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Tue May 12, 2020, 12:39 PM

Making Masks Active with Soap to Protect Against Coronavirus

Last edited Tue May 12, 2020, 03:15 PM - Edit history (1)

Soap has emerged as one of the most effective weapons to combat coronavirus – it’s why washing hands thoroughly has become even more important during the pandemic. Texas Engineering researchers are teaming up with a group from the University of Florida to infuse chemicals in soap into face masks, enhancing their ability to protect people from SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 disease it causes.

Led by Navid Saleh, an associate professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, the research team from the two universities landed a $197,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Rapid Response Research program to pursue the project. The goal is to make face masks active by infusing soap molecules and other materials into the passive mask surfaces. This phased project will begin with a do-it-yourself kit for health care workers and others to add a soap solution to strengthen masks’ defenses against coronavirus.

The “surfactant” chemicals in soap bind with the virus and essentially take it apart. The experiment involves testing several different treatments on masks and measuring how well the chemicals deactivate the virus. The key is to choose the surfactants with the right properties to attach to mask surfaces, stay there during reuse and render the function of virus inactivation. The active masks will be tested for a range of respiratory viruses, in addition to SARS-CoV-2 strains.


More at link:
https://www.engr.utexas.edu/news/archive/8934-making-masks-active-with-soap-to-protect-against-coronavirus

This looks like a cool idea. Hook 'em Horns!

Edited to Add: Please do not ingest soap or think that making a SOAPY mask is the intent of this OP, it is not. The intent of this OP was to highlight some research that is being done looking at NANO fibers and particles of surfactants and their POSSIBLE ability to deactivate the virus.

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Arrow 62 replies Author Time Post
Reply Making Masks Active with Soap to Protect Against Coronavirus (Original post)
cayugafalls May 2020 OP
42bambi May 2020 #1
cayugafalls May 2020 #3
Patterson May 2020 #11
cayugafalls May 2020 #12
eleny May 2020 #30
cayugafalls May 2020 #40
eleny May 2020 #42
cayugafalls May 2020 #43
eleny May 2020 #47
Blue_true May 2020 #50
eleny May 2020 #51
Blue_true May 2020 #55
Blue_true May 2020 #56
eleny May 2020 #57
Blue_true May 2020 #58
StarryNite May 2020 #39
Goonch May 2020 #2
cayugafalls May 2020 #4
stillcool May 2020 #5
cayugafalls May 2020 #7
ProfessorGAC May 2020 #18
cayugafalls May 2020 #32
PatSeg May 2020 #35
cayugafalls May 2020 #38
PatSeg May 2020 #41
grumpyduck May 2020 #6
cayugafalls May 2020 #8
llmart May 2020 #10
Harker May 2020 #29
Hugin May 2020 #9
EarnestPutz May 2020 #13
Doremus May 2020 #19
EarnestPutz May 2020 #34
Bayard May 2020 #14
tinrobot May 2020 #15
Blue_true May 2020 #52
cayugafalls May 2020 #33
diva77 May 2020 #16
cayugafalls May 2020 #24
diva77 May 2020 #25
eleny May 2020 #48
Bayard May 2020 #62
Sogo May 2020 #37
ProfessorGAC May 2020 #17
Hugin May 2020 #20
ProfessorGAC May 2020 #21
Hugin May 2020 #22
I_UndergroundPanther May 2020 #27
ProfessorGAC May 2020 #44
eleny May 2020 #49
ProfessorGAC May 2020 #53
eleny May 2020 #54
ProfessorGAC May 2020 #59
eleny May 2020 #60
diva77 May 2020 #23
ProfessorGAC May 2020 #45
lunatica May 2020 #26
TNNurse May 2020 #28
Mr.Bill May 2020 #31
ProfessorGAC May 2020 #46
cayugafalls May 2020 #36
frazzled May 2020 #61

Response to cayugafalls (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:49 PM

1. When I've washed my homemade cotton masks with liquid hand soap I

didn't rinse them. My thinking was, why not, I breathe the soapy water while washing my hands, hence my decision.

