclusion, all hand soaps work to keep your hand Covid-19 free; just remember to take some time and focus as you wash before rinsing.
I hope I have clarified the doubts you have been able about the soap's effectiveness on bacteria and viruses; I wish you good health.