Body & Mind

Post-Pandemic-Hygiene: Here are our 5 Favourite Eco-Friendly Hand Soaps for Everyday Use

Since the pandemic, our idea of hygiene has changed considerably. Be it through various hygiene measures from the official sides or our own desire to disinfect – we all wash, scrub, clean and sterilise for all we’re worth. After the first hit of the global pandemic, handwashing suddenly found itself in an unusual spotlight, but even today our urge for hygiene is still going strong. In fact, people are washing their hands now more than ever before! According to a Canadian survey, most people went from 3 – 4 times a day (before the pandemic) to 11 – 14 times a day (now) [1]. The survey also found that people generally take more time to wash their hands: 90 percent are hitting the recommended 20 seconds. With this in mind, it seems to be an ideal time to take a closer look at the type of soap you have next to the sink.

What to look for when choosing your soap

The Romans already knew how to make use of the cleansing effects of soap. Nowadays, the question you often ask yourself in front of the soap shelf in the drugstore is: which one? Solid or liquid? Which soap is more hygienic, more ecological and doesn’t dry out the hands? Well, we have gathered a few facts for you.  

Liquid soap, with a pH value of about 5 (similar to the skin), is usually gentler than a soap bar (pH value of 9 to 10), as it will not imbalance the skin’s natural acid mantle. However, solid soap is definitely more ecological, as it requires hardly any packaging and is thus much more sustainable. Contrary to the general belief that liquid soap is more hygienic, researchers already found out in 1988 [2] that even bars of soap deliberately contaminated with bacteria do not leave germs on your hands. Any visual blemishes can be avoided by correct handling: clean your soap dish regularly by removing soap residue and excess water. By the way, bacteria can just as well accumulate on the pump dispenser of liquid soap! However, if you still prefer the great lather of your liquid soap, you should absolutely get a reusable soap dispenser. With the refill option, you avoid a lot of plastic waste caused by the much smaller (and often more expensive) individual-sized packaging. 

The next question is that of the ingredients – chemical or natural? Conventional soaps often contain chemical additives such as dyes, fragrances, preservatives and fillers. These might smell pleasant or feel smooth, but they are not necessarily good for the environment or, in fact, good for people. With natural soaps, the focus is, as the name suggests, on natural ingredients, meaning that only plant extracts, vegetable fats and essential oils are used in the production process. Those who care about the rainforest should also pay attention to palm oil, the cheapest vegetable oil. Nowadays, it is hard to imagine our everyday products without palm oil, but, unfortunately, acres of rainforest are still being destroyed for it. If you prefer to use soap without palm oil, make sure to check the ingredients list carefully!

We present: our 5 favourite eco-friendly hand soaps

Here are our top 5 hand soaps for everyday use that will leave your hands moisturised and nourished even after the 14th wash. We have taken the above criteria into account in our selection and present our favourites to you. * We do not receive any compensation for naming the following products – they are simply our personal favourites!

#1 STOP THE WATER WHILE USING ME!

The mission of the Hamburg-based company is to protect, save and donate water. STOP THE WATER WHILE USING ME achieves this, for example, through ingredients, refill systems and water initiatives. [only available via 3rd parties in the UK]

#2 LUSH

Lush soaps don’t just look pretty. They are handmade on a palm oil-free soap base, contain essential oils, are animal-testing-free, vegetarian and come “naked” (= without packaging).

#3 Dr Bronner’s

Dr Bronner’s is the ultimate all-star soap with its 18-IN-1 philosophy – and saves a lot of packaging waste! Dr Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap is available in different fragrances and is vegan, NaTrue, BDIH certified and made with organic and certified fair trade ingredients.

#4 ECOVER

Ecover’s liquid hand soaps are organic, vegan, not tested on animals, and made from plant-based ingredients and 100% recyclable packaging. Also practical: the refills also come in 5-litre sizes!

#5 LUCY BEE

Lucy Bee’s Natural Palm Oil Free Soap Bars are made from 100% organic coconut oil and are free from artificial fragrances and artificial preservatives. Also, they were voted # 1 Ethical Best Buy by the UK Ethical Consumer Magazine! That’s as good as it gets…

Hygiene and VAHA

Presumably, we will all continue to maintain our pandemic-initiated hygienic urges in the future. How this will affect our daily lives and interactions in the long run, will become clear when restaurants, cultural institutions and gyms can resume regular operations. The perk of working out with VAHA is that, at least here, you don’t have to follow any hygiene rules because you’re exercising from the comfort of your own home. Nevertheless, show your VAHA a little love now and then and clean it with the cleaning solution provided – it will reward you with sparkling cleanliness. If your spray is already empty, try a mixture of 50% isopropanol and 50% water. 

Sources:

[1] https://www.cosmeticsdesign.com/Article/2020/07/29/Demand-for-hand-soap-is-high-data-from-Henkel-North-America

[2] Heinze JE, Yackovich F.: Washing with contaminated bar soap is unlikely to transfer bacteria. Epidemiol Infect. 1988. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3402545/

 

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