5 doctors weighed in:
Is it the soap or water that cleans your hands?
5 doctors weighed in

Dr. Arthur Heller
Internal Medicine - Gastroenterology
4 doctors agree
In brief: Yes to both
Water helps to mechanically and chemically remove dirt and water soluble substances.
Soap dissolves fatty substances, oils, grease, etc. Soap helps destroy viruses, bacteria by messing with their cell walls; water is better than nothing. Alcohol based hand cleaners, e.g. Purell don't get rid off dirt, but can destroy viruses and bacteria-not spores though-not good enough for c. Diff diarrheas.

In brief: Yes to both
Water helps to mechanically and chemically remove dirt and water soluble substances.
Soap dissolves fatty substances, oils, grease, etc. Soap helps destroy viruses, bacteria by messing with their cell walls; water is better than nothing. Alcohol based hand cleaners, e.g. Purell don't get rid off dirt, but can destroy viruses and bacteria-not spores though-not good enough for c. Diff diarrheas.
Dr. Arthur Heller
Dr. Arthur Heller
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