Washing and scrubbing with soaps and detergents achieves routine control of undesirable microorganisms and viruses. In fact, simple handwashing with plain soap and water is considered the single most important step in preventing the spread of many
infectious diseases. Plain soap itself generally does not destroy many organisms; it simply aids in the mechanical removal of transient microbes, including most pathogens, as well as dirt, organic material, and cells of the outermost layer of skin. Regular handwashing and bathing does not adversely impact the beneficial normal skin flora, which reside more deeply on underlying layers of skin cells and in hair follicles. ■ pathogen, p. 465 ■ normal flora of the skin, p. 535
Other methods used to control microorganisms in daily life include cooking foods, cleaning surfaces, and refrigeration.
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