Hand Washing: Does This Soap Really Work?

zero waste hand wash soap

You’ve probably been told most of your life to ‘wash your hands’. Now, it seems like we are being told to wash our hands to save our life. More than ever it is imperative we wash our hands properly to be effective. I always thought it was good enough to simply put some soap on, spread it around and rinse it off. Now I realize I didn’t understand how soap REALLY works to remove unwanteds from my skin. As the Covid-19 virus became a global pandemic, I am reminded of the value of proper hand washing. These facts are too important not to share!

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), hand washing with soap is more effective than using water alone. That’s because the surfactants in soap lift soil and microbes off the skin. Soap has dual molecules. One end of the molecule is attracted to water and repelled by fats and proteins. The other side of the molecule is attracted to fats and is repelled by water.

A good visual to easily understand why soap works is to recall what happens when you try to mix water with oil and how it just doesn’t work.The oil will always float to the top. But, add some soap into the oil and water, and magically blend together. Those dual molecules in soap attract both the water and oil, allowing them to disperse. Simply put, the soap attaches to the pathogens on your skin and they rinse away with the water. The molecular make-up of soap is why soap is so effective at removing germs from your skin.

One quick note is to skip the antibacterial soaps. Back in 2016, the FDA announced that antibacterial soaps “were no more effective than non-antibacterial soap and water.” If you can not use soap and water, the next best thing is to use a hand sanitising gel made with 60% or more alcohol. Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers and air dry, do not wipe off the gel!

But the most important part of this entire article is to make sure to wash hands long enough!

It is imperative to rub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds, scrubbing all over including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails. You can count to 20 using the 1/1000, 2/1000, 3/1000, 4/1000… method or sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song two times, to yourself; not out loud unless it’s really your birthday. Personally, I am a Grateful Dead fan so I prefer to sing a verse from Ripple, one of my favorite Grateful Dead songs.

It’s a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken
Perhaps they’re better left unsung
I don’t know, don’t really care
Let there be songs to fill the air….

Now, right there is just over the 20 second mark when sung, not spoken but I can’t help myself but to also sing the chorus….

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

Pick one of your favorite songs or one of those weird songs you sing for no apparent reason and time yourself singing it. It might just work better for you. Just remember to sing it to yourself, no one needs to hear the voices in our heads. LOL!

Stay safe and healthy my friends.
Angie Ringler

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