Washing your hands is the first step towards infection prevention, we all know that too well by now. Soaps are one of the most efficient ways of removing pathogens from our hands, not just Covid-19 but a range of dangerous things that can be harmful for our health.
Yet so many questions boggle our minds when it comes to choosing the right soap - what kind of soap? Is there a soap that works best against bacteria and germs? Bar or liquid? Are all soaps the same, anyway? Look no further, let’s get right to it and we’ll help you uncover some of these answers.
With all due credits to globalisation for such extensive choices, but don’t you think it’s a little amusing how we now find ourselves standing in the soap section of our local supermarket overwhelmed by the sheer options available in hand soaps. In the soap kingdom, however, the distinctions are fairly simple and one such distinction is - regular soap or anti-bacterial. What purpose does either of them serve and whether it makes any difference?
Regular vs Antibacterial Soap
Today we find antibacterial soaps commonplace in both homes and offices, it’s no surprise that it is so. The name says anti-bacterial, surely it must have an upper hand over regular soaps when it comes to preventing bacteria. Surprise, surpise, they don’t. Your humble ‘regular soap’ is capable of much more than you expect of it
The difference between regular soaps and anti-bacterial soaps lies in the fact that the latter obviously contains additional chemicals. Also, they both work in different ways to achieve essentially the same result, that is - removing icky pathogens and dirt from your hands.
Regular soaps work by sticking to the virus. Long story short it helps to ‘break apart’ the virus. Anti Bacterial on the other hand kills the pathogens. So, really, by hook or by crook, all roads lead to a germ-free Rome. Anti-bacterial might just be tad bit quicker.
Although beware, many anti bacterial soaps contain harmful ingredients such as triclosan and triclocarban, which can be an irritant and quite frankly toxic. In 2016, US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) even banned the chemical, yet we might still find this in hoards of products being sold in India.
Among the antibacterial and regular soaps there are further two teams to pit against each other, namely, Liquid vs. Bar Soaps
Liquid vs Bar Soap
Facing another crossroad in the soap section aisle? Fear not, let's bust some more myths.
Bar soaps are ancient, they’ve been around longer than any of us but liquid soaps, now those are the new kids in town. Well, as new as 1865 can be. This was the year William Shepphard is said to have gotten the first patent for liquid soap. Soaps only got more complicated and varied from then on.
A little fun trivia - India has a history of using a certain berry known as, well, soapberries. Or if you’re into the science side of things then Sapindus which literally translates to Soap (sapon/sap) and India (indus). The berries contain saponin - the natural soap ingredient that does the job of lifting the grease and dirt off your skin.
Anyway, back to the question of the hour - liquid or bar? If I were to cut to the chase I’ll have to say they’re both good to go, as long as you know it’s sourced right and are aware of what goes into it.
Bar soaps are said to be less moisturising in comparison but that’s solely because a majority of the bar soaps available in the market have high pH levels. Moisturising handwashes are typically liquid soaps.
A lot of times we doubt the hygiene factor when it comes to sharing a bar of soap. We fear that sharing a soap is much like sharing a spoon with a stranger, but that’s not entirely true. It’s a pretty legitimate concern though, if you can leave bacteria on the surfaces you touch then it’s possible you do the same on a bar of soap. They are constantly exposed to the environment it’s kept in, so is there a chance of germ contamination? Not really. Family members living on the same bar, definitely something? Nope, no contamination.
There is something known as surfactants in your soap bar. Surfactants are compounds that help to physically remove any germs thriving on your hand, as soon as you apply water to it. The germs are supposed to wash away into the drain. Besides, if these are bacteria coming from you then they really won’t cause you any harm (remember, there are both good and bad bacteria, and we are constantly carrying the good ones in and around us). When it comes to family, the fact remains that you are already sharing enough and more microorganisms with each other.
Ultimately it all comes down to How you wash your hands and how long you scrub them for, and that makes all the difference. Bars and Liquids work just as efficiently to remove unwanted things from your hands. And get this, ALL soaps can put up a tough fight against Covid-19 if you wash properly.
Below is a step-by-step process for effective handwashing.
- Wet hands with running water
- Apply enough soap to cover wet hands
- Scrub all surfaces of the hands – including back of hands, between fingers and under nails – for at least 20 seconds.
- Rinse thoroughly with running water
- Dry hands with a clean cloth or single-use towel
The verdict is that you should choose your soap according to what you want out of it, besides a germ free wash cause they all guarantee that anyway. The only things that should make you eliminate a soap are these harmful ingredients -Triclosan, Parabens, synthetic dyes/colourants, Propylene Glycol, Glycol Distearate (the thing that makes your antiseptic soap ‘shine’). The best natural hand wash doesn't contain any of those nasties. If it’s moisturisation, lather and convenience you value, go for a liquid hand wash. Our very own Natural Hand Wash might just be what you’re looking for . If you value savings and don’t want bottles then bars are the way to go.
A little tip from our side - just ensure they’re sourced right and are safe for the environment, if so, then they are a 100% safe for you.