With the Coronavirus in full swing around the globe, I wanted an answer to this, particularly since my dad has just been diagnosed with Leukaemia.

We can't find hand wash anywhere but instead I just bought some Radox shower gel and put that in a hand soap bottle.

Is there a significant difference between hand soap and shower gel when it comes to killing off germs/viruses? Or is the case that both are detergents and it's all around marketing?

  • $\begingroup$ No significant difference, both will disrupt the lipid bilayer of virus particles $\endgroup$
    – Waylander
    Mar 19, 2020 at 10:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Waylander are you saying the alcohol component in sanitizers is not needed? That common detergent 'soaps' will kill virus? $\endgroup$ Mar 19, 2020 at 13:10
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    $\begingroup$ Alcohol based sanitisers and soaps are two different things. With a sanitiser you need an alcohol concentration of at least 60% and a long contact time. Common detergents (e.g. hand soap) do 2 things, they break up the lipid bilayer of virus particles and they facilitiate the mechanical removal of the virus from a surface (provided you rinse it off well). A soap is not a sanitiser and a sanitiser is not a soap, you use them under different circumstances. $\endgroup$
    – Waylander
    Mar 19, 2020 at 13:15
  • $\begingroup$ @MarsJarsGuitars-n-Chars Since you ask, yes soap does kill viruses vox.com/science-and-health/2020/3/11/21173187/… $\endgroup$
    – Waylander
    Mar 19, 2020 at 13:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Waylander Awesome. Thanks. Makes good sense. Wonder why this is not being stressed in news reports, etc.. The mechanical action I knew about. Strange this is not more common knowledge. $\endgroup$ Mar 19, 2020 at 17:04


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