One day when my children were little, I took a look at the ingredients in the baby wash I had always used to bathe them. I was horrified. This company has since reformulated, but I don't think the ingredients have gotten any better. Here is a list of what is in this popular, well-known baby wash today...
Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Glycerin, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, PPG-2 Hydroxyethyl Cocamide, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Sodium Benzoate, Glycol Distearate, Decyl Glucoside, Laureth-4, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Ethylhexylglycerin
I'm still blown away every time I look at that list.
Unbelievable. I would never wash my own skin in that junk let alone my newborn baby's skin!
The moment I read the ingredient list, I threw the bottle away and learned how to make my own soap.
And although we make liquid goat milk soap now, I only made bar soap for years. Because while I definitely believe that if you're going to use liquid soap, our liquid soap is a wonderful choice - I still believe bar soap is a better alternative.
Let's talk about the benefits of using a well made natural bar of soap...
Benefit #1. Bar Soaps Require Less Packaging
Bar soaps are much more environmentally friendly that liquid soaps. The main reason is because they do not require any plastic containers.
I've been searching for a year for non-plastic liquid soap containers. Other than glass (which would be a shipping nightmare), I can't find anything that would work. There are companies in China that make non plastic containers. Even if I was willing to buy them from China (which I'm not), they require us to purchase entire shipping containers. We simply don't need that quantity.
Bar soaps require very minimal packaging - if any. We offer our soaps in cotton bags or completely naked if you don't need any packaging. For those consumers who are trying to move closer to zero-waste, bar soaps are definitely the best option.
"I've only used the Castile Olive Oil Goat Milk Soap a couple times but I love it! It is unbelievably creamy! I can't believe out of all the vendors that sell goat milk soap (and there are a lot) I happened to pick one that is outstanding! I have sensitive skin but it does not irritate my skin. Also, I like the way the soap is packaged in labeled cloth bags. Thank you so much for the quick delivery and your great soap!" - Barbara W.
Benefit #2. Bar Soaps Require Less Water
There are large areas in this world that are suffering from drought. And in America, there are signs that much of our country is running out of water.
Liquid soaps are primarily water. Bar soaps on the other hand require only a small amount of water - or goat milk in our case - to be created.
"So far of the soaps I've ordered, we have only used the Purity one. I initially got it for hubby's skin issues. So far so good. But I started using it and BOY! I really like it for the skin softening effects. As I get older, my skin is so much drier and this soap helps tremendously. Am looking forward to using other scents but just haven't done it yet. Will not go back to commercial body washes. Guess they will be donated. Thanks for a great product!" - Angela M.
In a world where water is a precious resource for many, there is no need to waste it in liquid soap.
Benefit #3. Bar Soaps are More Efficient to Ship
Shipping costs have been steadily rising for years. There are a lot of causes for this, but it's not likely to change anytime soon. Right now, with inflation causing gas and diesel to rise, the impacts on shipping costs are even more dramatic.
The truth is that when you are purchasing liquid soaps, you are mostly paying to ship water. Bar soaps are much more efficient to ship. This efficiency is not only good for the environment, but it's economically prudent.
At Goat Milk Stuff, we once tried shipping our liquid soap paste. The thought was that we could save people a lot of money by them not having to pay us for the water we added to dilute the liquid soap paste into the finished liquid soap.
But it simply did not sell well. Most people use liquid soap for the convenience factor. Having to add water and stir to dilute, made it no longer a convenient product. But liquid soap will never ship as efficiently as bar soap does.
Benefit #4. Bar Soaps Last Longer
A properly cured bar of soap that is made with a formula that is designed to last a long time will always last longer than liquid soap. Especially if you use a good soap dish and allow your soap to thoroughly dry out between uses.
"I love these soap rests! They allow soap to dry nicely without getting gunky. And they clean easily too." - Melissa G.
There are steps you can take to make your bar soap last longer. But the same is not true for liquid soap. The truth is that most people use more liquid soap than they need. So other than using less, it's difficult to lengthen the life of your liquid soap. In contrast, bar soaps will last for a very long time.
