All soap is created equal. Or is it? Bar soap has been around for centuries, but there are many common misconceptions.
Myth #1: Liquid soap is better than bar soap.
Nope! According to the FDA, bar soap and liquid soap are equals at reducing germs and removing dirt. Furthermore, commercially produced liquid body wash commonly contains toxic ingredients linked to immunotoxicity, allergies, cancer, and more. And, sadly, many of the liquid soap brands found on grocery store shelves are not cruelty-free or are owned by a parent company that tests on animals.
Another devastating downside to liquid soap is the plastic bottles and pumps. Every year more than 1 billion plastic body wash bottles are used. Less than 10% of the plastic consumed globally every year is recycled, and it can take a plastic bottle 450 years to decompose.
Myth #2: Bar soap is full of germs.
This myth is partially true. While germs are everywhere and live on virtually everything, including liquid soap dispensers, some bacteria may live in the bubbles created on the surface of the bar of soap. The good news is, studies have shown that no detectable levels of bacteria are left on the skin after using previously used bar soap. If you're still concerned, there are a few simple things you can do:
Rinse off the soap bar before using.
Always allow bar soap to dry between uses (bacteria require water to survive.)
Make sure everyone has their own bar of soap.
Myth #3: Bar soap contains lye.
While it's true that lye is used to make real soap (check out my blog post to see if your soap is real or a toxic imposter), the chemical reaction of making soap, called "saponification", chemically changes the oil and lye into soap and glycerin. In cold process soap making, it takes about 24-48 hours for all lye to be neutralized.
Myth #4: "Antibacterial" soap is better.
Think again! According to the FDA, there isn’t enough science to show that antibacterial soaps are better at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water. To date, the benefits of using antibacterial hand soap haven’t been proven. In addition, the wide use of these products over a long time has raised the question of potential negative effects on your health and the environment.
Myth #5: All handmade soaps are natural.
This is another common misconception. Not all handmade soap is natural soap. Soap making is as unique as the soap maker, and some use synthetic colors and artificial fragrance oils. If you are looking for 100% natural soap, be sure to read the ingredients carefully.
Myth #6: Bar soap is harsh and dries out skin.
On the contrary! Handmade bar soap naturally contains glycerin which attracts moisture to the skin. On the other hand, commercial bar soap may leave skin feeling dry because the manufacturers remove the natural glycerin in the soap. They do this for two reasons, to sell it or to use it in more expensive moisturizing creams and to extend the shelf life of the soap.
Myth #7: Handmade soaps are expensive.
While it's true that liquid soap in a plastic bottle is less expensive, studies have shown that people go through it much faster. In fact, we use more than we actually need at almost seven times more liquid soap than bar soap. And although commercial soap bars are typically less expensive than handmade bar soap, today's commercially manufactured soaps are full of harmful, cheaply made synthetic additives and toxic chemicals.
The soap you use is a very personal choice, but before you reach for another plastic bottle of liquid soap, shower gel, or body wash, please consider the following:
Natural handmade bar soap cleans just as well, if not better than its liquid counterpart.
Natural handmade bar soap is typically packaged in compostable paper or cardboard rather than plastic and uses less water than liquid soap.
Natural handmade bar soap is generally made with food-grade ingredients free from toxic chemicals or other synthetic ingredients.
Buying handcrafted soap supports local small businesses.
Have any other soap myths? Please share them in the comments below!
Made with love in Redmond, Oregon