According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Both bar soap and liquid soap can be used to wash your hands effectively.
But some people seem biased against bar soap and think it's unhygienic. They believe soap bars are contaminated with germs after use and can be a source of infection.
Unlike liquid soap or body wash that you dispense from a container, bar soap sits out in the open, where it is repeatedly touched and comes in contact with water, a known habitat for some bacteria. So, does bar soap hold bacteria? Read on to find out what science has to say about this.
Can Bar Soap Kill Germs?
Regular bar soap or cleanser does not actually kill germs but removes them from your skin with the help of running water. Soap binds with dirt, grime, and bacteria to lift them off the skin surface, allowing them to be rinsed down the drain more easily.
Some soaps are antimicrobial or antibacterial, meaning they contain active ingredients that kill bacteria and other germs and can sometimes inhibit their future growth. But, no significant evidence suggests that antibacterial soaps are more effective than plain soap in preventing infection. There are also concerns about the safety of using antibacterial soaps in the long term. For example, some studies have shown that using antibacterial soap may contribute to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.
Since studies have not shown any added health benefit from using antibacterial soap, in 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned over-the-counter sale of antibacterial soaps containing certain active ingredients. When it comes to reducing or preventing the risk of spreading infection, the CDC suggests that plain soap is adequate to remove germs for the general public. Antibacterial soaps can be used by healthcare professionals and people working in childcare and food preparation settings.
CDC suggests that both bar and liquid soap work well to remove germs, but not all soaps are created equal. Many commercially manufactured solid soaps are syndet bars made of blends of synthetic surfactants. At Botanie Soap, we are committed to natural ingredients and use a traditional cold-process method of soap making. Explore our bar soap collection for private-label use and choose perfect products made from organic plant-based oils and scented with essential oils and plant extracts.
Does Bar Soap Hold Bacteria?
Like all surfaces, bar soap can hold some bacteira. When we wash our hands, we transfer a thin film of bacteria, skin flakes, and oils to the soap bar. But you don't need to worry about it because bar soap does not appear to transmit diseases. Although bar soap holds bacteria and other germs and can live and grow on all soap bars, it's very unlikely they will make you sick or cause a skin infection.
The bulk of germs on your bar soap are probably from your own skin. These germs are a part of your skin microbiome, which is essential to your immune system because it helps protect you from invading pathogens and illnesses. Your germs are harmless because your body has already adapted to fight them. If you're sharing the soap bar with family members, you also have nothing to worry about because you probably share many of the same microorganisms anyway. And even when it comes to other bacteria, your bar soap may pick up, most of them will not make you sick.
Studies also show that routine handwashing with contaminated soap bars is unlikely to transfer bacteria. In 1988, scientists inoculated soap bars with pathogenic bacteria, such as Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas, and 16 volunteers washed their hands with these bars. Although the test bars contained 70 times the contaminants that would typically be found in used soap bars, none of the volunteers had detectable bacteria levels on their hands.
These findings show that routine handwashing with previously used bar soap does not lead to the transfer of bacteria from the bar to the skin. Also, none of the occasional studies that have documented the presence of environmental bacteria on bar soap have shown that bar soap can be a source of infection.
Both liquid and bar soaps are made of the same essential components—alkali salts of fatty acids that have detergent properties and help prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. But for consumers who are basing their purchases on environmental benefits, all-natural bar soap would be the "greener" of the two, so selling it can be profitable. If you need bar soap in higher volumes or want to launch your own soap line, contact us to learn more about custom manufacturing.
Like all surfaces, the surface of the soap bar can be hold bacteria, but when you work it with water into a lather, it traps germs and helps remove them from your hands when you rinse them with running water. Just make sure to wash your hands well for 20-30 seconds. You may also rinse off the bar in running water before lathering up to wash away the germs. And you should always store bar soap out of the water so it can dry between uses. Doing these simple things helps ensure that the germs are of no consequence to you.