4 Myths about Switching to Natural Soap

By Sher Warkentin in Natural Products

There are dozens of tips and tricks to keeping your family healthy and your home scrubbed, but nothing beats soap when it comes to maintaining a squeaky-clean household. Soap comes in a variety of shapes and forms, however, and choosing one can be challenging. There are a lot of myths about natural soap; here's why it's a great option for keeping your family—and the planet—healthy and clean.

Natural soap has many benefits for you and the planet.

1. "Natural Soaps Aren't Effective"

To understand why a natural bar soap is just as effective as a commercial soap, you have to learn a little bit about the science behind how soap works. As Harvard University explains, soap molecules work by loosening bacteria and viruses from your hands so that they can be washed away. Using soap instead of simply rinsing with water encourages you to wash longer in order to get the soap off. These two features combined help soap do its job effectively. In other words, soap doesn't kill the bacteria and viruses, but it helps lift them from your skin to be rinsed away.

Commercial soaps often contain added substances that promise to kill bacteria and viruses, but the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) found that these added ingredients were no more effective in cleaning skin and eliminating germs than regular soap. Those antibacterial ingredients may actually expose people and the environment to harsh substances without any added benefit.

While the FDA did ban some antibacterial ingredients in 2016, many commercial soaps still contain a variety of antibacterial substances. As a parent, you want to keep your family safe and healthy, so why expose your kids to unnecessary ingredients when a natural bar soap does the job equally well?

2. "It's Hard to Find Natural Soap"

You don't have to stir a hot kettle or shop at out-of-the-way niche boutiques to ensure your soap is natural. There are plenty of bar soaps on the market that are just as widely available as any commercial soap. For example, Tom's of Maine Fresh Eucalyptus Natural Beauty Bar contains no artificial colors, fragrances, or preservatives. It's available online and in nationwide retail stores, and it comes in a variety of other scents featuring natural botanicals.

3. "Natural Bar Soap Is Grimy"

One big misconception about bar soaps is that when you scrub a bar between your hands, you are transferring the germs from your fingers to the bar. Just as soap works to lift germs off of your hands, the same science works for the actual bar. If you're worried about germs clinging to your soap, simply rinse the bar off with water the same way you rinse your hands and store it in a clean soap dish between washes.

Washing with natural soap is just as effective as commercial soap.

4. "Natural Soap Isn't Worth It"

Natural bar soap can sometimes carry a slightly higher price than commercial soap, so you need to consider if the extra cost is worth the difference for you. Paying a little more for a natural product can ensure that you don't expose your family to substances that aren't only unnecessary but can also be quite harsh on skin.

The natural ingredients in a bar soap are beneficial to both your family and the planet. According to a study conducted by researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, bar soap requires significantly less chemical raw materials and packaging materials compared with liquid soap. The researchers also found that when washing, people use more liquid soap than bar soap, which means that the supply has to be replenished faster. When you consider that liquid soap is also less efficient to transport and typically comes in a plastic container that might not be completely recyclable, it all adds to a larger carbon footprint than that of natural bar soap.

What to Look for in a Natural Soap

Just because soap comes in a bar form doesn't automatically mean it's natural.As with all household products, it's important to check the ingredients list to make sure that the soap doesn't contain any substances you want to avoid. Look for bar soaps that are free from certain ingredients that can irritate skin, such as artificial fragrances or dyes.

To keep your skin healthy without sacrificing the environment, look for ingredients that are naturally sourced. Moisturizers with naturally derived ingredients, such as Rainforest Alliance Certified Palm Oil, can ensure that your skin stays soft and hydrated using sustainable materials.

Switching to a soap with naturally derived ingredients has many benefits and is easy to do. Any extra cost may be well worth protecting your family's health—as well as the environment.

Image Source: Sher Warkentin | Sher Warkentin | Sher Warkentin

The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Tom's of Maine.

Why It's Good

Natural soap is just as effective as commercial soap, without the need for harsh ingredients. While it might cost slightly more, the long-term benefits for your family and the planet far outweigh the price.