How Does Soap Work?

Have you ever wondered how soap works?

I'm a nerd, and I love it! My favorite is getting nerdy at work. I always want to know why things work. Have you ever wondered how washing your hands actually works? Let the nerd tell you.

Here's the science behind washing your hands!

The outside layers of bacteria and germs are made up of lipids (oil). This is how they stick to your skin. Soap is made to break up lipids. So when you scrub your hands with soap, you're breaking down germ layers so they don’t stick to your skin. When you rinse with water, the germs are washed down the drain! Washing your hands is the most effective way to clean your hands when you have access to water.

What about hand sanitizer?

I have never been a big fan of hand sanitizer, because the alcohol required to be effective makes it so drying. But since the coronavirus, clean hands are more important than ever, and water is often not available. On the go or anytime I'm away from a sink, I now use hand sanitizer all the time. Hand sanitizers with the right amount of alcohol kill bacteria and disease-causing germs. In nerd terms, alcohol denatures the germ's protective outer proteins and dissolve their membranes!