Alton Brown Explains Why Soap Is Better Than Hand Sanitizer During an Amusing Handwashing Tutorial

The fabulously quirky food expert and self-proclaimed Thyme Lord Alton Brown (previously) quite amusingly shared why soap is infinitely better at staving off germs and viruses than hand sanitizer while demonstrating his 30 second handwashing process. Brown explains that the soap creates amphiphilic emulsifications that washes it all away.

The proper agitation amplifiers in soap water can emulsify with this nastiness removing it from your skin and escorting it down the drain. But wait there’s actually more. A virus, like coronavirus is protected by a kind of coat made of fat-like substances and soap’s amphiphiles can just literally take hold of that coat and pull it away leaving the virus feeling naked and afraid’ and mostly dead. Alcohol-based sanitizers can kill viruses but since
they can’t emulsify the nastiness that you got on your hands they can’t physically remove the viruses or even actually reach them all which is why I count on soap.

Brown also shows another way to completely wash hands, but this extreme method is not suggested.

Alton Brown Handwashing

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.