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August 18, 2022

How to choose between bar soap and liquid soap


There are debates that seem to never end. Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera? N’Sync or The Backstreet Boys? Friends or Seinfeld? Bar soap or liquid soap? But while we can’t change your pop culture preferences, we can help you make a more informed choice of soaps. Does bar soap hold bacteria? Is liquid soap environmentally friendly? Finally, we settle the debate between bar soap and liquid soap.

What is the difference between liquid soap and bar soap?

Let’s start by answering this question first: does soap kill bacteria? Yes, both types of soaps are effective in ridding the skin of bacteria and viruses. The frictional movement made when cleaning the hands or body helps dislodge all these microorganisms, which are then completely flushed out when rinsing. However, the two formats have different benefits and drawbacks.

Look for eco-innovative solutions

Liquid Soap

Benefits 

  • Convenient and easy to use
  • Often contains moisturizing ingredients
  • Doesn't make as much of a mess in the sink, shower, or counter

Drawbacks 

  • Doesn't last as long
  • Typically offered in plastic bottles

Bar Soap

Benefits 

  • Compact and easy to travel with
  • Lasts longer when kept on a soap dish
  • Eco-friendly because it often comes in plastic-free cardboard packaging

Drawbacks

  • Often contains fewer moiturizing ingredients
  • Tends to dirty the sink, shower, or counter if not placed in a soap dish

Infographic liquid soap

Does bar soap hold bacteria?

The short answer is: Yes, it’s possible.

The complete answer is: Most of the bacteria found on your bar soap is going to come from your own skin. As a matter of fact, half of the cells of the human body are bacteria, many of which live on the epidermis and make up the skin’s microbiome, a shield that protects against pathogens.1 However, several studies have shown that there is very little chance that the bacteria on your soap can contaminate the skin, much less make you sick.2

Also, bar soap is not the only place where bacteria can call home. Sponges, washcloths, and loofahs (things generally used to make liquid soap foam) can also promote the growth of mould or other microorganisms such as bacteria. Here’s a trick: hang them outside of the shower so they dry faster. And don’t forget to preserve your bar soap by placing it on a dish that will effectively drain the excess moisture.

Tips to restrict bacteria build-up

Differences between liquid soap and soap bar

Technique > Format

Finally, choosing the soap format is kind of like choosing whether you agree Ross and Rachel were on a break; it’s simply based on personal perspective. However, what is crucial to know is that the technique used greatly influences the effectiveness of the cleanse – especially hand washing – whether you use bar soap or liquid soap.

According to the Government of Canada,3 for hand washing with soap and water to be adequate in getting completely rid of germs, the following steps should be followed:

  1. Remove your rings and jewelry.
  2. Wet your hands up to the wrists.
  3. Apply enough soap to cover your hands.
  4. Wash the palms, on top of the hands, between the fingers and under the fingernails for at least 20 seconds (just long enough for you to sign the Happy Birthday song in your head while you wash).
  5. Rinse off all the soap with water.
  6. Dry your hands thoroughly with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  7. Use the paper towel or cloth to turn off the tap (if it's not automated).

So which soap to choose?

We know it's not an easy choice to make because of the many hand and body soaps that are available on the shelves. So, what’s our advice after all of this? Go with eco-innovative options that carry the EWG VERIFIED™ seal. This stamp of approval is proof that the product doesn’t contain any ingredients of concern.

Infographic bar soap

Completely plastic-free, these body bar soaps are made with naturally sourced ingredients that produce a rich and luxurious lather that won’t leave the skin dry. « Sounds awesome, but I’m loyal to my liquid hand soap and shower gel ,» you say? No problem. Opt for brands that offer bottles that are made from HDPE plastic – the easiest plastic to recycle – and bulk formats like these eco-refills that contain up to 80% less plastic than bottles. A great way to reuse the bottles you already have and wash yourself with peace of mind!

Bar soap or liquid soap? Now that the debate is over (maybe) and that you know that soap does kill bacteria – whichever format it is – push your thinking even further by checking out these 5 ways to begin a beauty routine that is both effective and eco-innovative.

 

Sources:

1https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1002533

2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1256339/?page=1

3https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/healthy-living/hand-hygiene.html

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Written by Team ATTITUDE

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