Does bar soap kill COVID-19? How soap works to kill germs
Since the 1980s, more and more people have made the switch to liquid hand wash from soap bars. That's because liquid soap has been marketed as being more hygienic than bar soap.
Bar soaps vs liquid soaps
Some medical experts recommend bar soaps over liquid hand wash because rubbing the bar between our hands while lathering creates more friction. Yep, grandma's florally pink soap does the job just as well as the most expensive antibacterial sanitiser on the market.
Bacteria on bar soaps isn't transferred between washes - or washers
Does bar soap kill COVID-19?
- Some bacteria and viruses have lipid (fat) membranes, including COVID-19. We surround these microorganisms on our skin with soap when washing our hands.
- The soap molecules wedge themselves into the lipid membrane of certain microbes and pry it apart.
- Essential proteins spill from the ruptured microbe membranes into the surrounding water which kills bacteria and renders a virus useless.
- Micelles are also created to suspend dirt as well as broken bits of viruses and bacteria from the oil of our hands.
- These are washed away when we rinse.
The most important thing is how you wash your hands
Wash for at least 20 seconds with warm water
Ensure you wash all surfaces of your hands
Dry throughly using a clean towel or paper towel
Experts say bar soap can be more effective than liquid soap and hand sanitisers
Dr. Tiffany Wells at River City OB-GYN told ABC, “Being at home, having a bar of soap would be perfectly effective, reasonable, and typically cheaper... Also, less use of plastic.”
Mayo Clinic neurologist Dr. Joseph Sirven said bar soap protects against COVID-19 because of its chemical composition which includes fat, “You need this fat compound – that’s what the soap is – to break down that virus... it will not survive that."
Head of infectious diseases at Wolfson Children’s Hospital Dr. Mobeen Rathore said “Soap and water is the preferred mechanism for washing your hands and good hygiene, over even hand sanitizers."
Antibacterial soaps are a waste of money
In the case of COVID-19, antibacterial properties don't add any extra killing power because the disease is a virus. The FDA says antibacterial products offer no additional protection compared to traditional bar soap and may even create health problems in the long run.
Don't stress if you can't find antibacterial liquid hand wash or super strong hand sanitiser. Experts agree that washing with a plastic-free bar of soap is just as effective at preventing COVID-19 than any other product on the market. Wash your hands, save lives.
*Just a heads up that this article should in no way be taken as medical advice. It is simply a compilation of information from different medical experts. Always check the government health guidelines for your local community for the most current information.