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Response to 42bambi (Reply #1)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:57 PM

3. That makes sense. I think I will start not rinsing mine as well as I have been.

It can't hurt. I use organic soaps so nothing in there can really hurt me.

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Response to cayugafalls (Reply #3)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:10 PM

11. The soap will dry. Then maybe the moisture in your breath will activate it

enough to work on the virus.

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Response to Patterson (Reply #11)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:14 PM

12. Yeah, in thinking about my mask, it has an removable filter.

I'll probably just start by soaking that in solution and letting it dry. That way it is not directly touching my face and yet it will still get some condensate.

I don't know though, I just think it is a cool idea and definitely these guys were thinking outside of the soapbox...

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Response to cayugafalls (Reply #12)

Tue May 12, 2020, 03:05 PM

30. Thanks for the idea

We use removable filters, too. Husband just tossed his today. I have a lot of filter material on hand but I hate to run out if we need it even a year from now. Better to have some leftover to share.

We're starting to run a little low on one container of anti-viral wipes. That gave me pause even though we've got several containers left. Now we're relying more on dish detergent and hand soap to clean certain surfaces where it makes sense not to waste a wipe.

Thanks again!

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Response to eleny (Reply #30)

Tue May 12, 2020, 03:37 PM

40. Soapy wipes are great for replacement disinfecting wipes when no other option exists.

Yes, I used the last of my wipes today on our groceries. So soapy wipes will be my go to from now on. I do use organic soap so I am not to worried though.

I must amend my statement on the soap in the removable filter. I can't recommend that, I do not want to be responsible for any allergic or other negative reaction to the soap residue.

Please stay well.

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Response to cayugafalls (Reply #40)

Tue May 12, 2020, 03:56 PM

42. I understand how you feel about saying what you might do

We're each responsible to do our own research and decide. I'm considering a light spritzing of the shinier side of the filter I'm using. There's a matte side and a less matte side. The less matte faces outward. It's probably good just as it is. Right now we don't go anywhere except to pick up groceries, go to the mailbox or drop something off outside the P.O. . But it's good to explore additional safety precautions.

As complicated as this virus is and how it's mutating it's fascinating that simple soap destroys its outer layer. For now, that is.

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Response to eleny (Reply #42)

Tue May 12, 2020, 04:09 PM

43. What do you use for a filter? I use Shop Towels folded in half.

Supposedly, they did well in testing and I have a ton of them.

We are the same, Grocery, mailbox and Post Office drop box.

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Response to cayugafalls (Reply #43)

Tue May 12, 2020, 04:28 PM

47. Filtrete F1 hepa air filters

According to Filtrete there's no fiberglass in them. Taking the filters apart wasn't even hard, just a little time consuming. So I did it while watching tv.

Just for an fyi, I learned about the filters and how to take them apart from SewCanShe on YouTube. Her video is called "DIY Face Mask Filter with HEPA Fabric".

The only thing we do differently is to just use two sections of filter and insert it into our mask. If I use five sections, pleat and stitch them like she does we wouldn't be able to breath. My masks are the pleated style for the lay person. So a pleated mask with a thick, pleated filter doesn't work. She sews the flatter Olson style mask.

I would have posted the video url but I'm not sure if you want that here in your thread.

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Response to eleny (Reply #30)

Tue May 12, 2020, 05:01 PM

50. You can make your own hand wipes at home.

There are a couple paths you can take. One is to use alcohol above 70%. The other is to use hand sanitizer. The only other things you would need is a plastic container with a lid and dry wipe cloths or old clothing that you can cut into wipes.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #50)

Tue May 12, 2020, 05:13 PM

51. I'd do that but we don't have much hand sani or alcohol right now

But I'll start putting it on my grocery pick up list. I started doing that with peroxide right away and after a month we were able to get the limit of two bottles. Same with liquid laundry bleach. So it's time for the rubbing alcohol pursuit, lol.

