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Does it matter what type of soap I use to wash my hands? (Time Magazine)

Probably not. Any kind of soap, used properly with water for the recommended 20 seconds of handwashing, will work to remove SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from your hands. And since we’re dealing with a virus, antibacterial soap doesn’t do anything extra to help.

Soap has a hydrophobic end (meaning it repels and doesn’t mix with water) that binds with oils, and breaks down the oily lipid molecules that make up the membrane of SARS-CoV-2, according to Dr. Mary Stevenson, an assistant professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Health. The virus breaks apart and becomes trapped in the soap bubbles, which wash away in the water.

Stevenson recommends washing your hands in lukewarm water. Extremely hot water is more likely to harm your skin, and doesn’t do anything extra to kill the virus. A lukewarm temperature will keep your hands comfortable and strip away less moisture. Once you’re done washing, it is important to dry your hands on a clean towel. Cloth or paper towels both work well; if you’re at home, Stevenson advises keeping a rotation of clean hand towels that are traded out and washed at least once a day to avoid wasting disposable towels. If you’re washing your hands in a public restroom, use a clean and dry paper towel.