Have you ever seen a house of cards fall? Keep that image in mind every time you wash your hands.

The science behind soap is simple and yet powerful. And more to the point, while we're all being sequestered to slow the spread of the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus, soap and warm water literally dissolve the fat membrane that protects the cell, and then the virus collapses and dies away.

Disinfectant gels, wipes and bleach have a similar effect, but the chemistry in soap is the best virus warrior.

Soap and warm water assaults and dissolves the COVID-19 virus' weakest link: its fatty bi-layer. Disrupting that layer of fat disrupts the structure of the virus and it falls apart, like that house of cards I mentioned.

Which soap is best? Soap is soap. Whether it's antibacterial, foam, in bar shape, liquid or whatever, it doesn't matter, because it all has to do with the chemical makeup and unique properties in soap called amphiphiles.

So why do the experts insist on 20 seconds of rigorous, fastidious and persnickety hand rubbing until the soap foams? Because this rubbing action makes the virus detach and fall apart, and the virus is gone.

It's worth repeating: there really is hope in soap.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app