Does Soap Kill Coronavirus?
We have all been told to wash our hands constantly… but can soap kill Coronavirus?
To determine if soap can kill Coronavirus we need to first understand what Coronavirus actually is.
Coronavirus is an enveloped virus. This means that it has a protective outer layer known as a Lipid bilayer. Each molecule within this layer is shaped like a tadpole, with a water-loving (hydrophilic) head and a water hating (hydrophobic) tail. These molecules arrange themselves into a bilayer; two layers piled on top of each other into a type of sheet. The tadpole like molecules are lined up with their tails pointing inwards and their heads pointing outwards. These molucules are pulled closely into each other and protect the hydrophobic tails from the water in your respiratory droplets when you cough or sneeze. The hydrophilic heads are sticky, which helps the virus stick to your hands – perfect for a microbe that is trying hard to infect you.
Now that we know what the Coronavirus is, can soap help kill it?
Soap molecules also have a tadpole like structure. It is this structure that makes it so effective in killing the virus. Because the soap molecules are so similar to the ones that make up the outer layer of the virus, the molecules in the liquid bilayer are strongly attracted to soap molecules and the soap molecules are also attracted to the virus. When the soap tadpoles touch the virus tadpoles they disrupt the neatly-ordered shell around the virus, dissolving it in the running water and effectively killing the virus.
So now you know the science behind the call to wash your hands. Ensure you clean your hands correctly and often for a minimum of at least 20 seconds.
Are all soaps created equal? No!
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