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There's no wrong way to use soap.... or is there?

Updated: Jan 24, 2022

You wet it, you scrub it, you set it down. You come back a short while later for a quick hand wash and grab it. A slippery gelatinous bar with a mushy outer casing fumbles through your fingers. Before you know it the bar you once expected to last at least 3 weeks is gone before your next trash pick up day. What a jip right? That soap company had to have been lying. I mean come on, a bar of soap can't last longer than a week or a few washes anyways, can it?

Well actually, it can. While the actual amount of time a bar of soap lasts is relative to key factors such as how many times it's used and how much water exposure it sustains while in use, the average washes a single bar can provide is between 30-60. With proper storage and efficiency practices, the life of a single bar of soap can be extended by days and even weeks.

But what exactly are those good soaping practices? Like many I have never given a second thought to how I use my bar soap beyond setting it in the designer soap dish I bought and go on about my business. It didn't occur to me until, shamefully, well into adulthood that a functional, not stylish, soap dish was necessary, that my soap needed drying time, and that I needed to limit it's exposure to running water while in use.

When it comes to soap dishes one with adequate drainage is of utmost importance. There are dishes with grooves, raised knobs, slits and all sorts of other clever designs. My personal preference and recommendation is one that sports complete holes or slotted openings. This allows for air flow to the top and bottom of the bar for complete drying in between uses.

Speaking of drying, having more than one bar soap to use at a time, while isn't necessary, it is very helpful. Let's say you get up in the morning and take your daily shower using one bar soap. You get dressed and get ready to get a bite to eat and, of course, need to wash your hands. You go to grab your soap which is still wet and a little gummy from the shower you took less than an hour ago. This is where drying time counts. That gummy texture on the soap is from improper storage having been sitting a pool standing water, that water is literally soaking up into the bar loosening layer after layer. Now, when you go to wash your hands with that bar, the loosened soap is sloughed off down the drain as an unused blob of wasted money. I personally employ two bar soaps, one in the shower and one near the sink to allow each adequate drying time between uses and it gives my bar soaps a much longer life.

Another seldom addressed area of good soap practice is being mindful of the bars submerge time. How long the bar stays in or under the water directly affects the size and condition of the bar since, as previously stated, water will soak into the bar loosening and sloughing off layer after layer. Being careful to put the bar on a soaked towel rather than directly in water will ensure minimal water soaks into the bar, lessening the drying time, and ultimately extending the life of the soap.

Now are all of these practices absolutely necessary? Like everything in life you can choose to do what has always been done not putting any of the information into practice but also like much in life anything worth having is worth taking care of. So why invest in great high quality soaps for your skin just to watch most of those superb surfactants be pennies down the drain?

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