ELI5. Why does frequent use of soap and/or hand sanitizer not make the germs on our hands mutate?

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ELI5. Why does frequent use of soap and/or hand sanitizer not make the germs on our hands mutate?

In: Biology

It may not make them mutate, but frequent use of sanitizer without washing creates piles of dead bacteria…food for other bacteria.

Hand washing removes bacteria with mechanical means. The bacteria get washed off your hands, not killed. There is no resistance to build up against this. Hand sanitizer kills with alcohol and that mode of killing is not easily protected against. No DNA modification can protect against this (ie, mutate)

Killing is very difficult to mutate against, because you’re dead, your DNA doesn’t change and pass through. Did human mutate to be against snakes’s poison ? Not very much.

Mutation like you’re thinking about only occurs when there’s a transitional change, and not a sudden one.

Both Soap & Hand sanitizer we use, are too strong for any bacteria to have any chance of survival, and since they are dead, they can’t create offspring anymore.

If you’d instead would use heavily diluted hand sanitizer, and lessen the degree of dilution over time, the bacteria on your hands will indeed mutate to the point of being resistant to pure hand sanitizer.

[A short video about bacteria mutating to resist antibiotics](https://youtu.be/plVk4NVIUh8)

This is only true of antibacterial soap, not just washing your hands with regular soap or using alcohol hand sanitizer.

[Why you shouldn’t use antibacterial soap](https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-antibacterial-products-may-do-more-harm-than-good/)