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Thread: Does washing our hands with soap remove more germs than just plain water?

  1. #1 Does washing our hands with soap remove more germs than just plain water? 
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    Why don't we use just plain old water? Does using soap remove more germs?
    Just plain old liquid hand soap. Not the anti bacterial stuff which has added chemicals and what not?

    How does it work?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    yes, it breaks up grease, dirt and other debris on the skin along with loosening up dead skin. This allows the flowing water to remove the loosened material (which contain a portion of germs) off the hands and reducing the germ load more then just water.


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    In its own right, soap is for removing substances that are stuck to the skin. It coincidentally takes germs that are bound to whatever needs to be removed from the outside of the body. Hot water is sufficient for simply sterilizing the epidermis. In fact, if pathogens are your only concern, then it is better to use water alone because it clings to germs and soap can interfere with that as well as the delivery of heat by smothering your skin.
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  5. #4  
    exchemist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theresa View Post
    In its own right, soap is for removing substances that are stuck to the skin. It coincidentally takes germs that are bound to whatever needs to be removed from the outside of the body. Hot water is sufficient for simply sterilizing the epidermis. In fact, if pathogens are your only concern, then it is better to use water alone because it clings to germs and soap can interfere with that as well as the delivery of heat by smothering your skin.
    Can you support that with a reference?

    It is at variance with my understanding up to now, which has been that surfactant can disrupt cell membranes and thereby have a disinfectant effect.
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  6. #5  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theresa View Post
    Hot water is sufficient for simply sterilizing the epidermis.
    Is it?
    80C water is required to ensure bacteria are dead, at that temperature it takes less than 1 second to ensure third-degree burns.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  7. #6  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    In its own right, soap is for removing substances that are stuck to the skin. It coincidentally takes germs that are bound to whatever needs to be removed from the outside of the body. Hot water is sufficient for simply sterilizing the epidermis. In fact, if pathogens are your only concern, then it is better to use water alone because it clings to germs and soap can interfere with that as well as the delivery of heat by smothering your skin.
    Sorry, but this is bollocks...
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  8. #7  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theresa View Post
    In its own right, soap is for removing substances that are stuck to the skin. It coincidentally takes germs that are bound to whatever needs to be removed from the outside of the body.
    Right. Soap is a surfactant that helps remove dirt (and germs.)
    Hot water is sufficient for simply sterilizing the epidermis.
    Also true. Put your hands in boiling water for a few seconds and you will kill all the germs on your skin. Of course, you will also kill a lot of your skin, so this method is not notably useful.
    In fact, if pathogens are your only concern, then it is better to use water alone because it clings to germs
    Water does not "cling to germs." Many pathogens are hydrophobic.
    and soap can interfere with that as well as the delivery of heat by smothering your skin.
    Soap does not "smother your skin" nor does it interfere with heat transfer.
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