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Why does washing your hands for twenty seconds help stop the spread of coronavirus?

March 24, 2020 Updated: September 8, 2020

washing hands in a sink

We’ve all seen it in the news: wash your hands for twenty seconds to help kill any viruses you might have picked up. But why twenty seconds? Is it an arbitrary rule or is there actually something magic about that length of time? Is there a special kind of soap you need or will any old soap do?

The answer is rooted in a bit of basic chemistry.

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