FAN MAIL FRIDAYS: Is it unhygienic to share and reuse bar soap?

Hellooooo lovelies! I'm off to Tagaytay with the boyfriend today to end the week nicely. Well, to be honest, we're both dying to have Bulalo! :D (bone marrow in clear broth) Now to thoroughly enjoy that Bulalo, i'll be hitting the gym in a few and get some workout done! :D

For now, check out our FMF from Lily.

Hi TBJ! 
Beautiful and informative blog you've got right there! Like some of your readers, I'm a silent one also, but what prompted me to 'speak' was my lingering question about bar soap hygiene. 
I'm a cleanliness freak and an OC as well. Our cleanser of choice at home is a bar soap. There's one in each of our three bathrooms, one in the kitchen (we even have a stainless soap there), and one in the master's bedroom. We're about 8 in the household (9 when my brother checks in for the weekend because he rents a condo near work) and we all use the same bars of soap to wash our hands, arms, and God knows, maybe even some use them to rinse whatever body part they please after defecation! For sure it ain't me! My question is, is it hygienic to share bar soaps and to use the same bar soap over and over again, regardless where you use it? Looking forward to your response! 

Photo Credits: listentolena.com

Hi Lily!

Glad you brought this up! I had the same fear as well that's why I urged my mom to switch to liquid hand soaps because that time, I thought the bacteria was just going to and fro my hands and the bar soap. But after a lil' research, all my doubts were laid to rest.

Commercial bar soaps (Dial, Safeguard, Nivea, Palmolive, Dove, Lifebuoy, Camay, Dr. Kauffman, you name it!) have been inoculated against risky pathogens such as E.Coli and Salmonella. When you wash your hands with the soap, the oil and sudsy ingredients lift dirt and bacteria from your skin and yes, it's highly likely for them to transfer on the surface of the soap, but the soap is not an ideal environment for pathogens plus it's highly treated to kill the them. I suppose you rinse the soap before putting it back on the dish-if you do, then that's good news because you shove the pathogens down the drain and the soap is fresh and ready to use again. If you don't, that's okay because inoculation did the job for you so this is not a reason to panic. So go ahead, fear not the overused and overshared bar soap, but when it comes to washing cooties, maybe it's best to have a separate soap for that because it's...well...yucky.

But what about organic bar soaps?

Photo Credits: bloggerlocal.com

A lot of people have switched to organic bar soaps because aside from the Green Revolution, two of the main reasons are such bar soaps are more moisturizing and 'safer' because they contain no preservatives and synthetic chemicals. Most likely, organic soaps contain Tea Tree Oil as a natural antimicrobial ingredient and certain oils that keep your hands and skin as smooth as silk, whereas commercial bar soaps may contain the skin- drying trio: detergent, SLES, and SLS. 

But does this really make the organic bar soap a good choice? Not so. Because Tea Tree Oil can only combat E.Coli, Salmonella, and other risky bacteria at a certain dosage, which is 4%. Anything below that puts you at risk of infection. Here's an excerpt from news-medical.net.

Dr Ann McMahon and Professor David McDowell, members of the University's Food Microbiology Research Group, (University of Ulster) said: "We have been growing pathogens such as MRSA, E-coli and Salmonella in low concentrations of tea tree oil. These concentrations are not sufficient to kill the bacteria, but can switch on their defense mechanisms. Unfortunately, these defense mechanisms have the added effect of making bacteria more resistant to antibiotics, and able to cause "harder to treat" infections."

Yes ma'm, these pathogens are living creatures, much like the Flu virus that adapts quickly and continuously. It's really hard to tell if your organic bar of soap meets the standard dosage of tea tree oil, unless you ask the manufacturer. (I doubt they will tell you that!) This is why in other countries, their respective health departments have been imposing strict guidelines on the formulations of organic soaps, shampoos, body cleansers, and whatnot. You could say that I am against organic stuff-No, I am not. I can use them, but they're not really my preference. So if you're going to ask me, I say ditch the organic bar soap quickly than the commercial bar soap. (I do this) But if you prefer organic products, go ahead, no one's stopping you-just be sure that the brand is well- known and try to find out if it's legit!

Hope you enjoyed this post! :)

**Got a burning question about makeups, skin care products, beauty, dieting, and health tips, relationships, and whatever? Just send them to martha.stabarbara@yahoo.com or shoot 'em up at The Beauty Junkee's FB Fan Page via the MESSAGE button and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. (Please, do not send me Math- related queries. :D)

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11 Lovely Thoughts

  1. Thanks for sharing! It's really scary when you think about these things... we don't use organic soap, but we do rinse the soap after use just to be sure.

  2. Hi, Martha! I love how detailed you answer this question. Because I'm super OC and bothered by bar soap sharing, too. So thanks! Good to know, though I still prefer using liquid soaps or separate bar soaps for each family member. :) Have fun in Tagaytay with bulalo and the boyfriend!

  3. We used to share bar soaps when I was young and I was never bothered by it since I automatically thought they'd rinse it after use. But after reading this article, maybe I should have paid more attention before. Haha. Good thing we each have our own soap now. :)

  4. In my opinion, its better using liquid soap in public places. But at home, I don't mind if we use bar soaps, me and my family.

  5. this is very informative! I learn a lot from your blog Miss Martha! Have a great weekend! :)

  6. Nice. Thanks for sharing Ms. M! I'm scared too to share bar soaps also. Reading this gives me such a relief. :)

  7. Hi Martha! Thank you for this article! I used to believe that it's unhygienic to share bar soaps, now I know...

  8. I read somewhere that even plain water is actually enough to clean our bodies. We don't really pick-up e coli and salmonella in our regular environments. Personally I'd still use soap though. I'd think that soap, regardless of whether antibacterial or organic, is still better than nothing.

  9. Me and my mom were given sample sizes of organic soaps from a friend of mine. They range from tea tree, lemon grass, oatmeal, milk and honey and many more. The good thing I do is that I wash them after using. Thanks for pointing that out! ;))

  10. Joyce: Thanks again for that useful info! Love how you'd add more interesting stuff to my existing blog posts. :)

    Majorie: Welcome! :D

    Shirley and Roxanne: You're welcome! :D

    Issa: And have a great weekend too! :D

    Judith: Totally understand that! Same here, for vanity's sake, I also prefer liquid soaps in public toilets. :D

    Anna: Hi and welcome to my blog! Thanks for the comment. Actually, I did point out that it's okay to share and reuse bath soaps. :)

    Dang: Hello Dang! Glad you liked this post. Yes, we enjoyed Tagaytay! It was super cooold! :D

    Rattus: Hi there and thanks for sharing! :)

  11. Thanks for explaining this in detail Ms. M, we also share bar soaps at home, and I always rinse the soap before and after every use. It's good to know that I'm doing it right as I'm scared of dirt or bacteria spreading as well.


Thank you for your comments!