We're big believers in using soap to wash your hands - and not just because we make goat milk soap! With a farm family of ten, there are lots of opportunities to pass germs back and forth. Regularly washing hands with soap is the easiest way to keep us all healthy and prevent the passing of germs. And with our busy schedule, we don't have time to get sick!
Why is Washing Your Hands So Important?
Not only are germs everywhere, but there are many ways that we can pass germs around if we're not regularly washing our hands. Germs get passed around through blood, sweat, saliva, oils on your hands, dirt, and the air. They then end up on the items we touch and you will find them on the shopping cart at the store, your phone, handrails in stairways at work, or a counter at a restaurant.
"I am really enjoying the Calendula olive oil soap! My hands feel so soft and moisturized after washing with this soap!" - Nancy S.
And as much as we hate to think about it, there’s no getting around the fact human and animal feces (poop) is a common contributor to the spreading of unwanted germs. Viruses, bacteria, and parasites found in human and animal stool can cause an array of health issues for adults and children.
Some germs can cause mild sickness, while other germs like Salmonella and E. coli., and parasites can cause serious health issues. Harmful germs like these find their way onto people’s hands from regular daily activities like restroom visits, changing diapers, and cleaning up after animals. But germs from stool aren't the only dirty germs that set up breeding grounds on your hands.
Foodborne pathogens can find their way onto hands after handling raw meats and poultry - a practice that always increases around the holiday season.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), five common ways that germs are passed are:
- hands to food
- infected infant to hands to other children
- food to hands to food
- nose, mouth or eyes to hands to others
- food to hands to infants
Do you notice that they all involve your hands? Washing your hands with soap is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of germs and stay healthy. Even the CDC states, "Keeping hands clean is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection and illness." The CDC has a nice handy list of when people should wash their hands:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste (including goats, dogs, rabbits, and chickens)
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
That can seem like quite a lot of handwashing and so it's important that you're using a quality soap. Not only do you want a soap that will rid you of germs, but you want one that won't dry your skin out. There are many benefits to goat milk soap and most people find that even with multiple handwashings a day, their skin is left in great condition.
"Stuff smells amazing and after using a piney/cedar scented bar (Evergreen) to wash my hands, my skin felt so soft and moisturized (a rare thing post menopause.)" - Kerri P.
How to Effectively Wash Your Hands
The actual act of washing your hands is not complicated.
To wash your hands properly, follow these steps:
- Use clean water to wet your hands
- Use good soap
- Lather for 20-30 seconds
- Rinse well with clean, running water
- Dry hands with a clean paper towel.
If you think that these instructions are too basic, consider that recent studies show the average hand-washing time is only about six seconds. Six seconds is not long enough to attach all the dirt and oil and germs and wash them down the drain.
So make sure you are washing your hands for a long enough time period - especially during cold and flu season. Time yourself if needed. These tips are useful for anyone but are especially helpful when teaching children to use proper hygiene practices.
"My family loves the Ocean Goat Milk Soap. The scent is refreshing and it leaves our skin feeling healthy. My husband and son have trouble with their hands being dry and cracking but since using Goat Milk Stuff soaps and lotions, their hands have been so much better." - Cathy H.
Teach your children to regularly wash their hands.
Children (as you probably already know) spread germs often and freely and so it is vital to assist them with handwashing at a young age.
But it is important that you teach them to make regular handwashing a habit. One of the best ways to do this is to lead by example with your own frequent handwashing. Start when your children are quite young (when they'll often find handwashing a fun game).
"I love this Purity Oats soap! Wanted to start using more natural soap with no chemicals and this is it! Smells so good & leaves my skin feeling so soft. I’ve noticed my hands haven’t been as cracking dry from washing/winter air since using this soap as well. I use this for my 9 month old & 4 year old as well!" - Michaelina S.
The important things to remember and to teach your children are to:
- Scrub for a sufficient amount of time. The general recommendation is to sing the "ABC" song.
- Rinse under clean, running water. Insufficient rinsing, or rinsing in standing (likely contaminated) water is a great way to keep the germs on your hands.
- Dry with a clean towel, paper towel, or air dry.
It's often helpful to use lukewarm or water at a comfortable temperature which will encourage your kids to wash for a sufficient amount of time. Some people worry that they need to use hot water when washing their hands, but you aren’t likely to get water hot enough to kill germs in your sink. And you want children to spend time really washing their hands so make the ‘chore’ as comfortable as possible.
A proper amount of time for handwashing is around 20 seconds. That really isn’t very long and is about as much time as it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" chorus. In fact, having your children sing is a great way to make handwashing fun and to keep them at the sink for a sufficient length of time.
Make sure your kids rinse their hands thoroughly after each washing. Insufficient rinsing can not only cause irritation but can encourage germs to stick to wet surfaces which they prefer. You don't want your children to have hands with sticky soap left on them.
Most people also do not wash their hands frequently enough. You should wash your hands whenever you've come into contact with any person or surface that might be infected and especially when handling food or caring for a sick person.
"Love this Black Raspberry soap! With being a high risk family and washing hands so often with Covid, this soap has really helped my dry, cracking and itchy hands." - Jennifer C.
Use free-flowing water for rinsing and washing hands. Soap will help the water wash away germs, but germs can remain in standing water.
Don't forget to dry your hands.
Another important aspect of handwashing is drying. Make sure you dry your hands every time they are washed because wet hands attract more germs. It is preferable to use a clean towel or paper towels.
Dirty hand towels that remain damp can harbor germs and reinfect your clean hands. So if you're using hand towels in your bathrooms, make sure they are hung up so they can dry and switch them out regularly and frequently, especially during flu season.
