Antibacterial soap is not more effective in community-settings and under normal use conditions (i.e. when hands are not washed for as long and thoroughly as in laboratory experiments). This is thought to be because of the way soap works at a microbiological level (see ‘Why does handwashing with soap work so well to prevent COVID-19?’) and because it takes a while for the antimicrobial properties to be activated and by this time most pathogens have already been removed from hands. Antimicrobial soap is recommended in health care facilities since it is important to ensure that sinks and drains don’t become reservoirs for pathogens in these settings.
Using nicer soap may make handwashing more desirable and therefore contribute to the development of good habits. In particular liquid soap is considered more desirable in many settings.
Want to know more about COVID-19 and handwashing?
- Why does handwashing with soap work so well to prevent COVID-19?
- Can ash be used for handwashing?
- Should we be promoting handwashing with chlorinated water?
- What can we do where soap is scarce?
- Can soapy water be used?
- Is alcohol-based hand rub better than soap?
- Should we be promoting handwashing at different times during the COVID-19 outbreak?
- What can we do in areas with real water scarcity?
- Can I use greywater or water that is not clean for handwashing?
- Is it safe for people to share handwashing water?
- Do public handwashing facilities pose a risk?
- Can bar soap spread COVID-19?
- What kinds of handwashing facilities should we construct?
- How should hands be dried?