5 Misconceptions About That Bar of Soap in the Bathroom
Let’s talk about soap, shall we? We all use it, after all. Whether it’s to do dishes, wash our clothes, or clean ourselves in the shower, one thing’s for sure: Soap helps us be the cleanest we can be.
Personally, we’re huge fans of bar soap over any other kind. Unfortunately, however, bar soap can sometimes get a bad rep. That’s because there are a lot of misconceptions out there about the stuff—but don’t believe ‘em.
We’re here to debunk some of the most common misconceptions we always hear about bar soap. Get ready to be mystified.
Myth #1: A communal bar of soap can pass on germs
People tend to get creeped out by a bar of soap that’s been used by someone else. We get it. That thing was just slathered on someone else’s skin, and that means germs, right? Yes and no. While soap likely does have some bacteria on it, germs can’t actually be transferred from the bar of soap to your body if you use it, NPR explains. So even if you’re rubbing the bar all over your body, nothing on it can actually cause you to get sick. It’s science!
Myth #2: Antibacterial is better than regular bar soap
While antibacterial soap has its benefits, it’s in no way more effective than regular soap for killing disease-causing germs, according to the CDC. “Antibacterial” simply means that the soap has active antimicrobial ingredients added to it, but the FDA says there’s no evidence that antimicrobial soap products make or keep people healthier than non-antibacterial soap.
Myth #3: Bar soap dries out your skin
On the contrary, bar soap actually contains a host of fatty oils that keep your skin moisturized, hydrated, and replenished. Many people believe that liquid soap helps moisturize your skin better simply because of its smooth and silky texture, and while it can keep you moisturized, bar soap is much better for this kind of thing. “The non-soap cleansers that also do not foam tend to leave more of your natural oils behind and thus are less drying,” explains Jami Miller, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee tells Everyday Health.
Myth #4: Bar soap is more expensive than liquid
Quite the reverse—Americans spend much more on liquid soap—about $2.7 billion (which includes shower gels and body wash) than they do on bar soap, which accounts for about $1.5 billion, according to a 2012 study by Mintel, a Chicago-based research firm. Additionally, people actually tend to go through liquid soap much faster than they do bar soap, probably because it’s so easy to squeeze a lot out of the bottle, which means a lot can go to waste. In fact, people use seven times more liquid soap per washing than bar soap, according to to a study published in Environmental Science & Technology.
Myth #5: Bar soap creates more environmental waste
Liquid soap is actually the culprit here. About 91% of all plastic is not recycled, National Geographic reports. Think about it: When you finish a plastic pump bottle or bulky soap dispenser, do you dump it into the trash or recycle it? Probably the former. In general, the process of creating liquid soap requires more energy for packaging production and disposal. Bar soap only contains a small cardboard box and the actual bar disappears as you use it!
Did you think any of these myths were true? What else do you know about bar soap?