Humans we get in touch with the world most of the time through our hands. Through them you touch and learn; you write, you eat, you play; affection is given; and all kinds of objects are manipulated. This also makes them the main carriers of germs, which can cause disease.
Correct hand hygiene is key to prevention of diseases such as the new COVID-19. That is why the habit of washing hands with soap and water should be naturalized and incorporated as a constant need and a good practice to take care of individual and community health.
“Washing hands with soap is one of the cheapest and most effective things what can be done to protect yourself and others against coronavirus, as well as many other infectious diseases, “says the UNICEF Program Director Sanjay Wijesekera.
As indicated by the World Health Organization (WHO), hand washing reduces the risk of contracting infections such as coronavirus (COVID-19) between 50% and 65%. Experts argue that for wash your hands correctly, the total duration of the process should be between 40 and 60 seconds.
Soaps are surfactants, that is, they reduce the surface tension of the water and make the molecules slippery, making the soapy water adhere, catch and loosen oil and fat and the germs they contain.
That is why the bacteria and viruses They physically escape from your hands when you wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. The substance – solid or liquid – also helps kill germs due to the polar and non-polar ends in its molecular structure.
The polar end helps soap dissolves in water, and the non-polar end helps remove oil from hands. It is the nonpolar end that disrupts the outside of bacteria and viruses, causing them to explode and die.
“At the molecular level, soap helps destroy the elements. How does it work? It has a hybrid structure, that is to say it is made with pin-shaped molecules: a hydrophilic head that ‘gets along’ with water and a hydrophobic glue that ‘gets along’ with fats, “he assured Infobae the engineer Martín Piña, director of the Food Engineering career at the UADE Foundation.
“Some bacteria and viruses,” he continued, “have lipid membranes, the outer part of the coronavirus for example, it has proteins and lipids (fats) and what soap does is breaking the structure of the virus like a knife that penetrates the membrane, opens it and inactivates it ”.
Most commercial supermarket soaps they expire after two or three years. Natural or handmade soaps can expire sooner, within a year, as essential oils and fragrances can get rancid or musty.
“The Cleaning and hygiene products like soap they have an expiration date. Many people do not verify it when they are going to buy it, but it is indicated on the packaging. It depends on the compound of the product, the useful life it will have. If I staked several soaps and have them at home, it is advisable to check the expiration date, “said the expert.
In the United States, most soaps are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which requires that all medications have expiration dates. That’s why an expiration date is stamped on the bar and liquid soap.
However, it is likely to remain effective even after its expiration date. If the soap still foams when you wash your hands, it can still be used effectively, even after the expiration date. It should not matter if the soap is liquid or stick.
In addition to checking the labels, some indicators that people can take into account are: the aromas and the appearance. A soap can expire if it is cracked, dry and foamless, or without the original fragrant smell.
Another sign that the soap is too old is the orange spots. The orange color is due to the soap oil becoming rancid. Although it is still technically safe to use, the soap does not smell very good.
In general, as long as a soap has not rotted, mold has grown or no longer suitably foams, You should still be able to use it effectively after its expiration date.
“Unlike a food, if you use an expired cleaning product in the worst case, you will not get sick but you will not inactivate the virus or kill bacteria and organisms,” he concluded.
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