Years ago I saw some instructions on cutting a roll of kitchen paper towels in half, putting them into a container and pouring the liquid disinfectant into the container to saturate the towels. I suppose we could just spritz some flannel squares with alcohol to clean things. Paper towels are even precious right now, too. Jeez!

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Response to eleny (Reply #51)

Tue May 12, 2020, 05:48 PM

55. Please people, this is NO ad, just information, don't freaking alert.

I buy natural oils for me products. Today I noticed that two of the companies made hand sanitizer in small or bulk (like pallets). One use 70% plus alcohol and aloe, the other use 75% alcohol and aloe. The sanitizers were both inexpensive, so neither company is trying to gouge.

The companies are:

Bulkapothacary.com: makes the 70%+ version. It's information page on the product was easier to understand on quantities.

Planttherapy.com: makes the 75%+ version. It's product page was a little harder to understand, but the company has an excellent "chat" ap that allows you to talk with someone real time.

For my raw materials, Planttherapy has always been very fast and efficient on deliveries. BulkApoco is good, but not as fast as PT.

I don't know whether either company has alcohol, I would guess that they do, but since I don't need IPA for my intermediates, I have never looked for it.

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Response to eleny (Reply #51)

Tue May 12, 2020, 05:55 PM

56. Old teeshirts, old blouses, old jeans, slacks, shorts, even cotton underwear will work just fine. nt

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #56)

Tue May 12, 2020, 05:57 PM

57. In other words - rags like mom used to use

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Response to eleny (Reply #57)

Tue May 12, 2020, 06:00 PM

58. Yep. nt

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Response to 42bambi (Reply #1)

Tue May 12, 2020, 03:31 PM

39. That's a great idea!

I'm going to not rinse mine from now on.

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Response to cayugafalls (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:55 PM

2. Super Soap

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Response to Goonch (Reply #2)

Tue May 12, 2020, 12:58 PM

4. I love that trump baby blimp...

It is so funny!

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Response to cayugafalls (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:00 PM

5. huh...wonder if rubbing a bar of soap...

on the interfacing might help

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Response to stillcool (Reply #5)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:05 PM

7. Or soaking the middle layer in soapy solution and letting it dry, then stitching it in.

Last edited Tue May 12, 2020, 03:21 PM - Edit history (1)

Or using a removable middle layer that can be taken out before washing the mask and soaking the middle layer each time before use.

However, I think the key is going to be getting the Surfactant to be nano sized particles that can attach to the nano sized virii and thereby inactivate the virus.

They have a picture at the link that shows kind of what they are going for in the middle layer of the mask.



Edited to remove statement.

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Response to cayugafalls (Reply #7)

Tue May 12, 2020, 02:02 PM

18. See My Post 17

I'm dubious about this chemically.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #18)

Tue May 12, 2020, 03:12 PM

32. I've seen your post. Thank you for your input.

I've since modified my stance, but I am not going to delete all my posts.

For the record; I never stated that anyone should ingest soap or wear a soapy mask. I know that is not your concern, however, I am now stating that whenever I reply to anyone on this thread.

I will edit my original OP to clarify my and your concerns.

Thank you.

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Response to cayugafalls (Reply #32)

Tue May 12, 2020, 03:21 PM

35. I'm thinking

that people should try to avoid having the soap come in contact with one's skin, which you could do by applying soap on the outside. A lot of people could have a reaction to the soap touching their face for prolonged periods of time.

Meanwhile, please, please don't tell Trump about this, as he may try to inject soap into his veins!!! I sort of say that in jest, but I wouldn't be surprised if he would think it was a good idea. The man is dumber than a pile of rocks.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #35)

Tue May 12, 2020, 03:27 PM

38. I think you are right. The researchers seem to be focusing on a middle layer

that is built around nano fiber technology and nano particles of surfactants. Based on the image at the article, no surfactant comes in contact with the wearers face.

If dump finds out about this all bets are off...

