Hand washing with soap © Siemens Stiftung 2016 CC BY-SA 4.0 international

Hand washing with soap

Interactive graphic:
Hand washing with soap is shown in three steps. The microscopic processes during the washing process are illustrated in an animation.
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If you wash your hands with water alone, the dirt is not removed well, if at all (step 1). When you use soap, the dirt particles are broken down, which alters their adhesion to your skin (step 2). With (preferably warm) water, the dirt can then be easily rinsed off (step 3). It is best if you rub your hands while rinsing them.
At the end, the “Details” button can be clicked to show an animated microscopic view of the processes that occur during hand washing with soap. The animation shows how the anionic surfactants contained in the soap act on a dirty spot: The dirt is “broken up” and the individual dirt particles are surrounded by the surfactants.
Interactive graphic
Biology; Chemistry
Grade 5 to 6; Grade 7 to 9; Grade 10 to 13
Middle/high school
Hygiene; Tensides
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© Siemens Stiftung 2016