If you live near a supermarket that’s actually
How To Wash Your Hands In Five Steps
Sharing a reminder of the importance of practising good hygiene, Dr Adrian Heald, a consultant physician working in Cheshire, pointed out that using soap or washing up liquid also “disable the virus”.
How does this work, then? Dr Ed Wright, senior lecturer in microbiology at the University of Sussex, explains that coronavirus particles have a fatty, oily outer layer – and using soap or washing up liquid damages that layer.
“That layer is required for the virus to be able to infect a cell,” he explains. “If you use soap or detergent (washing up liquid), they will all interact with this waxy, oily layer and disrupt that, so the virus will fall apart and won’t be able to infect anybody.” Excellent news for your dishes, then.
Dr Wright adds that he uses “strong detergents” to deactivate viruses in the lab – so, “they’re perfectly effective, these washing up liquids and soaps, outside of the lab”.
Liquid soap, which keeps selling out, is formulated to be easy-to-use for hand washing, but it isn’t different from bar soap, foaming hand-wash, or dish detergent (washing up liquid), adds Dr Alexander Edwards, associate professor in biomedical technology at University of Reading. “Undiluted dish detergent/washing up liquid might be a bit harsh on the hands – so try to use this less,” he says.
When you’re cleaning your hands, Dr Edwards recommends doing it thoroughly – “with any soap or detergent, as long as it’s safe for hands” – to properly remove any bugs or virus. “Soap and detergent are quite good at killing the virus, but it’s mostly about removing the virus from your hands [so rinsing it down the sink], rather than killing it,” he explains.
If you don’t have a sink and running clean water, use alcohol hand gel. “This stays on your hands long enough for the high percentage of alcohol to directly kill the virus without washing it away,” he explains. “Alcohol alone can just run away, and it’s harsh on the hands, but gel stays there.”
Remember, the main advice to protect yourself from coronavirus is to wash hands, cover the mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and put used tissues in the bin immediately.