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Hand Washing with Bar Soap: Everything You Need to Know

April 26, 2022 3 min read

a stack of different colored soap bars

According to experts, our hands can have anywhere from 100,000 to a few million germs at any time. While some of those germs live naturally on our skin, others are picked up as we go around touching contaminated surfaces, shaking hands and using our germ-ridden smartphones.

Hand washing is an easy and effective step we can all take to prevent the spread of germs and disease, and there’s no better way to get the job done than by lathering up with a hardworking soap bar. But if you’re new to the world of bar soap, you may have some important questions about them. Is hand washing with bar soap recommended? How does bar soap compare to liquid soap? And what should you look for in a soap bar? We have the answers you need to know.

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Does Bar Soap Kill Germs?

This is a common misconception about soap that almost all of us have believed at one point. Soap, whether it’s in liquid or bar form, doesn’t actually kill germs. Rather, the surfactants in soap combine with water to lift bacteria and viruses off the skin and wash them down the drain. So, if you’re holding back on buying bar soap because it’s not “antibacterial,” rest assured that a bar of soap is equally effective at preventing illness.

Is Bar Soap Hygienic? 

We get this question a lot, so we wrote an entire blog about it. The short answer is yes, bar soap is definitely hygienic! While bar soap generally harbors more bacteria on it than liquid soap, studies show that no detectable levels of microbes remain after using the proper hand washing technique. 

How you store your bar soap can make a big difference in how many germs it harbors. Keep your bar dry in between uses with a well-draining soap dish. Not only will a high-quality soap dish reduce the number of bacteria, but it will also prevent your bar from getting mushy, thereby prolonging its lifespan.

What Are Some of the Benefits of Hand Washing with Bar Soap?

While bar soap and liquid soap are equally effective at fighting germs, many people prefer to lather up with solid bar soap for the following reasons:

  • They’re plastic-free. The problem with liquid soap is that it nearly always comes in a wasteful plastic bottle that eventually ends up in a landfill — or worse, the natural environment, where it harms wildlife. Bar soaps eliminate this problem by having the ability to come package-free.
  • They’re cost-effective. Does it always seem like you have “hand soap” written on your grocery list? Switch to bar soap and start getting more bang for your buck. Bar soaps are relatively affordable and last much longer than their liquid counterparts, which means more green in your pocket.
  • They contain fewer toxic chemicals. With bar soap, you’re less likely to find parabens, fragrances, sulfates and other potentially harmful chemicals listed on the ingredients label. That’s because bar soaps generally contain fewer and more natural ingredients than liquid soap. 

What Should I Look for in a Bar of Soap?

For a squeaky clean you can feel good about, look for a natural bar soap made from plant-based oils. Natural soaps are super effective at washing away grime and often contain beneficial ingredients such as shea butter and saponified coconut oil to help replace lost moisture.

a pair of soap bars in a a soap dish

Most importantly, natural soaps are less likely to contain the harsh, artificial ingredients commonly found in mass-produced soaps. These ingredients include (but aren’t limited to) the following:

  • Triclosan
  • Parabens
  • Sulfates
  • Synthetic dyes and fragrances
  • Alcohol

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How to Wash Your Hands with Bar Soap

Hand washing with bar soap isn’t complicated. Just follow these simple tips and you’ll have a routine down before you know it.

  • Rinse off your bar under running water
  • Rub the bar in your hands to create a rich lather
  • Put the bar back in its soap dish
  • Rub your hands together, making sure to get the backs of your hands, in between the fingers and under the fingernails
  • Rinse off with clean water and towel dry your hands

Because our bars are so big, they can even be sliced into two pieces: one for hand washing by the sink and one for body washing in the shower.

a woman holding a stack of soap bars

Lather Up with The Earthling Co.

When it comes to keeping your family and the planet healthy, nothing beats a natural soap bar. Our plastic-free soap bars are packed with plant-based oils and butters that lift away bacteria while leaving your skin’s natural moisture intact. Ultimately, that means a greener beauty routine!


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