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Response to cayugafalls (Reply #38)

Tue May 12, 2020, 03:53 PM

41. It is an excellent idea

It has dawned on me that if prolonged hand washing can kill the virus, there should be other ways we can use soap effectively.

Now we can count down until Trump hears about this and wait for the Tweets!

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Response to cayugafalls (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:04 PM

6. Are we going to hear about people drinking liquid soap now?

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Response to grumpyduck (Reply #6)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:08 PM

8. Maybe some MAGATS, but that is their choice. I'll just look at the science.

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Response to grumpyduck (Reply #6)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:10 PM

10. That'd be fine by me.

If you're that stoopid, have at it MAGATs! Shot of Clorox with a Dawn chaser. Yum!

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Response to grumpyduck (Reply #6)

Tue May 12, 2020, 02:51 PM

29. Probably.

There's been talk of making hand sanitizer unpalatable to reduce cases of ingestion.

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Response to cayugafalls (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:08 PM

9. The clever ideas keep coming out today.

Wonderful!

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Response to cayugafalls (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:49 PM

13. Am I right in thinking that a "deodorant" type soap, rather than a facial soap,....

....is formulated to be antibacterial, as body odor is caused by bacteria, and may also be marginally more effective against viruses? Soap in general, we are told, kills the corona virus, by breaking down it's outer layer of fat cells, and is quite effective by itself.

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Response to EarnestPutz (Reply #13)

Tue May 12, 2020, 02:03 PM

19. Soap doesn't have to be labeled "antibacterial" to be effective for this.

All soap will dissemble the virus because it attaches to the molecule and dissolves it.

So in a way all soap is 'antibacterial'.

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Response to Doremus (Reply #19)

Tue May 12, 2020, 03:19 PM

34. I said "may be marginally more effective", referred to the process by which soap...

...kills viruses, and drew a modest distinction between bacteria and viruses. Deodorant soaps have added ingredients that enhance soap's ability to kill bacteria.

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Response to cayugafalls (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:52 PM

14. So.....what if you just spray the outside of the mask with the same cleaner you use on countertops ?

Before going out? Or Lysol?

If I go out at all, I come home and immediately throw mask in washer.

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Response to Bayard (Reply #14)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:56 PM

15. If you do that, you might as well inhale Lysol.

Just keep washing the masks when you get home. No need to go overboard.

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Response to tinrobot (Reply #15)

Tue May 12, 2020, 05:36 PM

52. I spray mine with alcohol and let it dry. I have 3 N95 masks. Typically, a mask dries

perfectly over night. I also spray the rubber bands and the inside of the masks during the spray process.

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Response to Bayard (Reply #14)

Tue May 12, 2020, 03:18 PM

33. Please do not do that. Inhaling cleaners like Lysol is bad news.

No one is suggesting that....

Stay well.

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Response to cayugafalls (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 01:59 PM

16. I sure hope they do toxicology studies regarding inhalation of soap molecules before this idea

catches on with DIY'ers.

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Response to diva77 (Reply #16)

Tue May 12, 2020, 02:30 PM

24. I've probably ingested a crap load of soap in my youth, seems I had a potty mouth.

Got soap shoved in my mouth plenty of times by my grandma, mother and babysitter.

As far as I know, my current soap does not have lye in it, so there is that. But I no longer eat soap either. lol

I do not see any harm in not rinsing my middle filter material as well as I was since there is another layer between and I do use organic soap without lye. In my case I know who makes the soap and what they put in it.

The tiny amount of particles I might breathe in are nothing more than what I breathe in while washing my hair or body during a shower...in fact, they are most likely a lot less than during a shower as the soap particles are aerosolized and the space you are in is confined.

To be clear; I am not suggesting anyone ingest soap. The article stands for what it is.

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Response to cayugafalls (Reply #24)

Tue May 12, 2020, 02:38 PM

25. A front-line worker wears a mask directly over nose & mouth for hours at a time - so the exposure to

whatever is contained in the mask has to take this into account. It's about the dose/response relationship and exposure via lungs.

