I few years ago, I had the unfortunate need to visit a family member in the ICU. We were all given strict instructions on how you should be washing hands – and let me tell you, I’d be doing it wrong for all thirty-odd years of my life at that stage! With everyone up in arms (or hands) about making sure that you’re washing your hands enough, I thought I’d share my experience – along with this great how-to image from the NHS.
Did you know that you should be washing your hands for at least 20 seconds? Yes – that’s each time you wash your hands! And now, with the worldwide Coronavirus concern, that means that you’re washing your hands up to ten full minutes each day, and possibly more. If you’re using liquid soap, or commercially-produced chemically soap, this can be really hard on your skin and can leave your hands dry and uncomfortable. Switch to a moisturising soap (such as our Rosemary and Spearmint shampoo bar which is incredibly kind to skin – especially with the addition of additional rosehip seed oil) and considering using a balm in between uses.
Once you’ve chosen your soap, you need to work up a later with running water to create enough soapy bubbles to cover your hands. Then start rubbing:
- palm to palm, to create additional lather, and to cover all surfaces between your hands
- use one palm to rub the back of the other hand, interlacing your fingers to make sure that you get the soap between each finger. Repeat for the other hand
- With palms facing, rub your hands together with fingers interlaced to repeat the action.
- Give yourself a handshake, hooking your fingers together with palms facing. Rub-a-dub!
- Use your hand to rub around the other hand’s thumb in a circular rotational movement. Repeat with the other hand.
- Rub the tips of your fingers in the middle of your opposite hand’s palm to make sure that they’re completely scrubbed clean. Repeat with the other hand.
- Finally, clean around your wrists thoroughly before rinsing off.
Make sure that you use your elbow or a disposable towel to switch off the tap! Don’t use your hands, otherwise you’ll just pick up the germs you started off with.
So how does soap actually work? Pall Thordarsen wrote a brilliant article in The Guardian explaining the science (click here to read it)
So why does soap work so well on the Sars-CoV-2, the coronavirus and indeed most viruses? The short story: because the virus is a self-assembled nanoparticle in which the weakest link is the lipid (fatty) bilayer. Soap dissolves the fat membrane and the virus falls apart like a house of cards and dies – or rather, we should say it becomes inactive as viruses aren’t really alive.
The best part of the whole article? This amazing quote which sums it up quite well:
“You can’t, for any price, get a drug for the coronavirus,” Pall explains, “but your grandmother’s bar of soap kills it.”