Do germs live on them? Short answer is yes. Does that mean that you will get infected by them? Unlikely.
Unlike liquid soap that you pump out from a bottle, a bar soap simply sits out in the open, seemingly vulnerable to all the germs in your shower. So before you rush to your bathroom to throw out that bar of soap (or shampoo!), perhaps it is useful for you to understand quite literally, what is going on with your bar of soap and if they are safe for your skin.
We are naturally germy
It’s estimated that about half of our body cells are made out of bacteria, and a lot of those live on our skin's surface, making up what is known as our skin microbiome. But they are good bacteria that forms our skin barrier, protecting us from infections.
We cannot stress this enough that our skin is an intelligent system that can be thrown off balance due to many factors such as age, diet, sun exposure, climate, and quite plainly, the products we use! Using a product filled with artificials over a prolonged period of time can break down that skin barrier - leading to more health issues in the longer term.
Photo credit: NCBI Resource
Did seeing those mites freak you out a little? They are there, on you. Right now. A million of them staring right back at ya.
But we digress.
Photo credit: Bombaert Patrick
Can I get infected by bacteria on soaps?
NO. But don't take our word for it. This is a scientific research we found published here
According to a study done by scientists, an experiment was conducted on a panel of 16 subjects, who were instructed to wash their hands with soap bars that were intentionally contaminated with disease-causing strains, such as Escherichia coli (E coli) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
After washing, none of the 16 panelists had detectable levels of either test bacterium on their hands. An earlier study also found out that bacteria does not get passed on to the next user. So no, you will unlikely get infected by a bar of soap that's lying out in the open. Instead, your chances of getting infected is higher if you do not clean yourself properly!
Photo credit: Sit Pro
How can I protect my soap from bacteria anyway?
Bacteria lives quite happily in the "slime" of bar soap, but practicing these simple steps can ensure that your soap remains at its best state.
a) Keep the bar dry
Moisture and water attracts bacteria. So always try your best to store soaps out of water and allow it to dry properly between uses. This also prevents them from getting soft or slimy.
b) Wash off the first layer
If you still feel eeky, you can always run it under water for a few seconds before every use.
c) Regularly cleaning out your loofah/scrubbing glove/bag/washcloth
If you are a fan of using these tools, remember to keep them clean and wash them in the washing machine weekly. Avoid leaving your soap inside the soap bag as it will not only trap moisture (and bacteria), but also make it melt a whole lot faster.
We do not advocate storing soaps inside boxes for the same reason that we have just mentioned above - you may feel that it is cleaner but it is purely psychological. Let your soap be free!
Can I share my bar soap with someone else?
If you're just sharing the bar with family members, you have nothing to worry about since you probably share many of the same microorganisms anyway.
Remember to practice proper hygiene. It is more important than worrying about the bacteria resting on your toiletries. The diagram below is extracted from the World Health Organisation (WHO) website on the model way of washing our hands. Stay safe everyone!
Explore our full range of bar soaps:
Organic Facial Bars shop
Organic Shea Butter Soaps shop
Aleppo soaps for Eczema skin shop
Marseille Multi-purpose Soaps shop