“Bar or liquid; ordinary or antibacterial; soap is soap!” This is, at least, the general consensus among healthcare professionals and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
According to a MinnPost’s Second Opinion article of 2016, the FDA banned over a dozen chemicals commonly used in antibacterial soaps. This came after the FDA found that long term exposure to some ingredients may have hormonal effects – cause bacterial resistance. The banned chemicals were found to not have enough evidence to be regarded as “generally recognised as safe and effective”.
In a press release, Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Centre for Drug Evaluation and Research stated the following: “Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water. In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term.”
The US Centre for Disease Control confirmed that washing your hands with soap and water remains the most effective way of controlling germs and that sanitiser is your second option when soap and water is not available.
But how does soap and water actually kill the corona virus?
The Covid-19 has an outer layer, made out of lipids; essentially fat. It is like a pot, that has oil all over it. If you touch it, you get that grease all over your hand. If you rinse the pot with water, the water slides right off and the pot and your hand remains greasy. Add some soap and the grease dissolves the oil. In the same sense, soap cracks viruses and bacteria open dissolving them and effectively, killing them. When you use soap to wash your hands, you are drying out the virus, preventing it from sticking to anyone or anything else and it dies. The water carries the germs and the soap that killed it away.
The drying and solvent effects of soap, is universal to greasy and grimy areas. Bacteria likes to live in grease and grime. No grease or grime, means no bacteria. Therefore, a plain soap might not kill the bacteria, but it kills the bacteria’s food, which then in turn controls the number of bacteria.
Normal soap also has benefits
An unscented, ordinary bar of soap, will not kill off the ‘good’ bacteria of your skin. It is also the best option for those who have sensitive skin, autoimmune diseases that react to harsh soaps and those who prefer a neutral, natural scent.
The last step, is to remember how long you should be washing
Putting some elbow grease into washing your hands, will get the best results. Remember to cover all the basics:
But why 20 seconds?
Washing your hands is not just a “spray and wipe away” job. When you are scrubbing a pot, it takes some time to get all the burned bits and grease off to get it to its former, shiny glory.
In this same manner, you need to give the soap enough time to break open the virus particles and cover viral molecules, rendering it impossible for the virus to cling to your hands.
If you can use a nail brush, that is a bonus. Remember to clean the nail brush too!
For all your soapy needs, visit Mopani Pharmacy or shop online for delivery to your doorstep!
Read more: Why you should get your Flu vaccine