It is recommended to regularly wash hands with soap to slow the spread of COVID-19. However regularly washing with soap can be harmful to the skin. Soap-free cleansers such as QV Wash are frequently used in place of soap by those with dermatological conditions.

How effective are soap-free cleansers are at slowing the spread of COVID-19?

2 Answers 2


You need a molecule that disrupts the lipid layer of the virus to expose its RNA, and deactivate it.

Until the manufacturer of QV Wash can confirm that it is capable of inactivating viruses, in particular the sars2-ncov-19 virus, then you should assume it won't work.

When you wash your hands with soap and water, you surround any microorganisms on your skin with soap molecules. The hydrophobic tails of the free-floating soap molecules attempt to evade water; in the process, they wedge themselves into the lipid envelopes of certain microbes and viruses, prying them apart.

“They act like crowbars and destabilize the whole system,” said Prof. Pall Thordarson, acting head of chemistry at the University of New South Wales. Essential proteins spill from the ruptured membranes into the surrounding water, killing the bacteria and rendering the viruses useless.



According to my local pharmacy anything that foams up (as QV Wash does) should work.

When queried as to the effectiveness of QV Wash in preventing COVID-19 the manufacturers responded:

Our QV cleansers are pH balanced, soap-free products designed for use on sensitive skin. As such, they are as effective as 'soap' for hand hygiene, but gentler on the skin.

  • I am not going to accept my answer. QV Wash is intended and regarded as a full replacement for soap, but a full answer would include the science that justifies this belief.
    – gmatht
    Apr 4, 2020 at 4:20

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