Is my bar soap effective against Coronavirus?

We are all about #BetterBathing at Bubbles & Balms. Better Bathing is reaching for personal care products that are toxin-free and plastic-free for people and planet. This is an easy mantra to get behind when all is well, but what about during the age of coronavirus?? Will your natural bar soap be effective in stopping the spread??

It turns out, the answer is a resounding yes.

We consider ourselves resident experts on soap formulation and function, but when it came to coronavirus, we wanted to do a little extra digging to be sure our BnB community had the best information available because we are NOT virus experts. So here is what we know, and what we found out.

Let's start with some basic soap function. Soap is a surfactant (surface active agent) that, at the molecular level, has an oil or fat loving end and a water loving end. This is important for bathing because our skin is coated with a layer of sebum; a mixture of liquid fats that act as humectant (moisture retention barrier) for our skin. So the oil/fat loving end of soap attaches to our sebum, and the water loving end to the water, effectively mixing oil and water so it can all be washed away.

Why does this matter when it comes to the coronavirus? Two reasons. The first is that viruses have a fatty lipid bilayer (outer layer) that dissolves when it comes in contact with a surfactant (soap). The soap literally breaks down the coating and the virus falls apart! The second reason is that the fatty bilayer embeds itself in our own sebum, which we already know rinses away when washing with soap. It's a one-two punch for all viruses.

Now we know how soap works, and why it is such an important tool in fighting the spread of coronavirus, but what about bar versus liquid? We found a number of sources, and really enjoyed this breakdown from the Office for Science and Society from McGill University. In summary, there is NO difference in effectiveness between a bar and a liquid soap. With no difference in effectiveness, and we may be biased, but we think bar soaps are the hands down favourite because;

  • bar soaps are actively used while cleaning, rinsing away impurities and leaving the bar and skin nice and clean;
  • liquid soaps are most often detergents, not surfactants, that strip your hands of moisture and result in the dry and chapped hands so many are suffering with right now.

On top of the reasons above, our bar soaps are toxin-free, leave your hands with more moisture (reducing chapping), have a lower carbon footprint, are not reliant on the petro-chemical industry for packaging, are as much as 8x more efficient in their use of raw materials, and are handcrafted with essential oils and simple ingredients found in nature. For us, the decision is always an easy one!

We hope you feel more informed about your bar soaps and coronavirus and encourage you to share this information with others. No matter what you choose for your hand washing, just be sure to wash frequently, for 20 seconds or more, with soap, and continue doing your part to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Be clean. Be well!