At the moment there is lots of concern around surfaces being contaminated by the virus so it is reasonable to be concerned about whether bar soap could also be a source of potential infection. It is true that bacteria and viruses can transfer onto bar soap during handwashing. Some studies have found that most bars of soap have an average of 2-5 microorganisms on them at any one time. Interestingly when these contaminated bar soaps are used, studies have shown that hands have no traces of these pathogens afterwards and that hands are equally as clean as compared to using a brand new bar soap. Studies like this indicate that there is no infection risk posed by sharing bar soap at this time. The reason for this is likely to be because of the way that soap works at a microscopic level (see: ‘Why does handwashing with soap work so well to prevent COVID-19?’).
Want to know more about COVID-19 and handwashing?
- Why does handwashing with soap work so well to prevent COVID-19?
- Can ash be used for handwashing?
- Are some types of soap more effective than others?
- Should we be promoting handwashing with chlorinated water?
- What can we do where soap is scarce?
- Can soapy water be used?
- Is alcohol-based hand rub better than soap?
- Should we be promoting handwashing at different times during the COVID-19 outbreak?
- What can we do in areas with real water scarcity?
- Is it safe for people to share handwashing water?
- Do public handwashing facilities pose a risk?
- What kinds of handwashing facilities should we construct?
- How should hands be dried?