The Dangers of Sharing Bar Soap for Hand Washing

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Research in Indian Journal of Dental Research in June 2006 revealed bar soap contain two to five different types of germs. A July 2015 study in American Journal of Infection Control found that around 62 percent of bar soap was contaminated while liquid soap was around 3 percent.

Some germs are in soap can include E. coli, salmonella, shigella bacteria, as well as viruses such as norovirus and rotavirus and staph, said Kelly Reynolds, professor of public health and environmental sciences at the University of Arizona.

The bacteria hiding in soap has the potential to spread from person to person if you choose to use it together. Instead of using bar soap in public toilets to wash your hands, liquid soap is the safest option.

“We never found bacteria in liquid soap,” Reynolds said LivestrongFriday.

However, if you share a bar of soap at home, it’s a different story. You may only share soap with people you know, not strangers. To reduce the risk of spreading something bad to family members by sharing soap, there are a number of things you can do, including rinsing the soap after use.

“Bacteria love to stick to soap bubbles,” Reynolds says.

Next, make sure to store the soap in a place where it can dry easily. Bacteria thrive in a humid environment. So, a wet bar of soap will provide an opportunity for germs to multiply.

“As the soap dries, the number of bacteria decreases, which lowers the risk of transfer of any bacteria,” says Reynolds.

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Still worried about the spread of germs? According to Reynolds, using liquid soap could be an option. Washing handsespecially during this COVID-19 pandemic, is one of the best defenses against disease transmission, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“The most important thing here is to wash your hands. Don’t worry too much about the soap. Lather for 20 seconds and scrub all parts of your hands, then rinse and dry,” advises Reynolds.

So, is it a bad idea to share a bar of soap with other people? It’s not bad as long as you take some precautions to reduce the risk of spreading germs, including rinsing off the soap before and after use, lathering for 20 to 30 seconds, and allowing the bar to dry between uses.

Also read: Bar Soap and Liquid Soap, Which is Better?

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