The Bar Soap VS Liquid Soap Smack down

When come to bar soap vs. liquid soap, first let me get this off my chest – I absolutely despise liquid soap. I dislike making it, or using it. Basically, I’ve had so much many fails with that it - I find it slimy and I just don’t like it. 

However, it is completely your choice which you want to use, so today I’m going to present you with pros and cons – for both the usage and the making of both bar soap and liquid soap.

battle between soaps

But do remember, this is completely my experience, it varies from person to person; some people may despise bar soap as much as I do liquid soap.

Now, come into my kitchen, let me pour you a big glass of red wine, and let’s talk.

Pros and Cons of Bar Soaps   

I love bar soap. But you already know that. But don’t get me wrong – I don’t like store-bought bar soap, because it dries out my skin. 

You know that feeling when you rub a store-bought soap on your hands, and the minute you wash it off your hands feel dry and cracked like a saltine? 

Yeah, that’s because our store-bought soaps use too many chemicals – since they need these soaps to last longer - but at what expense? The expense of our skin.

A lot of people will tell you that bars have a higher level of pH than liquid soap – which is true – if you don’t make your own soap!

So, I make my own bars. I love it because I choose everything and anything that goes into the soap. And my handmade soaps don’t dry out the skin. Even if you have oily skin, you can customize your homemade bar soaps to your benefit. 

make your own bar

Pros-

  • It lasts longer compared to liquid soap, plus it contains glycerin – which is great for skin with eczema, and people with dry skin.  
  • Also, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but liquid soaps are not as gentle to the skin as homemade bars.
  • For example, my aunt can’t stand certain ingredients in liquid soap, and she gets rashes all over her body if it is remotely scented – what she loves is getting soap bars from me, because I don’t put any fragrances in them. 
  • While it’s easy to have a pleasant smelling bar, with liquid soap this is a bit harder. Liquid soap must almost always have a fragrance, otherwise, at least to me – it smells horrible. 

Cons-

  • Some say the biggest con of soap bars is the bacteria transfer. I know that’s scary – especially if the whole family is using the same bar, but let me calm your nerves. 
  • Yes, there is some transfer of bacteria, but it is so minimal, it almost doesn’t matter. Scientific studies have shown that the bacteria transfer is so minimal on our skin, that there have actually been no detectable levels of bacteria left on skin after you rinse with water. 
  • “And, I think it’s kind of a plus – you know how people say we’re actually strengthening our immune system while kissing – because we get a very small amount of other person’s bacteria, and our immune system becomes stronger against those bacteria later in life? Well, it’s the same with bars of soap!“

The level of bacteria is actually so small, it may actually strengthen our immune system! However, if you’re a bit of a germaphobe, I suggest each person in your family uses their own bar of soap, simple as that.

Making Handmade Bar Soap vs Liquid Soap 

When it comes to making, which is better, which is easier, and safer?  I can honestly say, bar of soap. Why you ask?

Let me pour you another glass of wine and explain.

Simply – when making bar soap you needn’t use the lye + water solution, you can use melt-and-pour base. 

This is way safer, especially for beginners, since you don’t have to watch for dangerous fog running away from the lye and water mixture, you don’t have to worry that everything will explode, or eat through your hand. 

You just simply melt the base, and then add the rest of the ingredients. However, this is something you can’t do with liquid soap.

My Experience Making Liquid Soap

Making Liquid Soap

Okay, let me tell you a story of my epic fail with liquid soap. Sit down, please. Cradle that glass of wine, you’ll need it.

So, there I was, all happy and giddy while making my first liquid soap. Oh, if only I knew the series of unfortunate events that would follow.

Basically, I thought I could do this one the safe way, too. When you’re making a hard bar you can easily substitute the lye and water solution with melt-and-pour base, and I thought I’d do the same thing with my liquid soap recipe – people usually use the pre-made paste for making liquid soap instead of KOH and water mixture, but this paste seemed just too fickle for me.

I didn’t want to use the pre-made paste 

I didn’t want to use the pre-made paste for a couple of reasons-

  • first, it's more difficult to know if there’s too much of KOH in your paste, and second, it has to cook for at least three hours – too long if you ask me. 
  • If people want to know if there’s too much KOH in their paste + water mixture, some do the ‘zap test’ – basically they place a bit of paste on their tongue so they can see if it zaps them like a 9V battery – too dangerous and kind of stupid if you ask me. 
  • Other people use the technique with Phenolphthalein Drops – which not many of us just have laying around – they know the paste is done after they put a drop in and it turns either very pale or pink.
  • But even then, they can’t be sure about the pH of the soap, so you need a special pH meter for that too. Basically, it takes too much time to be an easy and quick recipe.

So what did I do?

I took a block of all-natural olive oil soap base, and dropped it into water, waiting for it to dissolve. What happened? Oh, it dissolved all right, but it hardened. And now I had this huge bowl of hardened soap.

I tried melting it again, but it just hardened again.

So, this technique – no worky. Don’t do it.

For making liquid soap you either need to have the pre-made paste, or some KOH and water mixture – which is tiresome, dangerous work, and most of all – not easy. 

But, if you are a daredevil, and insist on making homemade liquid soap – I must warn you – sodium hydroxide is used to make hard bar soap, while potassium hydroxide is used to make liquid soap. 

Potassium hydroxide is not only harder to find, but it also comes in flakes – which are easier to work with, bit are still very dangerous and caustic, so you need to use all of your protective gear.

Also, if you succeed in making your own liquid soap – sometimes it goes bad pretty fast, or it becomes ‘milky’ – this is a common concern with dishwashing homemade liquid soap.

But, liquid soap is not all bad

  • Let’s face it –Nobody is going to use a hard bar of soap to wash their hands in a public bathroom. Even I don’t trust the germs on that. So, this may be the occasion when liquid soap comes in handy. 
  • Literally – you squeeze, or maybe you find one of those fancy soap dispensers which have sensors and they give you soap without you touching the machine at all.
  • Also, one of the pros of liquid soaps is that they don’t slip out of your hand to the bottom of your shower. I’m sure convicts would be much happier with them than hard bar.
  • And, I know that liquid soap mostly provides better lather (more foam), but hard bars clean your skin better. If you think about it – you rub liquid soap on yourself with your hands, while you can rub soap bars – just using them, not using your hands. 

And, oh god, I love those soap bars with oatmeal or ground coffee – they scrub your skin the way that they help you remove your dead skin cells, and this is especially good for people with oily skin, and those with acne!

Here, let me pour you another glass of wine. What I’m trying to say is – mostly in usage there’s almost no difference while using hard or liquid soap. They both have cons and pros – hard soap may have some left over bacteria each time you wash.

But if you make it at home and not buy at a store – it is healthier for your skin; while liquid soap may be handier because you just squeeze it out, but that’s how you use an excess of it most of the time, plus liquid soap (store-bought) is more harmful to your skin than homemade bar.

Now, the recipes – making hard bars of soap is definitely easier, simpler, and safer, while making liquid soap is a bit more complicated, some crucial ingredients are harder to find.

It is a longer process that may go wrong more often than with hard soap, plus in my experience it goes bad faster than hard bars of soap.

As you can see, for the question of handmade bar soap vs. liquid soap, in my opinion bar soap wins hands down, and these are the easy recipes you will find on this site. 


Happy Soapy to You....



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