How Washing With Soap Kills Viruses of All Kinds

In a bubbly report for Vox, producer Madeline Marshall shared exactly why viruses of any and all kinds are no match for washing with plain old bar of soap. Soap has specific amphiphilic properties that attach and completely annihilate disease-ridden molecules.

What Soap Does to Viruses

Marshall explains that viruses are surrounded by a layer of fat, as Alton Brown previously demonstrated. This layer of fat cannot be washed off with just water as the two substances don’t mix. The addition of soap not only cuts through the two and creates a potent emulsion that washes away the virus for good.

Oil Water Soap emulsion

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.