How hand washing works to control coronavirus

Hospital medical staff washing hands with a Teal Mediwash portable sink

What makes good hand hygiene so effective against the virus?

When people wash their hands, they may have a perception that they’re trying to kill (amongst others) coronavirus (COVID-19) – but it is in fact “not a living organism” according to a recent report on the Lancaster Guardian website.

Author Rhona Shennan quotes a statement by The Johns Hopkins Hospital which says that “…the virus is a protein molecule which is covered by a protective layer of fat.”

If it’s not actually alive, therefore, it cannot be “killed” – but it can be caused to decay as quickly as possible.

“The virus is very fragile; the only thing that protects it is a thin outer layer of fat and that is the reason why soap or detergent is the best weapon”.

The foam from a soap and water hand wash helps break down the protective fat layer – as does using hot water advises the statement. And it’s most effective given a full, rigorous twenty second wash, which helps to maximise the amount of foam created.

“Dehumidified, dry, warm and bright environments will degrade the virus faster” says the article, which warns that COVID-19 can remain viable in colder temperatures, with cited examples including air conditioned premises and cars.

Hand washing is still as important as ever in the fight against coronavirus – here’s the science explained by doctors »

The MediWash mobile hand washing station provides complete step-by-step guidance for the washer

And the water comes on automatically – there’s no need to touch any taps.


Portable hand wash units by Teal are available to buy or hire

How to choose the right portable hand wash unit for you »