Benefit #5. Bar Soaps Travel Better
If you've ever had your liquid soap or body wash confiscated at the airport - or if you've ever had it leak all over your luggage - you know how difficult it can be traveling with liquid soap.
Bar soap is a much friendlier TSA option. Plus you don't have to worry about spilling it and running out of soap. If you drop your bar soap, the worst that happens is you may dent it a little bit!
"I love the Tea Tree soap!! It has the perfect amount of fragrance and I love that tea tree is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungus. And it’s so convenient that you make a travel size bar since I was able to take it along on a recent trip. I didn’t use it all so the little plastic bag that it came in was perfect to store it in and bring it back home." - Anastacia F.
Benefit #6. Bar Soaps Can Naturally Scent Your Bathroom
If you only use unscented soap, this one won't benefit you much. But many people enjoy the scents that a beautiful handmade bar of soap can bring. Because they are exposed to the air, bar soap will help scent your bathroom. Liquid soap sealed in a plastic bottle isn't capable of that.
"This is THE BEST SMELLING SOAP EVER!!! I love it! I bought an extra bar just to sit in my bathroom so the whole room smells wonderful! I ❤️ that the Evergreen smell is subtle and mixed with a sweet smell. It’s just a heavenly fragrance!!" - Linda L.
Benefit #7. The Goodness of Bar Soap Ingredients are Not Diluted
To make liquid soap, you first make a soap paste. You add all the healthy ingredients and then cook it slowly over low heat. All of the goodness from the chosen ingredients are concentrated in this paste.
And then you dilute all that goodness with water.
In contrast, the goodness of the ingredients used to make bar soap are not diluted. You will get more benefit from the healthy ingredients used in bar soap than in liquid soap.
Benefit #8. Bar Soaps Can Contain Botanicals
Speaking of good ingredients - it's very easy to add botanicals such as flowers, herbs, or even chopped oats to bar soap. If you add botanicals to liquid soap, it just settles to the bottom of the container and doesn't provide as much (if any) benefit to your skin.
"Just love, love, love your Lavender Peppermint soap! It's my favorite!" - Cheri K.
Some commercial liquid soaps and body washes have micro beads added to them. These micro beads are most likely dangerous for the environment and for your health.
Benefit #9. Bar Soaps Can Naturally Exfoliate
Goat milk naturally contains lactic acid which can be a great and gentle exfoliator. You can further increase the exfoliating properties of bar soap by adding different ingredients such as coffee grounds.
"I have very sensitive skin, my face has mild rosacea so exfoliating my face can be a real problem. I saw the Anise Orange and bought the travel size to try it out. I was quite surprised on the very first try, it did not leave my skin dry or red, my face felt soft and calm not burning like usual! I really like it and the scent is wonderful!! Would definitely recommend it to anyone!!! I will be getting more very soon, Thank you for such great products!!!" - Susan C.
Benefit #10. Bar Soap is Prettier and Makes a Better Gift
A natural bar of handmade goat milk soap makes a wonderful gift. Few people receive it and wonder if you're trying to tell them that they stink! They appreciate the effort and care that goes into natural soap. Gifting somebody a plastic bottle of liquid soap or body wash isn't quite the same thing.
"I bought this as a gift for my Mom who loves the fragrance of lilacs from her childhood. Her skin is sensitive due to allergies and this soap is great for her. She says the fragrance takes her back to "better days" and makes her skin feel "wonderful" with no allergic reactions." - Valorie F.
Benefit #11. Bar Soaps Take up Less Space in Small Bathrooms
The tiniest bathroom I've ever experienced was in my college apartment. The shower was set into a sloping ceiling. Anybody over five and a half feet had to take a shower bent over. (Fortunately for me I'm only 5 feet tall so it wasn't an issue!)
Bar soap is more convenient because most bathrooms (even small ones) have a slot to put your bar of soap. Not all bathrooms come with places to put bottles of liquid soap or body wash.
Benefit #12. Bar Soaps are a Better Value
Bar soaps are more efficient to make. They're more efficient to package. They're more efficient to store. And bar soaps are more efficient to ship. Plus they last longer.
