Health experts say that handwashing is the best protection against coronavirus, which has infected 107,490 people since the end of December. However, regular soap and water can’t remove every single microbe.

Now, two Israeli companies have joined forces to make your handwashing 100 percent effective in killing viruses — without harsh substances like bleach.

It starts with the Soapy hygiene microstation, already in use in several countries.

Soapy provides an optimal amount of water (taken from the atmosphere) and soap per 20-second handwashing. A computer vision interface verifies that the handwashing was done properly.

On request, the soap will now include a plant-derived substance proven to kill tobamovirus – which is more resistant than coronavirus.

“Our team was looking to develop the best sequence to disinfect viral residues on hands,” Soapy CEO Max Simonovsky tells ISRAEL21c.

An only-in-Israel story brought Soapy together with plant virology research scientist Aviv Dombrovsky from the Volcani Center Agricultural Research Organization in Rishon LeZion.

Several months ago, Dombrovsky started chatting with another dad when picking up his child from preschool. That dad works at Soapy and told Dombrovsky what they wanted to do.

“Another Israeli company produces a plant-based product I use for soil disinfection,” Dombrovsky tells ISRAEL21c. “I simply put the two companies together.”

In December – before coronavirus hit China — the biodegradable product was tested in Soapy’s soap formulation to see if it could kill tobamovirus on hands. The highly resistant tobamovirus survives high temperatures and remains on surfaces for more than a year. It is transmitted through contact, like coronavirus.

“Because it is so strong, we use tobamovirus as a model to test antivirals. If something can inactivate tobamovirus, it can inactivate a range of human viruses including coronavirus,” says Dombrovsky, who oversaw the testing.

The recently released results show the combination of the special reagent and Soapy’s machine to be 100% effective in 72 samples.


“You can now use our technology to control the environment of hand hygiene,” says Simonovsky.

“You’ll have the recommended 20 seconds of handwashing and also the right amount of the right reagent, the right amount of water at the right temperature, and feedback at point of use that everything was done properly.”

The machine and soap can be ordered from the Soapy website at a special discount that Simonovsky put in place due to the current crisis. It ships worldwide and is kept supplied via a monthly subscription package.

As of today, Israel has had 25 confirmed COVID-19 infections; three of these people have recovered. There are an additional 19 active cases in territories administered by the Palestinian Authority.