Bar soap does not spread germs, is way more environmentally friendly, and way cheaper
Liquid hand soaps have replaced bar soaps largely because of unfounded fears that bar soap is “covered in germs.” Study after study has shown this is not true.
If all Americans switched back to bar soaps and shampoos, we could make a HUGE dent in plastic waste.
Walk into the average American household and you’ll find at least five plastic bottles of hand soap, body wash and shampoo.
If we say these soaps and shampoos are replaced every three months, it seems fair to guess the average American household goes through at least 20 plastic soap and shampoo bottles a year.
Multiply that by 126 million American households and that’s 2.5 billion plastic bottles per year, most of which end up in a landfill.
“The only problem is, many people believe that sharing bar soap can transmit infection,” writes Katherine Martinko for TreeHugger.com.
“There’s a tendency to think that, since everyone is using the same bar of soap, and who knows where their hands might have been, the soap can somehow pass around infections.”
Germs don’t stick to soap
But, as a recent health column in the New York Times explains, this is simply not the case.
Study after study has shown that bar soap is not a suitable environment for germs to live.
The most famous study on the matter was published in 1965. Scientists conducted a series of experiments in which they contaminated their hands with about five billion bacteria, such as Staph and E. coli, and then washed their hands with a bar of soap.
When a second person used the bar of soap shortly after, the germs were not found on their hands.
The researchers concluded:
‘The level of bacteria that may occur on bar soap, even under extreme usage conditions (heavy usage, poorly designed non-drainable soap dishes, etc.) does not constitute a health hazard.’”
A second major study in 1988 inoculated bars of soap with pathogenic bacteria to see if it could be transmitted to soap users, but test subjects had no traces of the bacteria on their hands after washing.
Subsequent studies have continued to show the same results, while proving the ability of simple bar soap to fight serious infections, such as Ebola.
Not only does bar soap spare the environment billions of plastic bottles, it saves you lots of money.
In another article, I wrote about how much money I’ve saved on expensive liquid shampoos and conditioners, by switching to a shampoo bar (which has none of the bad ingredients that even “organic” liquid shampoos have and leaves my hair far healthier and cleaner):
Hand soap and body wash are no different. You’re basically paying more money for a watered down version of what the bar gives you. The bars cost less up front and last longer. Compare for yourself:
Dr. Bronner’s all-in-one liquid soap dispenser for example, costs $15 for 12 ounces:
While you can buy 30 more concentrated ounces (i.e. you’re not paying for water) of Dr. Bronner’s bar soap, for $25: