Is soap full of germs and bacteria and should we all use Body Wash and liquid soap instead?
If you are old enough, you probably remember as a child your whole family used soap and the same cake of soap. Little by little though the soap disappeared and was replaced by body wash and liquid hand wash. Using a cake soap was considered unhygienic and a source of bacteria and old fashioned. The odd thing is even though we shared the same soap, we rarely got sick and when we did, unless it was something very catching, like Mumps, we didn’t seem to pass it (the disease or infection) around the whole family. So, is my family just incredibly lucky or is everyone just being masterfully manipulated about our fear of germs and bacteria?
This NY Times article which asked “does each member of the family need an individual Cake of soap to prevent spreading germs, or do we have to switch to liquid soap?” came to a very different conclusion. It cites studies that concluded washing even with contaminated cake of soap is unlikely to transfer bacteria, especially if the cake of soap gets rinsed off between uses. According to the NY Times:
“… soap bars were inoculated with E. coli and P. aeruginosa bacteria at levels 70 times as high as those reported on used cakes of soap. Then, 16 people were told to wash their hands as usual with the inoculated soap.
“After washing, none of the 16 panellists had detectable levels of either test bacterium on their hands,” the researchers wrote. “These findings, along with other published reports, show that little hazard exists in routine hand washing with previously used cake of soap Cake and support the frequent use of soap and water for hand washing.”
So how can a Cake of soap have bacteria on it and yet not spread germs? Basically, washing is a two step process. When you lather up the oil attracting end of the soap molecule picks up grease and oils on your skin. When you rinse, the water attracting end of the molecules follow the water, letting you rinse the soap molecules — and their attached impurities — away.
An often cited advantage of liquid body wash is that moisturizers can be added and cakes of soaps harsh and drying. In fact many varieties of soaps (especially ours at Papillon Products) in the market that contain high amounts of glycerine and natural oils and botanicals that moisturize the skin. Cakes of soaps can be and are just as gentle and mild on the skin, negating any advantage of body washes.
Papillon Products make both. So depending on your personal preference and situation, you and your pets can have your cake of soap and your body wash
What do you prefer?