Never before has the focus been so resolutely on the importance of handwashing. Including how best to wash your hands. Which is ideally for 20 seconds - or two rounds of ‘Happy Birthday’, not forgetting to include your thumbs (which is the area most people neglect). But what about the product you use to wash your hands? What’s best? Liquid hand wash? Or a traditional soap bar? Or is there no difference at all?
The good news is that they are both more effective than alcohol gel when it comes to washing viruses down the plughole as this article in The Guardian explains if you’re interested in the molecular science bit. Essentially, because they are both types of soap they loosen the ‘glue’ between the virus and your skin, and blast apart the outer spikes of the virus, rendering it inactive.
But virus destruction apart, are there any other differences between liquid hand wash and traditional soap bars?
Traditional bar soaps tend to have a better cleaning action. The rubbing action of the bar on your skin creates friction. This helps to remove any stubborn dirt or debris. Being a solid bar also means it’s possible to add exfoliating ingredients such as oats or salt, and these are especially popular for removing dead skin. But of course, with good handwashing technique both traditional bar soap and liquid hand wash are equally good at keeping your hands clean and free from germs.
Anything you use to clean the surface of the skin can have a drying effect if you’re not careful. The surface of your skin is acidic, while soap is alkaline, it’s why overwashing can leave your skin feeling dry, tight and itchy particularly around your face if you have sensitive skin. Liquid soap tends to be less drying as it’s more common to find added moisturisers. Whichever type of soap you choose, look for ingredients such as skin-soothing aloe vera or natural oils to leave your skin feeling soft as well as clean.
You don’t have to share a liquid hand wash which is the appeal for many in places where soap is shared. (And they look fresh and inviting in any newly cleaned bathroom!) Key with soap bars is to invest in a soap dish to present your soap afresh to each user, with space for the water to drain freely from the bar.
In terms of environmental factors, soap bars often beat liquid hand wash as there’s minimum packaging. However, it’s getting easier and easier to find liquid hand wash in 100% recyclable packaging with refillable bottles, including our very own Sea Kelp and Au Lait ranges.
At the end of the day the choice between traditional bar soap and liquid hand wash is purely personal.
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