Is soap hygienic?

Deborah Jones

Years ago we were encouraged to switch from traditional soap to new liquid soap and body wash.  Besides the argument that they were more convenient, the biggest marketing message was that these new liquid versions were more hygienic.  Their premise at the time was that lots of people would use the same bar of soap, thus leaving bacteria from their hands on the bar, ready for the next person to use it.

However, over the years, numerous studies have disproved this theory.  The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine states that bar soaps are a hostile environment for bacteria.

The bacterial cells get exploded by the strong chemical concentrations. There is no risk of bugs being passed from one person to another via a bar of soap.

Researchers deliberately coated their hands with five BILLION bacteria,including E.Coli before washing them with a bar of soap. A second person then washed with the same bar of soap, but tests showed the bacteria didn't show up on their hands.

Bacteria need 4 things to grow. Food source, water/moisture, time, and heat.
1 bacterium can multiply itself (division) every 20 mins in these conditions.
Bacteria would struggle to live on or in any bar or bottle of soap, there is little food to help. 

You are more likely to transmit bacteria to the plastic pump of a bottle of hand soap than to a bar of soap, as the plastic is a much less hostile environment to bacteria.

Another thing to consider is although soap contains fats and oils, a food source, they're no longer food, after saponification. Without a food source, no growth. Bacterium live longer inside and on us than any other surface!

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Are antibacterial products good for you?

Deborah Jones

For many years we were led to believe that soap was unhygienic and clever marketing made us believe that body washes were so much better for us.
The majority of people made the switch to shower gels and body washes. And we used them happily for years.

But then a new range of hand and body washes appeared, the ‘anti bacterial range’.

We were told that these would kill 99.9% of bacteria on our skin. This market exploded.


But what we weren’t told is that soaps labelled as ‘anti bacterial’ contain chemicals such as triclosan or triclocarban. But who cares? It makes our skin lovely and sterile, isn’t that what is important?

Well yes, it actually does matter.

Numerous studies have shown that triclosan alters hormonal levels, especially testosterone.

It has been linked to cancer because when it degrades, it turns into dioxin, a known carcinogen

Exposure to triclosan has been associated with the development of allergies
It is an environmental hazard - the chemical’s dioxins leak into the water supply exposing us to even more danger.

And despite all of that, triclosan is a very poor antimicrobial agent that kills only the weakest of bacteria, so why take the risk?

Handmade soap is a natural product.

Seriously, it is so much better for use on your skin. The oils and butters will moisturise your skin and the natural glycerine will help draw and retain additional moisture, leaving your skin feeling soft and hydrated.

And numerous studies have proved that bacteria are unable to live on soap. So win win in my book!

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

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