The Facts About Bar Soap

What You Need to Know

With the world looking for ways to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, Bradford is getting many questions about whether soap is as effective as hand sanitizer; what bar soap people should use; and whether the bar soap needs to be rinsed prior to use. Since we have been making soap for over 140 years, we thought it would be prudent to clear up the facts.

Soap and water is the most effective way to clean your hands.

Hand sanitizer is great in areas where water is not available, but nothing beats bar soap for eliminating germ, bacteria, and viruses. Why? Because when you wash your hands with soap, it surrounds the microorganisms on your skin and effectively breaks them down, killing the bacteria and disabling the virus. Soap also creates a shield that prevents bacteria and viruses from sticking to the skin. When you rinse with water after washing, you are sending the damaged virus and dead bacteria down the sink. While hand sanitizer with 60%-80% alcohol can kill bacteria and disable viruses, it is not rinsed off so it remains on the skin. Some microbes are not affected by alcohol-based solutions like hand sanitizer.

All bar soap is naturally anti-bacterial. 

Bacteria cannot survive on the surface of soap, so you do not need to rinse a bar before use. You also do not need to look for soap that specifically states “anti-bacterial” on the package. While anti-bacterial soaps contain additional anti-bacterial ingredients, all soap works to kill bacteria and germs and to disable viruses. This was proven when the FDA banned the use of the antibacterial ingredient Triclosan in 2017 because they could establish no significant difference between the effectiveness of soap that contained the ingredient vs. soap that did not.


To wash your hands properly follow these steps.

  • Wet your hands with water and apply soap

  • Rub your hands together vigorously for a minimum of 20 seconds to create lather

  • Remember to clean both the tops and bottoms of your hands, between the fingers and under your nails

  • Rinse well with water

  • Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them

Right now, preventing further transmission of COVID-19 is the best action we can take to protect ourselves and our families. Remember – Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands!