General, Research, Technology

Can bacteria live on a bar of soap?

During the coronavirus pandemic, you and I realizedthe importance of regular hand washing. Maintaining cleanliness is one of the most important weapons in the fight against infectious diseases. Moreover, washing hands with water is not enough to eliminate bacteria and viruses from the skin. Be sure to use soap. Now imagine the situation: you walk into a public toilet and you have to use soap that someone has already touched. What is the likelihood that there are pathogenic bacteria on the surface of this soap? No matter how scary it is to realize this, there are always microbes on the soap, and there may be pathogens among them. And this applies not only to hygiene products in public toilets - there is also soap with potentially dangerous bacteria in your house or apartment. But should we worry about this?

Is it safe to use soap from a public toilet? Let's figure it out

How does the soap wash?

Right now on the surface of your body aremillions of bacteria. And most of them are focused on hair and hands. Since hands are one of the most important human tools, they come into contact with different objects almost every minute. Therefore, it is not surprising that an average person constantly lives on the hands of 840,000 microbes... Most of them are hidden under the nails, onthe lateral parts of the palms and in the numerous folds of the skin. That is why scientists believe that human hands are dirtier than benches in parks and shopping centers. In terms of the level of pollution, they can only be compared with dirty sponges in the kitchen.

It's scary to think how many microbes are in these hands

Based on all of the above, it turns outthat hands should be washed as often as possible. It is important to use soap, but keep in mind that it does not kill bacteria. Soap has the ability to trap water and fat molecules. Scientifically speaking, this property is called surface activity. When soap comes into contact with human skin, it removes grease particles along with water. Together with them, bacteria on the skin are washed into the sewer pipe. The longer a person washes their hands with soap, the less fat and bacteria on their skin become.

See also: Do ​​I need to wash fruits and vegetables with soap?

Bacteria on soap

Based on the above, it turns out that evenIf there is bacteria on the surface of the soap, washing your hands will rinse them into the sink. The fact that soap is unable to carry bacteria was proven in an experiment conducted in 1988. In the course of scientific work, the researchers applied bacteria to the soap E. coli (Escherichia coli) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pseudomonas aeruginosa). A group of volunteers were then asked to wash their hands using contaminated soap. After that, their hands were checked for the presence of dangerous bacteria. As expected, the subjects' hands were clean. The results of the scientific work were published in the journal Epidemiology and Infection.

Colibacillus under the microscope

In stores you can buy the so-calledantibacterial soap, which contains antibiotics. Only now there is practically no sense from it. The fact is that the added agents kill only certain groups of bacteria, while the rest remain alive. And there is no use in destroying them - they are still washed off into the sink. Given the high cost of antibacterial soap, it is best not to use it at all in the fight against bacteria. It is easier and cheaper to buy inexpensive, ordinary soap. And wash your hands before and after eating, and always after returning from the street.

Many people believe that antibacterial soap is useless.

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If possible, wash your hands regularly with water andno soap, antiseptics can come to the rescue. There are at least two articles on this topic on our site. In one of them, my colleague Artem Sutyagin told how to make an antiseptic at home. In this article, he told what components are needed for this, where to buy them and in what ratio to mix. And in this article, the author of Daria Eletskaya told how antibacterial hand gel works. It turned out very informative, so I strongly recommend reading the articles right now!