Bar Soap vs. Liquid Soap

The first bar of soap was invented by the Babylonians around 2800 B.C. In ancient history, soap bars were generally used for medical purposes, such as treating skin allegories or diseases. The kind of soap we use today came into production in the early 19th century. Therefore, it is safe to say that soap bars are the traditional relic manufactured for the purpose of personal cleanliness and hygiene.

Soap bars are still a pretty common consumer product, though many people today prefer soap in liquid form. The first liquid form of soap was invented by the end of the 19th century, though it only became popular after the 20th century. Liquid soap sold in pump-able bottles are simply convenient and greatly reduce the transition of germs from one person to another. Liquid soap is ideal for keeping in public places, where a person is more likely to catch foreign germs and get infected by contact. However, the use of bar soaps is still prevalent among households for understandable reasons.

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Matter of Habit

The older generation is just more accustomed to the conventional bar soap, and it is typically cheaper than contemporary liquid soaps. Since old habits die hard, many of us do not even consider the molten varieties while shopping for our monthly toiletries. What will be we do with the fancy soap holders in our washrooms if all we buy is bottled liquid soap? Colorful and translucent soap bars have a unique aesthetic that cannot be achieved by the pureed kind.

Moreover, some of us prefer the direct bar because squeezing out soap from the bottle seems like an unnecessary hassle. It is indeed quite infuriating when there’s only a little concoction left at the bottom of the bottle that won’t squeeze out; it gets even worse if there’s still plentiful of liquid soap, but the pump stops working for some reason.

Skin Types and Personal Preference

Soap bars are primarily preferred by individuals who have extra-oily skin. Traditional soaps are known to dissolve fats, i.e. they strip the skin of natural oils accumulated on the surface and within pores. This property is favorable for oily skin that is prone to acne and breakouts caused by clogged pores. On the contrary, most liquid soaps have moisturizing properties that are beneficial for dry and sensitive skin. The sticky layer or lubricant deposited by liquid soap helps dry skin retain moisture and remain protected from foreign particles.

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Excessive use of bar soap on dry skin may cause dehydration, roughness, and rashes, unless followed by a moisturizing cream or lotion. Liquid soap is easier on the skin, as it requires minimum friction to apply and lather. Bar soap needs to be moistened with water before use, and the friction created by rubbing it against skin is actually good for scrubbing away stubborn dirt or deposits. While liquid soap adds a silkiness to skin, bar soap excels at giving that squeaky clean feeling many of us adore.

Protection against Germs

Both bar and liquid soaps are infused with antiseptic or antibacterial ingredients nowadays, thus they are both equally effective for rinsing off germs. It doesn’t matter which of the two you choose and like, as long as you know how to clean your hands properly. All kinds of soaps are capable of inactivating, as well as removing different viruses and infective micro-organisms, so consider yourself protected. It is recommended to rinse and lather for at least 20-30 seconds before washing off the soap with water. This provides enough time to the soap for reacting with or dissolving the debris on our skin surface.

Some scientists suggest that bacteria may accumulate on the surface of bar soap, so there could be a minor risk of contamination. Liquid soaps are comparatively safer because they are enclosed in a bottle, i.e. the soap inside remains sterile because no direct contact is involved. That being said, the transfer of harmful germs from a bar soap is highly unlikely, especially if it is only used by one person or a small family. If you live in a hostel, shared apartment, or with a big family, go for liquid soap just in case. Not to mention, offices, schools, hospitals, and all other public places are much better off with bottled soap for obvious reasons.

Storage and Sustainability

Dry soap bars are easier to store and carry during travel. They take up less space and there is no risk of leakage in the luggage. Liquid soap that is not sealed is likely to make a mess in your bag if it gets pressed or uncapped by mistake. It is a lot less troubling to leave behind a bar soap because it is more economical than liquid soap. If we are talking about placement in household washrooms, bottled liquid soap is the unexpected winner. First of all, it doesn’t need any container for placement; you just buy it and put it on the sink display.

Bar soap can be messy and it becomes mushy when moisture accumulates in its container. If the soap starts breaking up while you attempt to lather, most of it is wasted and you get on more than you need. The soap bar often slips from the hand and incurs damage after a bad fall. The surface where it drops may become slippery and lead to slip and fall injuries. Liquid soap is not likely to ooze out, unless someone deliberately messes with the bottle. You can easily wipe the bottle clean and squeeze out soap without removing it from the spot. The probability of wasting soap is quite low because you get a tiny amount on every pump. As a result, a standard bottle of liquid soap is expected to last much longer than a bar of soap.

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Bar soaps are the more environmentally friendly option because they come in paper or cardboard packaging, which is biodegradable. Liquid soaps typically come in plastic bottles that are a burden on the earth’s landfills and water bodies. Paper packaging decomposes in a matter of weeks, whereas plastic does not decompose – it takes thousands of years to disintegrate; also, paper is easier to recycle in comparison to plastic.

Shelf life and Smell

Dry soap has a shelf life of up to 3 years, though the 100% organic types do not last that long. Soaps made from all natural ingredients are able to maintain their original consistency and effectiveness for no more than a year. Liquid soaps, despite having chemical compounds, have a much shorter shelf life than conventional bar soaps. The moisture in liquid soap makes it more susceptible to develop bacteria and mold. Modern soaps do come with expiration dates, so do not use them if they are past their shelf life. Perished soap bars become brittle and dry, so they don’t lather easily, whereas liquid soap may become moldy and smell funny.

Liquid soaps usually comprise a strong scent and bar soaps normally offer a light fragrance. Therefore, if you want to get rid of a pungent odor on your hands (such as that of garlic), liquid soap may offer better results. If you are among the people who experience suffocation from very powerful smells or scents, the bar soap is probably better up your alley.

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