“After washing, none of the 16 panelists 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 handwashing with previously used soap bars and support the frequent use of soap and water for handwashing.”
So how can a bar of soap have bacteria on it and yet not spread germs? Simply, 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.
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Body and mind
The new soap stars that are raising the bar
Bin that plastic bottle of shower gel. The soap bar is back – and better than ever, writes Claire Coleman
Bars of soap are back – and in a big way. Once thought to be old-fashioned, drying and harbourers of germs, we shunned them in favour of shower mousses and liquid soaps.
Now, though, we’ve fallen in love with them all over again. Data from Kantar Worldpanel show that in the year to September 2018, Britons spent £68.3 million on barred soaps. That’s up 2.9 per cent on the previous 12 months, confirming market analysis by Mintel in the preceding years.
Part of it is down to environmental concerns. A bar of soap requires minimal packaging and Kantar’s researchers found that almost half of bar soap users say that they avoid products that are harmful to the environment.
But what about the fears that soaps are astringent and unhygienic? Newer formulations no longer dry skin out, while several scientific papers dispute the theory that bars spread germs. Then there’s the luxury factor.
“Bar soaps are now slightly more indulgent than they have been in the past, as there is now a bigger opportunity for a more premium offering,” says Tim Nancholas of Kantar Worldpanel.