Soap and Water - Effective Killers of Coronavirus
Soap and water are effective killers of coronavirus because of the ability of the soap to attract and repel fats at the same time, according to the Vox news site.
The soap acts as a destroyer, tearing down a building and removing all the bricks, says Palli Thordarson, a chemistry teacher at the University of New South Wales. His post on Twitter about the wonders of soap has spread across the social network.
Soap is an amphiphilic substance that contains molecules of a dual nature, the chemist explains. Some of them attract water and repel fats and proteins, while the other attracts fats and repels water.
When we pour olive oil into water, the individual droplets flock to a large one that floats to the surface because the fat does not mix with the water. But if you mix soap with water and olive oil, the grease disperse. The reason for this is that the soap attracts fat with its lipophilic ingredients and at the same time breaks it down with its hydrophilic ingredients.
Coronaviruses are a bit like the oil mentioned in the above example: bits of genetic information — encoded by RNA — surrounded by a coat of fat and protein, the chemist explains. He calls viruses "nano-sized grease balls." And soap seamlessly destroys "greasy balls". It treats the virus the same way it breaks down fat in water, Thordarson says.
He explains that the chemical bonds between the components of the virus are not as strong and this allows the soap to break down. However, it does take time for this to happen, so it is recommended that we wash our hands for at least 20 seconds.
The alcohol contained in hand cleansing gels also destroys viruses.
But to achieve the effect of the soap the hand sanitizers must have a high concentration of alcohol (at least 60%), says the chemist. He warns that if the hands are damp or sweaty, the effect of alcohol on the virus is reduced.
However he says that washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to keep your hands clean and to potentially kill bacteria.
That’s because when you wash your hands with soap and water, you’re not just wiping viruses off your hands and sending them down the drain. You’re actually annihilating the viruses, rendering them harmless. Soap “is almost like a demolition team breaking down a building and taking all the bricks away,” says Palli Thordarson, a chemistry professor at the University of New South Wales, who posted a viral Twitter thread on the wonders of soap, Vox reported.
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