And there’s a little known secret about good, old-fashioned soap, even if it’s the cheap, generic kind.
It works better than hand sanitizer to remove the coronavirus.
How could this possibly be true?
Well, it’s all about chemistry, says Dr. Daniel Pastula, a UCHealth neuro-infectious disease expert who recently assisted local public health officials in Summit County as the coronavirus sparked a spike of cases in their area.
Pastula is a neuro-infectious disease expert and neurohospitalist at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital and an associate professor of neurology, infectious diseases and epidemiology for the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health.
Pastula said soap is a simple, but highly effective tool.
(Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with any kind of soap works great for getting rid of the coronavirus. Pastula is a fan of Gloria Gaynor’s video
showing her lathering up as she sings her song, “I will Survive.”)
Millennia ago, humans discovered that they could combine animal fat with alkaline salts or ash to create what we now call soap.
“And this combination did a remarkable job at cleaning,” Pastula said.
In more recent years, humans discovered that alcohol can kill bacteria and viruses like the new coronavirus that has sparked a global pandemic. Hand sanitizer is made up mostly of alcohol, so sanitizers have become a popular choice as people try to stay safe from the coronavirus.
While hand sanitizer can neutralize the coronavirus, it doesn’t have one little-known superpower that soap has.
“Soap disrupts the sticky bond between pathogens and your skin, allowing the pathogens to slide right off. Not only are you neutralizing the virus with the soap, but you’re also physically knocking it off your hands,” Pastula said. “Hand sanitizer doesn’t do all of that.”