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Response to cayugafalls (Reply #24)

Tue May 12, 2020, 04:40 PM

48. You're doing just fine

You haven't suggested anyone do anything. You've only talked about modest things you're thinking of trying yourself. People are batting around ideas. Try not to worry.

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Response to cayugafalls (Reply #24)

Wed May 13, 2020, 10:47 AM

62. Soap poisoning

It will make you go blind.

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Response to diva77 (Reply #16)

Tue May 12, 2020, 03:23 PM

37. My thoughts exactly, diva77.

Personally, when I breathe detergent soap, I get very irritated sinuses.

Soap not thoroughly washed off dishes and then ingested will cause diarrhea.

Probably other side-effects of getting soap in one's system....

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Response to cayugafalls (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 02:00 PM

17. I'm Uncomfortable With This

As some here know my professional expertise was reaction kinetics & surface chemistry.
Surfactants do indeed, disrupt viral reproduction, either lipid stripping, protein solvolysis, or both. Or, micellization takes place capturing them in suspension, so they get fully rinsed away.
The problem is, with all of these mechanisms a critical component is water.
A dried surfactant has insufficient ionic strength to strip the lipid layer, until it's dissociated in water.
Dry, most of them are neutral salts (anionic) or waxes (nonionic). They have no surface activity in dry form.
So, I'm dubious about this working, unless there is some way to keep the surfactant in, at least, a high viscosity colloidal suspension.
I understand the effort & the attempt to connect the safety elements of detergents & masks.
But, the surface & phase chemistry suggest this is likely to not work.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #17)

Tue May 12, 2020, 02:05 PM

20. I'm wondering if the water vapor from breathing might provide the moisture needed.

However, from the description of the project work is being done within a scientific approach.

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Response to Hugin (Reply #20)

Tue May 12, 2020, 02:14 PM

21. Another Concern

As surfactants get much above 75% activity, the transition to S2 phase which is close to a hydrated salt. The water (low %) now acts more a hydrogen bonding aid to crystallize the surfactant. Not the exact mechanism, but keeping it simple.
So, we don't have surfactants in water, we have water in surfactant. It's non-fluid, so air wouldn't pass through, making the mask useless.
Surfactants have their highest ionic strength in full solution.
Depending on the surfactant, that's no more than 35%.
So, to get down to 20, 10, 5, 1% it would take quite a lot of water vapor from exhaling.
Last point: I have mass transfer concerns, because the surfactant molecules aren't mobile. So even if the surfactant could defat the virus on a spot, that point of contact is spent. Any surfactant below that molecular layer is now useless, because there is no micellization to carry away the ruined virus components.
I hope I'm wrong and this works, but I doubt it.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #21)

Tue May 12, 2020, 02:21 PM

22. Interesting.

So many issues to achieve a reliable deactivation reaction. Especially, in the field.

I am so heartened to learn at least someone is looking into it.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #21)

Tue May 12, 2020, 02:46 PM

27. Why not wear a wet soapy mask if

You are not going to be out long ? Put a layer of Vaseline or water resistant sunblock on your face so the soap is less likely to piss off your skin.
Just my 2¢

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Response to I_UndergroundPanther (Reply #27)

Tue May 12, 2020, 04:12 PM

44. Probably Just An Air Flow Issue

Air doesn't flow through liquid well.
Might be hard to breathe through it.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #21)

Tue May 12, 2020, 04:51 PM

49. Rinsing, even in a washing machine, doesn't always get all the soap out of wash loads, anyway

I experimented a while back by tossing towels straight from the dryer into the washer again with no detergent. I chose warm wash water and some suds appeared during the wash cycle.

We have a front loader and use very little detergent to begin with. I give wash loads a second rinse, so the suds surprised me during my experiment. There's bound to be some soap residue in our masks if we launder them by machine.

We just hand washed the masks we wore today. Now I want to go rinse them again.

