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The Science of Soap: Why washing your hands and good hygiene is so important against the spread of COVID-19

The top part of the soap molecule bonds with water, while the tail part of the molecule prefers lipids, so it begins to kill the coronavirus immediately.
Credit: KIII

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — There are a large number of viruses around the world known to infect humans and animals. 

According to the World Health Organization, a large family of coronaviruses are divided into subgroups by scientists. They are divided into these groups: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta. 

These four groups of coronaviruses are very common and are the cause for the common cold, the flu, the sniffles, and even a cough. 

The common coronaviruses are known as 229E Alpha, NL63 Alpha, OC43 Beta, and HKU1 Beta. 

Scientists say there are three more less-common coronaviruses known as MERS Cov, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 (otherwise known as COVID-19). 

Some of these coronaviruses can also infect animals, but this is a very rare occurrence. There were reports of a tiger testing positive for the COVID-19 in New York City, but according to the CDC, the tiger had an underlying respiratory illness.

Underneath a microscope, COVID-19 appears to look like a crown, hence the name "corona". 

Underneath the crown-like outer layer of the COVID-19 virus, there are layers of lipids, also known as fats.

When we wash our hands with soap, the top part of the molecules in soap bonds with water, while the tail part of the molecule prefers oil and fats, so it begins to pry open the COVID-19 particle.

When the coronavirus splits open, it’s intestines spill out into the soapy water and it dies, according to the health officials. 

That’s why it is so important to scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds, that way all trapped or killed viruses on your hands can be washed away.

Keeping clean by showering daily, and brushing your teeth at least three times a day, also prevents bacteria to spread and keeps you healthy.

According to the CDC, when cleaning your home, you should always use soap and water first to clean any surface, followed by a disinfectant.

Disinfectants such as bleach can kill bacteria and viruses throughout your home, and keep you and your family in a safe environment. 

For a list of CDC approved disinfectants that you should keep in your home, please refer to their website. 

Many people think products like Clorox Wipes contain tons of bleach, and they do, but the main ingredient is Quaternary Ammonium.

CDC recommends when using products like Clorox Wipes, to always wipe down a surface with the wipe, and allow the solution to remain on the surface for at least 4 minutes to kill all bacteria and viruses. 

After 4 minutes, wipe the surface dry. 

Products such as Fabuloso and some organic solutions are not CDC approved.

The washing of hands and good hygiene remains the cornerstone against the fight against the spread of COVID-19. 

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