Are bar soaps better than liquid soap?

Soap is a vital part of our everyday lives, but when it comes to washing our hands and choosing the best option for the environment, is it best to buy bar or liquid soap? We take a look at the pros and cons of each.

1 - Which is more effective for cleaning – bar soap or liquid soap?
The short answer to this is that bar soap and liquid soap are equally effective when it comes to cleansing your skin and eliminating germs. Regardless of the form it comes in, all soaps are designed to reduce the number of pathogens on your hands. The key is just to wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds and you’re good to go!

2 - Which is cheaper, bar soap or liquid soap?       
Bar soap usually works out cheaper than liquid soap for a couple of reasons. It’s cheaper to buy than liquid soap and it also lasts a lot longer, partly due to the fact that we tend to pump more liquid soap than we need when washing our hands. A study by researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology revealed that we use almost seven times more liquid soap than bar soap on a typical trip to the sink!

Bar Soapsumire8 via Shutterstock

3 - Is bar soap more eco-friendly than liquid soap?
From the packaging to the energy used to produce each product, bar soap is more sustainable than liquid soap all-around. Bar soap can be purchased in a cardboard box or completely package-free, whereas liquid soap tends to come in a plastic bottle and pump pack. When buying bar soap, try to prioritize choose brands that use plastic-free packaging and source sustainable, natural and ethically sourced ingredients.

4 - Which contains less chemicals, bar soap or liquid soap?
Bar soaps generally contain less ingredients and chemicals than liquid soap, particularly if you opt for a color-free and fragrance-free formula. Fragrance-free liquid soaps can be difficult to find, whereas there are a lot of fragrance-free bar soaps available, as well as bar soaps made with completely natural ingredients and with very gentle fragrances. In general, if you have sensitive skin or allergies, natural bar soaps are a safer bet, as fewer chemicals mean fewer irritants.

Hand Holding Bar Soappui_bunny via Shutterstock

5 - Which creates more carbon emissions, bar soap or liquid soap?
According to a study conducted at the Institute of Environmental Engineering, liquid soaps have a 25 per cent larger carbon footprint than bar soaps. Due to the chemical formula of soap and its ingredients, it takes more raw materials and processing to manufacture liquid soap – up to seven times more when compared with the humble bar soap. The main ingredient for liquid soap is water, meaning it’s also heavier to transport, therefore creating more carbon emissions.

6 - Can I replace all liquid soaps with bar soaps?
Yes! There are now bar soap alternatives for a huge range of household and personal care products including soap bars for washing your hands and body and shampoo and conditioner soap bars. You can even swap dishwashing liquid for bar soap, as well as bar soaps for washing your pets.