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Response to eleny (Reply #49)

Tue May 12, 2020, 05:43 PM

53. Measurements Show Single Digit ppm...

...of the starting mass of surfactant, per 100 cm^2. This is a routine test in the detergent industry.
If you can actually see the difference, there may be something wrong with your washing machine.
That really shouldn't be the case, unless you're using a product with soap (not detergent) and have elevated hardness in your water.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #53)

Tue May 12, 2020, 05:47 PM

54. Hard water is the issue

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Response to eleny (Reply #54)

Tue May 12, 2020, 06:27 PM

59. Even With Some Detergents That's An Issue

Still worse with soap.
Products with high % of the ingredient sodium laureth sulfate are much more hard water tolerant. The alkylbenzene sulfonates are OK in hard water, but not as good as the former. Many consumer detergents have both, in varying ratios.
What happens is that the calcium from the hardness undergoes an ion transfer called methasis. The calcium forms of those detergent active ingredients are highly insoluble and they plate out. Big problem.
You could rinse the clothes with chloroform, but that's probably a bad idea!

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #59)

Tue May 12, 2020, 06:28 PM

60. I agree, lol!

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #17)

Tue May 12, 2020, 02:24 PM

23. The lungs function by adsorbing oxygen via surfactant - so I hope whatever this soapy mask idea is,

that it prevents inhalation of soap molecules 100%.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulmonary_surfactant

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Response to diva77 (Reply #23)

Tue May 12, 2020, 04:15 PM

45. It Would Take A Lot of Surfactant Inhaled

That said, in powder detergent plants, workers have been wearing dust masks for decades.
But, the exposure there would be pretty high.

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Response to cayugafalls (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 02:44 PM

26. That's why I use handiwipes

I scrub them into a rich lather which cleans my hands and the cloth. Then when I need to kill the virus on surfaces and objects I spray Formula 409 on the wipe until it’s soaked. I use that to wipe door handles and everything I touch when I go out. I also use it to wipe cardboard boxes thoroughly. I don’t care if it makes them somewhat soggy because I break them down to recycle them.

When I’m out shopping I carry the wet wipe in my hand which reminds me to constantly clean my hands with it. That way every time I touch or pick something up I swipe it and my hand with the wipe automatically.

Because I do this every door handle I touch is left clean for the next person too.

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Response to cayugafalls (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 02:47 PM

28. Y'all be careful with putting too much barrier.

Oxygen and CO2 still need to get through. One on the way in and the other on the way out.

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Response to cayugafalls (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 03:09 PM

31. Most washing machines leave some amount of soap residue behind

even after the rinse cycle. I found this out by prepping cars for car shows. Those streaks you get after washing the windows are just that. It's not the window cleaner, it's the soap left behind in the towel you are using. That's why using newspaper to clean the windows works so well.

When I launder my microfiber car cleaning towels, I run a second rinse cycle with vinegar added to it. This removes the soap from the towel and then the streaking on windows is eliminated.

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Response to Mr.Bill (Reply #31)

Tue May 12, 2020, 04:16 PM

46. That Is Why Liquid Fabric Softeners...

...are useful.
They reverse the ionic charge in the rinse cycle and reduce the residual a lot.

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Response to cayugafalls (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 03:23 PM

36. Please do not ingest soap or think that making a SOAPY mask is the intent of this OP, it is not.

The intent of this OP was to highlight some research that is being done looking at NANO fibers and particles of surfactants and their POSSIBLE ability to deactivate the virus.

OP has been updated to reflect this statement.

Stay Well.

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Response to cayugafalls (Original post)

Tue May 12, 2020, 07:13 PM

61. My understanding

of the efficacy of soap, at least with respect to hand washing, is that the soap does loosen the casing of the virus, but it is the rubbing (remember the 20 second rule) that dislodges the virus particles so that they then can be RINSED away.

Leaving soap in your mask without scrubbing or rinsing sounds useless and dangerous. We have 3M fabric masks that specifically instruct you to immerse in neutral soapy water and rub the surfaces together and rinse thoroughly. That’s what I do and will continue to do.

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