Soap vs. Sanitizer?

The run on sanitizer makes it clear that people think alcohol cleansers are better than simple soap and water. In the case of COVID-19 this is wrong.


1. Washing with soap and water actually washes dirt or particles away – alcohol based sanitizers just spread things around and relies on alcohol to kill organisms. Therefore, unless hands are otherwise clean, but contaminated with an organism, alcohol based sanitizers are NOT as good.

2. In the case of Coronavirus soap is particularly effective. Why? Think about what detergent does to globs of fat in a sink – it breaks them up! It allows fat and water to mix. Same as trying to get grease off hands – water alone is ineffective, but add soap and you can clean your hands. In the case of Coronavirus, the shell of the virus is made of fat – and soap breaks that up and inactivates the virus making it incapable of infecting us.

Fortunately soap is widely available!