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10/06/2020

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Bar Soap Is Covered in Germs - How to Keep Bar Soap Clean

The shower is sometimes the most underrated of modern inventions. For thousands of years, people didn’t have access to showers. Can you imagine? Thankfully, we can enjoy a good shower whenever we want, but there’s something about your shower that you might be overlooking. If you use bar soap, your shower might not be as effective as you imagine. Have you ever thought about how to keep bar soap clean? If not, you’re due for an important lesson.

Soap Isn’t as Clean as You Think

Soap is the thing we use to clean ourselves. It’s not dirty. We’ve all thought that way at some point, but it’s unfortunately not true. Some of you already know this, but others are going to have delusions shattered. Soap is kinda gross, even though it’s important.

You’re Gross and You Touch the Soap

It’s not exactly rocket science. Human beings are gross. We’re full of bacteria. In fact, half of the cells in your body are not you; they’re bacteria. You’re literally crawling with germs. So, when you touch your bar of soap, it might be cleaning you, but you’re getting it dirty. It’s an exchange, and you can’t avoid it (although we’ll discuss how to keep your soap lean in a minute).

It gets even worse when you show signs of low pH balance. This can lead to abnormal microbial growth and skin infections, and all of that can spread on your soap.

To be fair, not all of the bacteria you get on your soap is bad, but if you think your soap is germ-free, you are mistaken about this whole process.

man showering

Soap Gets Germs From Other Places Too

Unfortunately, you're not the only thing getting your soap dirty. It lives in your bathroom, which is not exactly the cleanest place in a house. No matter how many times you scrub, there will be germs in your bathroom.

This is about to get a little gross, so if you’re squeamish, you should probably skip to the next section. Just understand that your soap has a lot of germs on it.

For the rest of you, it’s time to talk about poop. Every time you poop, you release intestinal bacteria into the air. It’s literally impossible not to do this. That stuff gets everywhere. Plenty of studies have shown this, and it means that you're getting poop germs on your bar of soap too. It’s inevitable.

The good news is that there are ways to deal with this problem, and we’ll discuss them in a bit, but it’s important that you understand that there are bad germs on your bar of soap.

Aside from your poop, there are still more germs coming from the bathroom. Mold and mildew are common problems in these rooms — especially in showers. Those microbes also get on your soap, and you don’t want them there. In all, you have a ton of sources of germs, and many of them get on your soap on a regular basis.

Soap Isn’t Self-Cleaning

You would think that the bar of soap you use is antimicrobial. It doesn’t matter if it gets exposed to germs because it’ll just kill all of them, right? Unfortunately, that’s not remotely true. Even if your soap is antibacterial (and many bar soaps aren’t), it’s not immune to microbial growth. The soap usually needs to be activated by water to sufficiently mix with the bacteria and do its thing. Even when it does, it won’t kill all of the microbes, and most bar soaps are pretty useless against fungi (molds and mildews). Countless studies have shown that bars of soap can and do grow microbes, and some of them are bad for you.

There is good news mixed in with all of this. First, most of the bacteria that is on your skin isn’t hurting you. It’s why you’re not perpetually sick. If that gets on your soap, it isn’t the worst. The real problem occurs if you have a skin infection or some uncommon microbes. In those cases, the soap can help you spread infection.

The second bit of good news is that there are things you can do to keep your soap clean. If you learn a few tips, your bar of soap will be about as clean as the containers for your shampoo and other soaps.

How to Keep Soap Clean

Your soap doesn’t have to be a wasteland of bacterial growth. A few easy tips are enough to keep it clean. It’s kind of like penis hygiene. Wash it and keep the moisture down. Allow us to elaborate.

bar soap

The Dave Chappelle Method

There’s an old Chappelle Show skit that really nails this issue. You should watch it for some easy laughs. What this really boils down to is the fact that a lot of people use the bar of soap directly on their bodies. It almost makes sense. It’s easier to use the bar instead of transferring soap to a washcloth. The problem is what you just read above. Your body is riddled with germs. When you go with direct contact, you’re germing up the soap, and we now know that soap isn’t self-cleaning.

One of the best ways to solve this problem is to use a washcloth or similar alternative. When you do, use a clean, dry cloth every time you shower (if you don’t it becomes the new harbinger of germs and all of your efforts are wasted). Get the cloth wet and use it to lather a good bit of soap. Then, use the cloth to wash yourself. Make sure you rinse the bar of soap when you’re done.

By taking this simple measure, you dramatically reduce your soap’s exposure to microbes. It’s that easy.

Keep it Dry

Reducing exposure is nice, but we already covered that your soap is going to be hit with microbes no matter what you do. Keeping it dry is the most important countermeasure.

It’s fine for your soap to get wet while you shower, but it needs to completely dry between showers. Microbes need moisture to survive. Dry soap doesn’t let them grow and persist. It’s a simple formula.

The problem is that showers tend to hold a lot of moisture. In a lot of cases, you’ll need to get better ventilation or drying for your soap. There are a few things you can do to this end. The easiest is to store the soap out of the shower so it can easily dry between uses. If that’s not viable, you can consider installing a fart fan near the shower. A localized heater or dehumidifier can really get the job done.

If you share your bar of soap, it’s not going to stay dry as much. It’s fine for multiple people to like the same soap, but get separate bars and don’t store them in the shower. This helps to solve the moisture problems. It also ensures you aren’t getting roommate germs on you if they're lax in their soap care.

Rinse the Soap

All of these methods are easy, but this is the easiest. Soap dissolves in water. If you rinse it thoroughly before washing, you remove the outer layer. The microbes largely get washed away. This is important because all of the above precautions are only a partial solution. With all of that effort, your soap will still have some germs on it. A quick rinse is the last step in thorough care that keeps your soap properly clean. You can rinse it immediately after use too. It won’t hurt.

Soap Alternatives

crop cleanser

A bar of soap requires some maintenance if you want to keep it clean. There’s no getting around it. If that sounds cumbersome, then you can consider some alternatives that make everything a lot easier.

Go Liquid

You can skip all of the hassle with liquid soap. To be fair, there’s some back and forth on whether liquid soap is better than bar soap. The truth is that it’s a complicated and nuanced topic, but in the discussion of germs, the soap inside of a sealed, plastic container is not picking up microbes. Also, since it’s already liquid, it actually is self-cleaning.

All of that said, the bottle containing your liquid soap can get dirty. The good news is that it’s super easy to take care of the bottle. Virtually all liquid soaps come in plastic bottles. Plastics dry very well and are non-porous. That means it’s really hard for microbes to get a foothold on the plastic. Your only real concern is if the bathroom is perpetually damp. That can be enough to undo the advantages of plastic.

In any case, to keep your soap bottle clean, all you have to do is rinse it every shower. You can do it before and after use. It doesn’t take much effort, and it will be enough to prevent any real buildup of serious microbes on the bottle — especially if it is able to dry after each shower. Get yourself some quality male hygiene wash if you want to do things the easy way.

Cut the Bars

If you really love your bar soap, there’s a simple trick that makes maintenance easier. It might seem counterintuitive, but doing this will keep your soap cleaner and make it last longer. It’s pretty simple. The smaller pieces have less surface area. That gives the bacteria less room to grow. It also causes the soap to get used more slowly. This reduces waste, combats soap scum and makes for a better experience all around. If you experiment a few times, you’ll figure out how large you like your soap pieces, and you’ll be good to go.

You now know almost too much about soap hygiene. You’re welcome. You can make sure your soap is keeping you properly clean, and it won’t really take much effort.

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