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Coronavirus: Is ordinary soap enough, or should I use sanitiser gel?

While the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause casualties worldwide and world authorities take extreme measures to continue preventing its spread, the demand for personal hygiene disinfectant products has skyrocketed. In many places, they are becoming scarce. In contrast, in others, their price has skyrocketed—up to 800% in some cases.

For this reason, in this updated list of products with stock to buy, you can find different alternatives of hydroalcoholic disinfectants available so far.

Coronavirus: Is ordinary soap enough, or should I use sanitiser gel?

The importance of strict personal hygiene
Although proper handwashing with soap prevents any infectious disease, insistence on this practice at this particular time must do strictly. However, we are often not in a place where we can do it, so having a disinfectant gel can be a good complement.

It is essential to clarify that the disinfectant gel does NOT replace hand washing or vice versa; they are complementary measures. The disinfectant gel is ideal for carrying in your bag, wallet or even in the vehicle to use when we are on public roads and in this way, we can sanitise hands, utensils or the surface with which we come into contact.

Is alcohol gel effective in fighting coronavirus?

Various studies have proven that any disinfectant gel with an alcohol content greater than 60% effectively eliminates most viruses, germs and bacteria. Although there are many gels on the market, even with pleasant aromas and colours to encourage their use, it is essential to check that they contain the necessary amount of alcohol to be effective.

This product is not new; it was created in 1966 to have the means to sanitise hands in the absence of washing facilities. However, it was not until 2009 that its popularity soared with the appearance of the H1N1 flu. From that moment on, small gel alcohol dispensers appeared everywhere to maintain hygiene and avoid infection.

The type of alcohol most used in these products is ethanol. However, there are also versions with isopropanol and N-propanol that are equally effective.

It is essential to clarify that they must be rubbed on the hands or surface for at least 20 seconds to be effective. However, abusive and excessive use can irritate and eliminate the natural oil from the hands, which causes dryness. Therefore, it should be used only when hand washing is not possible.

Avoid as much as possible the homemade versions of disinfectants; although some versions can be potentially effective, they can also be very aggressive for the skin.

When should we wash our hands or apply gel alcohol?

Hand wash before and after meals and the utensils used. Also, every time we sneeze or cough. If this happens in a public place, it recommends applying the alcohol gel.

Every time we use the toilet, be it our home, someone else’s, or a public bathroom, it is essential to sanitise our hands.

It is essential to know that hand washing should last approximately 40 seconds, and gel application should take 20 seconds. Both measures are complementary, and one does not replace the other. While effective at removing viruses and bacteria, the gel does not remove dirt from your hands. In the same way, soap and water remove dirt and bacteria, but they do not kill viruses. In this sense, washing your hands without soap or doing it does not sanitise them effectively.

If you have been in transport or public places or contact with a large number of people and do not have alcohol gel at the moment, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands till you have washed your hands properly.

Soap or disinfectant gel?

Wash your hands with soap and water
The two ways of hand hygiene are cleaning them with soap and water or wiping them with an alcohol-based sanitising solution. Washing with water and soap is considered the primary method of removing dirt from hands without bacteria. However, although they do not have an antibacterial action, soaps can break down the microbial load in the surface layer of the skin, rubbing and rinsing thoroughly.

Dirt trap in surfactant molecules. The surfactant molecules present in soap are amphiphilic: composed of a hydrophilic part and a lipophilic part, with polar and nonpolar chemical properties, making soap effective.

How long should the handwashing take?

How long does handwashing have to take to be effective?

The recommended time is at least 20 seconds: 15 seconds of rubbing with soap and 5 seconds rinsing. According to dermatologists, this seems to be the right time for the soap to perform its cleaning function and for the surfactant molecules to intercept bacteria and viruses.
Recently, to prevent Covid-19 infections, the WHO recommended increasing the time dedicated to each hand cleansing with soap and water to no less than 40 seconds.

How to hand sanitising gel works

Alcohol-based disinfectant gels feature ethanol ( ethyl alcohol ) and 2-propanol to dissolve viral lipid membranes like the coronavirus. In addition to these, they contain humectants such as glycerol, propylene glycol, and sorbitol, which help prevent dehydration and dryness after skin contact with high-alcohol solutions.
The three types of alcohol-based hand sanitisers on the market:
liquid solutions
semisolid gels
wet wipes

However, disinfection is not always preferable to cleaning. For example, although hand sanitiser gels have a bactericidal action that soap cannot activate, they do not remove grease or other dirt.

Also Read: The best body oils that will make you forget about creams

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