Hand Washing and Your Health

Chemistry Health Store News Updates

Hey everyone!

Before we get started, let me preface this by saying that this is not to be misconstrued as medical advice. We are a soap company, not a doctor's office - we ask you to use common sense when it comes to your health. This is NOT a plug for our soap. While we would appreciate you using us as your go-to soap maker, ensuring you're using *SOMETHING* is better than encouraging you to purchase our stuff.

Over the past few days, we've received a plethora of messages asking about hand sanitizers, hand washing, soap, and home made hand sanitizer - so I think it's time we set the record straight.

Nothing, and we mean NOTHING out there is better than washing your hands with good ol' soap and water. Even the CDC states that we should only be using hand sanitizer in the absence of soap and water. Hand sanitizer, while better than nothing is often better at inactivating certain microbes and viruses, but may not outright kill them. Moreover, ensure that your hand sanitizer is at least 60% alcohol, and not a concocted blend of vodka and whatever else you've got hiding in the liquor cabinet (or you can just ship those over to us, and we'll properly dri... *ehem* dispose of them for you). 

So the big question is... DOES SOAP KILL GERMS?

No.

So what the heck good does soap do?

Well, going back to our previous post on the history of soap, we know that its a mixture of fat or oil, water, and an alkali salt (in our case sodium hydroxide, but we are working on a liquid soap potassium hydroxide). 

With that said, our skin is covered in natural oils and greases, produced to by our own bodies. Viruses, bacteria, even mold spores get caught up in this oil on our skin, turning us into living petri-dishes, capable of carrying and spreading literally billions of microbes a day. Pretty gross right? More gross, at any given time, its normal to have staph living on your skin.

Ever tried to mix oil and water? Doesn't work very well, does it? Oil repels the water resulting in cool little patterns - only... that's what happens every time you rinse your hands without soap. See, Soap likes water AND oil, because soap molecules are a surfactant. Think of it this way, the soap molecule has one end that loves water (hydrophilic) and one side that loves oil (hydrophobic) - so when you wash your hands, the soap grabs onto both water and oil molecules at the same time - releasing the nasty stuff from the oil, and washing it away with the water. 

For the most effective hand washing, you need to use soap, and you need to be thorough - that space between your fingers, under your nails as much as possible, the back of your hands - and work up a good lather, because the friction helps to free dirt, germs, and oil from your hands. Per the CDC, it is recommended to wash your hands for A MINIMUM OF 20 SECONDS, but this may need longer depending on how dirty your hands are. Then you need to dry your hands. Germs love moisture, and moist hands just bring all that stuff right back onto them.

So what about hand sanitizer?

Well depending on how dirty or greasy your hands get, it might not even work. Moreover, non-alcohol hand sanitizers are exponentially less reliable than the ones with it (though its still technically better than nothing). In fact, there are a plethora of things hand sanitizers don't kill, including C. Diff and Cryptosporidium (and tonight I learned it won't kill off Polio either). Nor will it kill off Ara H1, the allergen in peanuts that sets off allergic reactions in people. Why take the chance on a hand sanitizer when you have access to soap and water? 

 

Here's a cool quick experiment too, one you can show the kids, friends, coworkers, etc. 

What you'll need: 

A jar, Cooking oil, Water, Some legitimate soap (Dawn works just as well for this experiment).

Put cooking oil and water into the jar, screw the lid on and shake. In the next few minutes you'll see the oil and the water separate into two layers.

Add a few drops of soap into the jar, seal it up, and shake it vigorously - you should see a cloudy mixture - the water and oil will no longer separate into layers. This is a perfect example of soap molecules reaching out and binding to both the oil and the water.

 

So what does it all mean? Give me the TL;DR already!

I already told you! NOTHING replaces the efficacy of washing your hands with soap and water in terms of efficacy. Does this mean you suddenly won't get sick? No, but it does mean that you're reducing your chances exponentially, especially if you take into account how often we as people touch our faces, from nervous nail biting, reapplying makeup, blankly staring at a computer screen with your hand on your chin while you try to desperately combat writer's block during a blog write up, to rubbing your eyes during that final hour of work. Do the right thing, if you have access to soap and water USE IT. If not, 60%+ Alcohol sanitizer can help in a pinch. 

 

 

If you made it this far, We've got a quick update. We've just finished up three new scents to carry us into spring:

Honeysuckle Rose - a wonderful floral arrangement that's just the right amount of sweet, to create the perfect balance.

"Beach day" - I mean it really does smell just like a nice clean beach - seaweed, sand, salty air, bonfire, and just a slight background aroma of sunscreen round out a perfect soap - we'll also be offering this as a candle, and a beard oil.

"The Sorceress" - Yes. We ripped it straight out of the pages of Andrej Sapkowski's "The Last Wish". (For those of you Netflix watchers, The Witcher Series). A tantalizingly sweet scent of Lilac and Gooseberry, nestled in a beautiful goat milk bar, that is just as entrancing as Geralt himself claimed it to be. 

 

Still in the works: 

"Snow Balls" (tentative name) Men's powder. a cooling blend of peppermint, and starchy powders to cool and dry intimate areas. Great for general and intensive use... Keep the boy's fresh gents. 

Liquid Soap - we finally got in a big shipment of Potassium Hydroxide. We'll be looking to put these in pump bottles, as well as formulating up a gel solution. 

Candles - we've gotten in our shipment of really nice ceramic dishes to place these in. We're looking forward to finally getting candles rolling out.


Still in the Idea vault: more scents of popular items like our Shimmering body lotion, a pain relieving salve with Arnica and Menthol (working on the FDA requirements on this one), and a more expanded men's line.

 

 

Ok, if you're still reading this - GO WASH YOUR HANDS

 


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