All of these benefits combine to make bar soaps a better value on an economical scale.
Those are 12 benefits to using bar soaps over liquid soap or body wash. But none of that matters if bar soap doesn't work or isn't safe. So let's talk about these two issues...
Does Bar Soap Kill Germs?
According to our article Does Goat Milk Soap Kill Germs?...
Soap in and of itself does not actually kill germs. Instead, the act of washing your hands with goat milk soap and water washes away the germs. Properly washing your hands can be as effective at ridding your hands of germs as antibacterial soap or alcohol. Our hands aren’t meant to be sterile objects, but regular hand washing reduces the chance of getting dangerous germs into our body and making us sick.
Bar soap absolutely protects us from germs just as well as liquid soaps do. And one could argue it offers better protection than beauty bars.
So rest assured that bar soaps will effectively provide you with clean hands to help you stay healthy.
"I love the Oatmeal Milk & Honey soap! My skin is very dry & I decided to see if the goat milk soap would help. It has helped tremendously! The skin on my fingertips were cracked & sore. Since washing my hands with the Oatmeal Milk & Honey soap, it has all cleared up! I’ve been showering with it & my skin feels soft with no dryness at all! I’ll definitely be getting more & trying some of your other products! Thank you so much for a wonderful product!" - Linda C.
There is one final argument that proponents (or marketers) of liquid soap keep bringing up. And that is the question of whether there are health risks from sharing a bar of soap with someone who is sick.
Let's try and settle this issue once and for all...
Does Bar Soap Transfer Bacteria?
As I was studying this issue and trying to find proof of the safety of bar soap, I came across this published study from 1965.
I read through it and was getting ready to summarize it when I came across an in depth answer from the New York Times that references the study. To be honest, the NYT author said it better than I could, so I am quoting a large section.
This is the response to the question, "Are there any health risks to using a communal bar of soap in, say, a health club?"
No. Bar soap does not appear to transmit disease.
The most rigorous study of this question was published in 1965. Scientists conducted a series of experiments in which they intentionally contaminated their hands with about five billion bacteria. The bacteria were disease-causing strains, such as Staph and E. coli.
The scientists then washed their hands with a bar of soap and had a second person wash with the same bar of soap. They found that bacteria were not transferred to the second user and concluded: “The level of bacteria that may occur on bar soap, even under extreme usage conditions (heavy usage, poorly designed non-drainable soap dishes, etc.) does not constitute a health hazard.”
In 1988, scientists employed by a soap manufacturer confirmed these findings. They inoculated bars of soap with pathogenic bacteria, in this case E. coli and Pseudomonas, and had 16 subjects wash their hands with the inoculated bars. After washing, none of the subjects had detectable levels of bacteria on their hands. They concluded that “little hazard exists in routine hand washing with previously used soap bars.”
Occasional studies since then have documented the presence of environmental bacteria on bar soap, but none have shown bar soap to be a source of infection. On the contrary, recent studies continue to demonstrate the ability of simple bar soap to combat infection, even during outbreaks of serious infections like Ebola virus.
But would a jar of liquid soap be a better bet than bar soap? Scientists with conflicting proprietary interests jousted about the putative benefits of bar soap versus liquid soap beginning in the 1980s. Much of the contention revolved around the numbers of bacteria found on the surfaces of the bar or bottle of soap. But the key question remains not whether environmental bacteria are present but whether they pose a risk of infection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hand washing as the primary defense against infection and gives the same endorsement to bar soap as it does to liquid soap. Therefore, the only mistake one could make would be to fail to wash one’s hands because of an unfounded fear of contamination.
Well said. Kudos to the New York Times for such a definitive piece of journalism.
"I wasn't sure what to expect with Activated Bamboo Charcoal soap, but I love it. My skin feels soft and moisturized!" - Krista S.
At Goat Milk Stuff, our purpose is to bring you joy through the goodness of goat milk. We know that healthy skin is happy skin and we want to enable you to find the joy that healthy skin can bring. Our goat milk soap bars are safe, economical, and will nourish your skin.
I hope I've convinced you of the many benefits of using bar soap!
PJ & Crew