Before COVID, Mandy (my wife) and I felt a little dirt under the fingernails was a good thing. Of course we encouraged our kids to wash their hands when necessary, but we never considered the global impact of good hand hygiene.
Then the world changed and I read this simple, but brilliant quote in the New York Times:
"At the molecular level, soap breaks things apart. At the level of society, it helps hold everything together." (Jabr, Ferris, The New York Times, March 13th, 2020)
Need some soap?
But What is the Most Effective Soap?
If you follow the general guidelines - rub and scrub with water for a good 20 seconds - foaming, bar or liquid soap will all get the job done, but each has it's benefits and limitations depending on needs.
"Soap’s chemistry helps remove microorganisms from our hands by accentuating the slippery properties of our own skin." (Massaquoi, Michelle, Scientific American, December 17th, 2017)
What's the Best Soap for You and Your Home?
Foaming = Fun.
Who doesn't love bubbles? Our anecdotal tests show that when kids use foaming hand soap, it makes hand washing less of a 'chore'.
Foaming soaps are also easy to use and can leave hands feeling more moisturized.
The only note of caution with foaming soaps is to ensure you rub and scrub for the full 20 seconds. Bar and liquid soaps require more mechanical rubbing to produce a lather and so naturally encourage a longer wash and rinse time. As long as you stick the ABCs of good hand hygiene, foaming soaps will keep you and your kids protected - and engaged!
Bar Soap For One Please.
My general rule is bar soaps in the shower (one for the kids, one for the adults), liquid or foaming soap by the sink.
I don't know about you, but there's something a little 'icky' about using someone else's bar soap. And there is some Science to back that up, but it's not as bad as you may think.
Numerous studies have shown that “in-use” bar soaps contain a wide variety of contaminants (Hedge, Andrade, & Bhat, 2006), however studies have also shown that transfer of those microbes to the user is not significant and bar soap is still considered very effective (Heinze & Yackovich).
If you're still a little 'squicked out', it has been shown that liquid and foaming soaps house a significantly lower amount of contamination when compared to bar soaps. (McBride,1984).
Liquid Soap's Got Your Back.
If you’re looking for the most effective clean, liquid soap is arguably the most dependable clean. There is minimal contamination carry-over and it's the most effective at ridding your hands of the unwanted microscopic bugs because of the work required to build up a lather and then rinse it off.
What About Anti-Bacterial Soaps?
According to Scientific American, there are two basic 'hand washing' strategies - reduce the 'biomass' or kill the bacteria altogether. Soap reduces the biomass of bacteria while 'anti-bacterial' soaps are developed to literally kill the bacteria.
The problem with the 'kill' approach is that:
"Some bacterial cells on our hands may have genes that enable them to be resistant to a given antibacterial agent. This means that after the antibacterial agent kills some bacteria, the resistant strains remaining on the hands can flourish.
Further, the genes that allowed the bacteria to be resistant could pass along to other bacteria, causing more resistant strains. Together, the “take-over” of resistant strains would render the use of the antibacterial agent essentially ineffective.
In summary, Scientific American suggests that with all this in mind, you may want to stick with soap and water.
How Do We Stay Clean AND Green?
When it comes to environmental impact, bar soaps used to be the best bet because they don't require plastic packaging. Since COVID, this has become an even bigger issue:
"....consumption of single-use plastic may have grown by 250-300% in America since the coronavirus took hold, says Antonis Mavropoulos of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), which represents recycling bodies in 102 countries." (The Economist, June 22nd)
So if we can reduce our dependence on plastic bottles, all the better.
That's why we're proud to have developed all three options - FOAMING, LIQUID, and BAR SOAPS without ANY plastic packaging and our soaps are just effective, while still being biodegradable, 100% plant based and using only essential oils for fragrances.
Want to check them out?