Physicists have discovered the perfect way to wash your hands to eliminate bacteria and viruses (including Covid)

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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According to physicists, it takes at least 20 seconds to clear bacteria and viruses from your hands - time to sing 'Happy Birthday!'

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According to physicists, it takes at least 20 seconds to clear bacteria and viruses from the hands.





Un team of British physicists has come up with the perfect method for washing hands, being certain that it has eliminated all bacteria and viruses - including the new and fearsome Coronavirus. It only takes 20 seconds, a reasonable time and in line with what experts have advised so far.

Experts have created a simple mathematical model to simulate the movement of bacterial and viral particles on the hands during washing. In the model, the hands are represented by two rough surfaces moving on each other (to simulate hands rubbing together), separated by a thin film of liquid. The particles are well anchored to rough surfaces, and some effort is required to allow the particles to detach and end up in the fluid: a faster movement of the 'hands' creates a stronger fluid flow, able to remove the particles more easily . Conversely, if you wash your hands slowly, or without energy, the forces created by the rubbing are not enough to make the particles slip away. The same also happens when you try to remove a stain from a shirt: a vigorous and fast rubbing will remove the stain more easily.

(Read also: The scientist dad and the experiment with his daughter to demonstrate the importance of washing hands)

The English study did not take into account the effectiveness of soap in removing bacteria and germs from our hands: soap not only eliminates dirt, but also destroys the membrane that surrounds viruses and bacteria by destroying them.

How do we calculate the 20 seconds it takes for the particles to slip out of our hands? the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests singing the song 'Happy Birthday to You!' twice. from start to finish. It is a simple and effective way, even to be taught to children about proper hand hygiene - vital in this pandemic period.



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