Is Bar Soap Sanitary or Just Crawling With Germs?

Tatyana Pethukova, M.D.

Logically, it makes sense that you want to clean your body with something, well, clean. That raises some interesting questions about bar soap. Unlike liquid soap that you dispense from a container, bar soap sits out in the open, seemingly vulnerable to all the germs in your shower. Then you rub that same bar all over your body, washcloth, or loofah again and again until it whittles down to that weird little sliver.

Does this mean that if you use bar soap, you’re essentially rubbing a ton of germs all over yourself? Well, yeah, because germs cover pretty much everything! But coming into contact with them won’t automatically make you sick, otherwise we’d all be sick all the time.

Here, experts explain what’s really going on when you use a bar of soap to get clean. (Don’t worry, you can keep on using it if it makes you happy!)

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Weill Cornell Medicine
Israel Englander Department of Dermatology
1305 York Ave., Ninth Floor New York, NY 10021 Phone: (646) 962-3376