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Memo to People Hunting Sanitizer: Soap Is Better

It functions like a 'demolition team' against the coronavirus, explains scientist
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2020 10:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – The coronavirus has people freaking out about toilet paper, which may seem a little odd. It's a little easier to understand the run on hand sanitizers, which are now hard to find on store shelves. But the CDC and others are emphasizing a key point: Hand-washing with ordinary soap and water, for 20 seconds, is actually better than using hand sanitizers when it comes to COVID-19. The following explain and amplify the point:

  • CDC guidance: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "recommends washing hands with soap and water whenever possible because handwashing reduces the amounts of all types of germs and chemicals on hands," reads the CDC advisory. "But if soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others."
  • Agreement: "Sanitizer might feel like a modern-day, scientific, and more clinical upgrade to soap," writes Brian Resnick at Vox. "But I'm here to tell you that soap—all sorts of it: liquid, solid, honeysuckle-scented, the versions inexplicably only marketed to men or women—is a badass, and even more routinely effective than hand sanitizer. We should be excited to use it, as much as possible." His piece is based on an interview with Palli Thordarson, a chemistry professor at the University of New South Wales.

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