Bar Soap in the Spotlight

Never has it seemed more important to have clean hands than now, during these strange and very uncertain times of COVID-19. I don't know about you, but my poor hands have been suds-upped, rinsed off, and repeated more times than I can even dare to count. And when we are not near soap and a sink, we turn to hand sanitizer, which stresses the poor skin on our hands even more. That is why we here at Farm&Field really pay attention to the ingredients that go into our bars of soap. We use skin-nourishing fats to help sooth our skin, while keeping it clean and germ-free. However, using bar soap as a handwashing aid is not always the most popular choice. A lot of us tend to choose pump soap instead. But why?

Some people see a bar of soap sitting next to the sink and think about how many people might have touched it and wonder about the cleanliness of the bar itself. But have you ever watched the video of the pre-K teacher's science experiment, showing how soap physically repels germs? It is pretty fascinating. And it also makes it fairly apparent that bacteria and germs on bar soap wash off every time you use it, so there is really no need to worry about it contaminating your skin. If you still are not convinced, simply rinse the bar of soap under running water while lathering it up, which would remove anything on the surface of the bar of soap. Allowing the bar to air dry away from water when not in use is also a good way to ensure the absence of yuck, as it is not the soap that bacteria love—it's moisture! And the added bonus of allowing your bar of soap to completely dry between uses, whether it is sitting by your sink or in your shower, is that it will last a lot longer.

Being today is Earth Day, we cannot go without talking about the eco-friendliness of bar soap over pump soap. What better way to reduce the plastic we use than to ditch the pump bottles and opt for a soap option that requires no plastic packaging at all? So many plastic bottles end up in our landfills, and even of those bottles that are recycled, being that plastic can only be recycled two to three times before its structure is weakened so much that it can not be processed any further, it ultimately ends up as trash, regardless. Also, even though our ability to recycle is fabulous and, of course, a great alternative to just throwing everything out in the garbage bin, recycling is still resource-intensive and pollution-causing too. The better choice, always, is to avoid using plastic at all, if you can help it.

Speaking of the environment, bar soap is much more environmentally friendly simply based on its ingredients. A batch of soap is made with base fats, lye (sodium hydroxide), water, and an optional scent. We use color from natural sources, and any scent in our products comes from essential oils only (no fragrance oils!) or the natural base ingredients themselves (such as cocoa butter, honey, beeswax, etc.). If you look at the ingredients on a bottle of pump hand soap, you are likely to see quite a lengthy list, including preservatives, plasticizers (e.g., phthalates), and fragrances.

Bar soap can often last longer than a bottle of liquid soap because we often tend to use more than one pump of liquid soap and, thus, use more than we probably really need. With bar soap, it tends to be a more natural process of working up the proper amount of lather and simply rinsing it clean. It is also highly portable, making it fabulous for travel (which is why we love shampoo and conditioner bars over the bottled variety as well—expect to read more about that in the near future!). And, because a bar most often lasts longer over the bottle, you are likely to save money too.

Last, but certainly not least, at least in our book, is that a bar of soap sitting in a pretty soap dish is easy on the eyes. Bars of soap are just lovely to look at! Some are fancy, with layers or intricate designs, and others are simply beautiful just by their rustic and simplistic nature. So with the choices in front of you, think about the good you might be doing to the planet, to your body, and to your lifestyle by choosing that solid bar of soap.