Soap, and my thoughts on it.

Good evening.

Today, well tonight, I’d like to discuss a very serious matter with you. Soap; specifically the different methods of dispensing it, and the antibacterial effects of different types of it.

For the sake of this article, let’s assume you accidently leant in a petri dish of deadly Ebola.

You have the traditional bar of soap. Assuming it’s a solid bar with no case, then you’d think  that any bacteria left on it would be killed by either the dryness, the alkalinity, (or possibly acidity, but I don’t recall a soap that advertised itself as acidic) or an antibacterial agent. That’s not the case. Bacteria on the bar will evolve right before your eyes. Well, not really right before your eyes, unless you’re holding the soap in front of your face; and even then you wouldn’t see them. But some bacteria transferred to the soap may be able to survive there, whether through tolerance of alkalinity or other antibacterial agents, or through a process such as anthrax’s spores, which tend to survive whatever you do to them.

While the soap and water may allow you to wash the Ebola off your hands, you still have issues when someone else uses the soap. The Ebola that was able to survive there has now reproduced, and now your spouse is coughing up blood, and bleeding from every orifice you can think of.

Of course, it’ll be pretty rare to come across a bacterium that can thrive on soap, partially because there’s no food there, mostly because bacteria can’t evolve to PH as rapidly as they can to drugs. All their biological processes have optimum ranges of temperature, PH, substrate concentrations etc. that they need to operate properly, slow a few of these down and most bacteria will die. But for the ones that can live there, I think we can agree that bars of soap are bad.

So then you have soap dispensers. We’ll start with the simple pump action ones. (That’s not a shotgun that fires soap at people).

They’re quite simple, you put your hand under the nozzle, press the pump and soap comes out. Usually liquid soap, getting the bars through the tube is awkward. This has advantages, the liquid soaps can more effectively cover the entire hand, and killing everything they can everywhere. Obviously you have issues with the resistant remnants still growing on the hand, but they’re not left on the soap, that’s safe in the soap reservoir. Sounds good?

But if you look back, press the pump. That’s an un-cleaned hand, you wash them and go away, then what does the bacterium do? Well it’s sitting on a used pump it’s subjected to a small dose of the soap, there’s going to be some there, whether from splashing, people going back for seconds, or just having flowed  from the nozzle. Well if you can recall basic below-GCSE science, then you’ll know that’s how immunisation works, so these bacteria evolve or adapt to the soap and breed as best they can.

So when little Jim comes along to wash his hands, presses the pump, his hands get a nice dose of anti-bacterial resistant Ebola, and then you’ve got the bleeding and dying again.

Well this problem is solved by the automatic soap dispenser. You know the ones, usually refillable, have some form of motion or heat sensor, which detects a hand beneath it and dispenses soap for you. Cuts out the problems with the pump, but opens up a new issue, (well an old issue that I’ve avoided mentioning until now because I wanted something new in this paragraph,) can you guess what it is? The tap, or the faucet to you Americans. You still have to turn the tap on to wash the soap off. If you turn the tap on before getting the soap, you give it a full dose of bacteria, which you immediately pick up again after you’ve washed the soap off. You turn it on after soaping up, well you’ve put soap and bacteria on there, and eventually you’ll get the immunising  process working, and you’ve got Ebola for anyone who’s washed their hands, gone for a glass of water, or to brush their teeth, unless they do that in the shower. Sounds pretty odd to me but I’ve been told by several people (well, Americans) that brushing your teeth in the shower if normal, and that everyone does it.

So those aside, there are the antibacterial hand creams (or something like that) that my Grandmother was fond of, until she forgot about them. A bottle of soapy stuff that kills the bacteria on your hands, and the cream evaporates, or soaks into your hand or something. You avoid the tap problem all together. But then there’s still the bottle. The bottle doesn’t get the same antibacterial treatment, so you handle that you pick it all up again.

So finally, you have a combination of the previous two. The latter in an automatic dispenser, you may have seen those lining walls in NHS hospitals. (Although not all of them were automatic, and I don’t know about their presence in non-NHS hospitals.) Seems perfect? If yes, your idea of perfection is pretty odd. Come on, you go for a hand cream dispenser over Jeri Ryan, or Omega Particles? If yes, you’re an idiot.

I could probably find flaws in those three too, but then this post would go on forever and I kind of want to sleep at some point, so let’s assume this topic is resolved, if just to save my sanity. Or atleast what little of it is left.

I hope you found this informative, and that I haven’t turned you into germaphobes/Mysophobics. (Mysophobia, the pathological fear of contamination and germs.) Or that I have, if that’s a better state of being, you decide. But don’t tell me, because I don’t care what you think. Why? Because you don’t exist. Seriously, no one reads these things. I don’t know why I even write them.

I guess by extension you get Mysophilia, attraction to or sexual arousal from contamination, germs. Well, dirty or soiled objects/material/people according to Wikipedia.

Thanks for reading, ta-ta.

Love Willski.


P.S. Don’t catch Ebola.



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