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How Soap ‘Kills’ Coronavirus

Hi good morning guys. So today i read an interesting study on how soap kills coronavirus and how its way more effective than hand sanitizer. Ok not really kill but deactivate the virus. You see virus is actually not ‘alive’ in the air. It needs a host to become alive ( hence its a virus. Its literally a parasite!)
So anyways, these viruses, when in air, will have to drop somewhere. It can be on the surface of something you will touch, or it can be your skin. Now when it gets on your skin, these viruses are like a velcro, it really glues to your skin. 

Since the virus cant activate on your skin surface, thats fine and you can just ‘leave’ it there and it may shed off within 24-48 hours (usually when you shower every 12 hours gone already). But if lets say its on your hands (which is the most probable since you are touching things around), it can get into your body via your nose, or mouth and thats when the virus becomes ‘alive’, mutating and infecting your cells one by one👹

So how do you avoid this? Of course by removing the virus from your skin (ie hands). How so: by finding a solution that would remove the ‘glue’ that binds to your skin.

Now heres how a virus looks like. It has envelope thats a lipid (oily substance). Thats one of the barrier on virus capsule.  When you break it; you de-activate the virus (ie kill it). To do that you will need something that is ‘amphiphiles’ (a oil and water loving substance). Something like this: 

Now soaps are amphiles. Its traditionally made by oil (fatty acids) saponified by lye, to make the fatty acids into amphiphiles that can bind onto oily substance, and removed by water. 

Nowadays we don’t really use these soaps anymore (unless you are making it on your own) but use detergent (SLS) like cleaners which according to research may work as well. But can get very drying. (So if you are making cp soaps, its much less drying since you have to wash your hands constantly with this virus)

Another amphiphiles is alcohol. Equally, using alcohol above 60% can dissolve the lipid layer, killing the virus. But here is the problem: you need to use a lot of alcohol. And the problem with sanitizers are: it needs to be able to reach every corner of your hands before it evaporates (alcohol evaporates very fast). 

Usually when using hand sanitizers, one always misses the fold between the fingers. Hence soaps are actually better in killing the virus. Wash your hands by leaving the soap on your hands for 20second could potentially kill the virus. You cant do that with alcohol unless you soak your hands in it.

But now, in terms of convineance, of course soap is not so convinenat to bring around. But heres a thought, why not use soap that is concentrated & ‘watery’ that can be sprayed on hand and wiped off with damp tissue/ wipes? 

Isnt it better to do that: something that would 100% cleans rather than hand sanitizer that might not be effective? 

I made myself the watery liquid soap and its actually very easy to make! 

P/S: you cant just dilute the existing liquid soap you have at home as it will make the soap very watery; more water less soap so not enough molecules that can penetrate the virus's lipid layer. Must use concentrated soap.

Heres how to make it:

 Coconut soap:
  1. 100g SoapLab’s Coconut Soap Paste
  2. 400g distilled water
  3. 15g eucalyptus oil or tea tree oil or rosemary oil or ginger oil

Mix all, leave overnight. Once paste have diluted, pour into spray bottle. Spray on hands and leave for 20seconds. Wipe with wet wipes.

  1. 1kg SoapLab’s Coconut Liquid Soap (its concentrated and its already watery so no need to further dilute)
  2. 30g eucalyptus oil or tea tree oil or rosemary oil or ginger oil

Mix all together and pour into spray bottle. Spray on hand, leave for 20seconds and wipe using wet wipes.

Olive soap (Castile soap)
  1. 100g SoapLab’s Castile Soap Paste
  2. 500g distilled water
  3. 20g eucalyptus oil or tea tree oil or rosemary oil or ginger oil

Mix all, leave overnight. Once paste have diluted, pour into spray bottle. Spray on hands and leave for 20seconds. Wipe with wet wipes.

*if use normal water please discard after 2 weeks as it will reduce the shelf life. If use distilled water (air suling) the shelf life will be 6 months.

If you prefer to make hand sanitizer; click here for recipe.

If you are not in Malaysia or dont have any soaplab's materials; you can also make this using soaps that are concentrated. Try looking for 30% or more concentrated surfactants (like pure cocoamidopropyl betaine, pure SLS/SLES etc) and dilute it as above (replace the paste recipes)
regular soaps are already diluted and thickened after that. therefore if you further dilute it, it will only have 10% or lesser surfactants that will be killing the virus. Or, make your own liquid/ Solid soap using KOH/ NaOH and oils. Click here for recipes

Buy Kits To Make:


  1. Vermeil T, Peters A, Kilpatrick C, Pires D, Allegranzi B, Pittet D. Hand hygiene in hospitals: anatomy of a revolution. J. Hosp. Infect. 2019 Apr;101(4):383-392.
  2. Malherbe H, Nugier A, Clément J, Lamboy B. [Evidence-based and promising interventions to prevent infectious diseases among youth as a result of poor hand hygiene in schools: a literature review]. Sante Publique. 2013 Jan-Feb;25 Suppl 1:57-63
  3. Kirk J, Kendall A, Marx JF, Pincock T, Young E, Hughes JM, Landers T. Point of care hand hygiene-where's the rub? A survey of US and Canadian health care workers' knowledge, attitudes, and practices. Am J Infect Control. 2016 Oct 01;44(10):1095-1101
  4. CDC

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