Is Soap Effective By Itself?
Adults and children both can follow these 5 steps to knock out common viruses and even COVID-19. But what about using hand soap vs. hand sanitizer? A lot of people will claim hand sanitizer is more powerful than using a good bar soap. But there’s proof that theory couldn’t be further from the truth.
Washing your hands the “right way” with soap dissolves the lipid bi-layer found in viruses. When the “fatty” bi-layers are broken down, the virus crumbles like a stack of Jenga blocks - completely deactivating the virus.
"Love your soaps! I bought your soap mat and placed a Lilac naked soap on it in our bathroom, on a shelf. It's not overpowering but creates a soft pleasant floral scent when you enter the room. Why use artificial chemicals when you can use your soap." - Shirl C.
A lot of people believe that antibacterial products will “kill” dirty germs. This theory is partly true and antibacterial items can work. But you don’t need to use harsh antibacterial chemicals to keep your hands clean. You can actually get the job done more effectively with less cleaning product by using soap and water.
Soap molecules are hydrophilic (water-loving) at one end and hydrophobic (dirt/oil-loving) at the other end. When you wash your hands with soap, the dirt and oil stick to the hydrophobic end of the soap molecule. Then when you rinse your hands, the hydrophilic end of the soap sticks to the water and it all gets washed down the drain.
"The Fiji Island Goat Milk Soap is just as awesome as all the products I have tried from Goat Milk Stuff. I use it as hand soap and it leaves my hands soft and smelling wonderful!" - Michelle R.
The process of handwashing removes glue-like layers that allow viruses to attach to surfaces, where gels and liquid sanitizers have to soak on the virus to work. And remember that hand sanitizers just sanitize what they come in contact with; they cannot remove dirt or debris from your hands.
What's Better - Bar Soap or Liquid Soap?
Some people are concerned that using a bar soap is not as sanitary as using liquid soap. Several studies show that this isn't much of an issue. As reported in the New York Times, "A study published in 1988 in the journal Epidemiology and Infection concluded that washing even with contaminated bar soap is unlikely to transfer bacteria."
You are more likely to pick up germs from towels that harbor germs than you are to pick up germs from bar soap. Especially if you rinse under running water because the soap molecules will wash down the drain and take the germs and dirt with them (see How Soap Works for more details).
"And my daughter and I love the Unscented Liquid Goat Milk Soap. With 2 little ones, her hands were cracking with all the washing. Until I gave her a bottle of the foaming goat milk soap. She won’t use anything else now." - Susan S.
People sometimes question if bar soap is as sanitary as liquid soap. According to Elaine L. Larson, Ph.D., Associate Dean for research and professor of epidemiology in nursing at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, “Germs can and most likely do live on all bars of soap, but it's very unlikely they will make you sick or cause a skin infection."
If you wash your hands for at least 20-30 seconds and rinse under running water, they are unlikely to gather germs from the bar of soap. And remember that germs are also likely to live on your liquid soap container.
To keep your soap germ free, make sure it can completely dry out between uses. Don't leave it sitting in a puddle of water and instead use a soap rest or soap saver. Remember, most germs prefer moist conditions.
"Love these little soap rests. I have them in the kitchen and bathrooms. I use one in the shower also, they are attractive and keep soaps dry and not stuck to the shelves." - Alana L.
Hot or Cold Water?
People are often concerned about soap not being effective if you are not using hot water. Hot water won't hurt, but it is not necessary because for the heat itself to kill bacteria, it would have to be hotter than your hands can stand. So use a water temperature that is comfortable to your skin.
But however you do it, just make sure you're doing a good job washing your hands with good soap you can trust!
Even though you can get a cold or the flu any time of the year, November through March (in North America) is considered "flu season". Because we interact on the farm with so many customers, we can be susceptible to lots of germs that our immune system has yet to encounter.
Besides taking elderberry juice, the number one prevention that we take to avoid getting sick is to regularly and thoroughly wash our hands (with awesome goat milk soap, of course)!
"Gardenia soap smells pretty, the smell fills the shower. I feel clean and soft as always with your soap." - Penny S.
Natural Goat Milk Soap Is Amazing For Washing Away Germs
If you know your handwashing is going to increase, and you’d like to keep your skin soft and healthy, Goat Milk Stuff Goat Milk Soap can help you get the job done.
One question you might have is… “is soap made with raw goat’s milk as effective as regular soap?" The answer: YES.
Aside from having the cleaning power to wash away bacteria and viruses, a natural goat milk soap can keep germs away. When people use harsh hand-sanitizers, chemical body washes, detergents, and water-based soaps, they can experience extreme dryness and flaking. Germs love to nestle into the cracks in dry skin. This can cause a big problem, even if you wash your hands the right way and at the right times. You see, the germs and bacteria that can get into cuts and cracks can slide under the skin. This makes it really tough to get a good clean and remove them.
"My daughter had hands that bled because they cracked all the time. She uses Purity soap now and the hands healed to perfection!" - Joyce K.
With a natural bar of high-quality Goat Milk Soap, you don't have to worry about drying out and destroying the skin on your hands. The vitamins and minerals found in raw goat milk provide an extra benefit to a solid deep clean. When you use Goat Milk Stuff’s soap you may start to notice that cracks and cuts on your hands heal and your hands stay soft. Our handmade natural soap excludes the harsh chemicals and alcohols found in a typical soap or hand sanitizer. That means when you use Goat Milk Stuff soap you get two BIG benefits - super clean hands and healthy skin.