Soap molecules are among your best COVID-19 defenses

Wash your hands. 
Wash your hands. 
Wash your hands.

Since COVID-19 unleashed itself on the world earlier this year, we have heard the continuous refrain to wash our hands, and wash them often, in the fight against the spread of the deadly virus.

Health experts, public service announcements, billboards, Internet memes and even TV commercials constantly remind us that clean hands, and proper hand-washing, is one of our best defenses against the coronavirus.

The rule of thumb requires scrubbing hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds or for about the same amount of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. That time frame is important in that it allows surfactant molecules with two ends (hydrophilic = water loving and lipophilic = fat loving) to form lather or foam and interact with oil, dirt and cell membranes of biological materials, such as bacteria and viruses. During this step, the surfactant molecules, aided by the water, can encapsulate and wash away that oil, dirt and biological matter. 

“Soap molecules basically make the insoluble viral molecules easily soluble in water and thus transportable off of your hands and down your drain,” explained Rajesh Patel, Sales Development Manager and Body Wash Expert at Novecare. 

“Rinsing and scrubbing all surfaces of the hand — from palm and dorsal (or back) side to between fingers and underneath nails — for 20 seconds gives the soap and water molecules enough time to do their job effectively and rinse away dirt, oil and fat and kill harmful bacteria and viruses.” In other words, the longer you wash your hands, the better, Raj added. 

Soap molecules basically make the insoluble viral molecules easily soluble in water and thus transportable off of your hands and down your drain.

Rajesh Patel, Sales Development Manager and Body Wash Expert, Solvay Novecare

Avoiding dry, chapped skin from hand soaps

Longer handwashing comes with a caveat in that hot water and harsh surfactants (sulfates) can lead to dry, cracked, chapped and otherwise damaged hands, so it is best to select soaps that are mild to the skin, but effective in removing oil and dirt without compromising any germ-fighting properties.


For this, Solvay’s Novecare business has developed a portfolio of ingredients for creating mild soaps, such as Glycinates (Geropon® CG 3S), Taurates (Geropon®T 77 PC), Sultaines (Mackam® CBS 50 G and Mackam® 50 SB) and Sulfosuccinates (Mackanate EL P). Novecare also offers emollients, such as Mackaderm LIA and Mackaderm COCOA and humectants Mackderm LAME 100, that can be added to formulations to replenish skin with needed moisturizers. The Novecare Research and Innovation (R&I) team devotes itself to working with customers to incorporate these ingredients into new formulations for mild hand soaps and body wash products, as well as other personal care products.

“But our objective in personal care goes beyond merely just selling ingredients to our customers,” Raj added. “We make it our priority to provide them with the innovations and technical solutions they need to answer consumer demands and we truly believe in serving as partners to help customers minimize any challenges they might be facing during unprecedented, troubling times like we face in this era of COVID-19.”