The Truth About The Germs On Your Bar Of Soap

Cleaning Hands. Washing hands with soap

Everyone agrees that handwashing is the best way to cleanse your skin of dirt and germs. We have heard several people say that they prefer liquid soaps because they don’t believe bar soap is sanitary. Some people think that the surface of the bar soap is filled with germs.

Bacteria on your Bar Soap

Bacteria are everywhere. Estimates have shown that bacteria outnumber the total number of cells in your body by about 10:1, and a large percentage of them live right on your skin. They play a vital role in human health and the immune system. Soap bars have bacteria living on them, along with just about everything else that hasn’t been sterilized. Bacteria can live on the wet surface of the soap. They can also live in liquid soaps as well. Germs and bacteria thrive in moist environments, and if your liquid soap (which is mostly water) doesn’t include preservatives, it could harbor bacterial growth. The FDA has set limits for the bacteria in hygiene products (like liquid soap). Even liquid soap can contain some bacteria.

Is Bar Soap Safe to Use?

There have been studies to investigate if washing with contaminated bar soap can transfer bacteria. In one study, a bar of soap was inoculated with 70 times more bacteria than was measured on naturally occurring surfaces. Panelists then washed their hands with this contaminated soap. Testing performed after hand washing would indicate the presence of any bacterial left on their skin. None of the panelists had detectable amounts of the bacteria on their hands after washing with the contaminated bar. Their findings indicate that the bacteria present on bar soap is unlikely to transfer to your skin after washing.

This makes sense to us since you use the soap to wash away the bacteria and dirt present on your hands. As long as the person washing their hands is doing so properly by lathering with water for at least 20 seconds and covering all of their hands’ surfaces, the risk for contamination is low. We have never seen bar soaps for use in public settings. If you were to find a bar soap that you needed to use and were concerned about its contamination level, rinse it off before use. Soap is water-soluble, and rinsing it under running water will dissolve the outermost layer where any bacteria is present, and they will wash down the drain.

Soap Storage

Allow your bar soap to dry between uses. A proper soap dish will allow any water on your bar soap to drip off. Your bar should also be stored in a location that isn’t constantly wet in a place where it could be splashed or sprayed. Allowing your soap to dry as much as possible between uses will maximize the life of your bar. It will also minimize the amount of bacteria on the bar. Bacteria love warm, moist environments. A draining soap dish that collects water can create a bacteria friendly environment. Make sure this is cleaned out regularly to minimize bacterial growth. Non-porous soap dishes will also cut down on bacterial growth.

Bar soap is Sanitary

Bar soap is Sanitary and safe to use. Studies have shown that washing with contaminated bar soap is unlikely to transfer bacteria. Using proper handwashing techniques will clean your hands. This is the best method to reduce the number of bacterial on your hands. There really is no reason to worry about the level of bacteria on a bar of well cared for soap. Any bacteria on the soap (and your hands) will wash down the drain during the process.

Check out our selection of natural bar soaps made with organic oils and butters here at Bay Berry Bliss.


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