If you’re a fan of Food Network or Cooking Channel, you’ve probably heard of Alton Brown, iconic host of the show “Good Eats.” His show aired from 1999 to 2012 and was revived in 2019 with brand-new episodes.
The show is labeled as a “cooking/science/history/comedy show” that explores the history of different food, cooking equipment, and the science and technique behind cooking.
Brown says the show was inspired by Julia Child, “Monty Python,” and Mr. Wizard, which definitely shows in his engaging presentations.
Addressing an important question during the coronavirus pandemic
In a just-released video from Brown, the “Good Eats” host is ecstatic to finally address a topic that has been on his mind for years: the controversial “soap vs. hand sanitizer” debate.
“Greetings humankind as we stand on the precipice of annihilation. I just want to say I’m happy that someone finally wants to talk about handwashing.” —Alton Brown
In the video, he explains why soap is the best option to get rid of germs on your hands, and he also gives viewers an entertaining and humorous spin on the art of handwashing. Brown takes washing your hands to a whole new level, which we all need to know, for everyday life, especially during our current times.
“I’ve been wanting to do a hand-washing video for 20 years, but everybody was like, “Oh no. Hygiene is boring. Do cheese pulls.’ Well, what do you think is gonna save us now? Cheese pulls, nanorobots, lasers, hot yoga? I don’t think so!” he says.
No need to fight over the hand sanitizer!
Brown goes on to explain that while we are all fighting over hand sanitizer at our local Walmart or grocery store, the stuff that can really save us is plain old soap — not antibacterial soap.
“Antibacterial soap is useless!” Brown says.
So what’s wrong with antibacterial soap? Many of these soaps contain an active ingredient called triclosan. Here’s what Harvard Medical School has to say about the issue:
“Triclosan in the amounts used in soap doesn’t kill many bacteria (concentrations of 0.2% or less), but it keeps the counts down partly because it has residual activity.” —Harvard Medical School
Basically, this means that bacteria exposed to lower levels of the chemical triclosan aren’t killed off completely. Then, they may mutate “so their offspring are more resistant to triclosan and, ultimately, to antibiotics as well,” according to Harvard Medical School.
Why soap works so well to kill bacteria
During his video, Brown explains why soap works so well to kill bacteria. The reason involves something called amphiphiles.
“First, when you lather up your mitts with soap and water, you release amphiphiles, molecules in soap that have hydrophilic or water-loving heads and hydrophobic or water-hating tails, which means these guys can hold things together that don’t naturally get along, like oil and water,” Brown explained.
This means, basically, that when you come into contact with germs, or something like coronavirus, you are now stuck with it on your hands … unless you do something about it, like washing your hands.
“With proper agitation, amphiphiles in soap water can emulsify with this nastiness removing it from your skin and escorting it down the drain.” —Alton Brown
Hand sanitizers aren’t as effective, because they can’t emulsify viruses or reach them all, Brown adds.
The best handwashing method ever!
Brown ends his instructive video by showing everyone how to effectively wash their hands to protect from viruses like the coronavirus. He prefers to use bar soap over liquid soap because bar soap “is more efficient” and easier on the environment.
Then he reveals the secret to effective handwashing: the 30-second wash rule.
- Use either hot or cold water (it doesn’t matter which) and wet your hands thoroughly.
- Lather up your hands for 5 seconds and put the soap down.
- Next, wring your hands together for 5 seconds.
- Then, rub the back of each hand, each for 5 seconds.
- The next step is to clean your finger nails for 5 seconds on each hand.
- Rub in-between your fingers for 5 seconds.
- Finally, rinse the soap bar off and then rinse your hands for at least 5 seconds.
“That’s more like 45 seconds. And I do this like five times a day,” Brown admits.
Will this method guarantee that your hands remain virus-free? No, but it helps, Brown says.
Watch Brown’s video below to see his thorough handwashing demonstration.
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