For the environmentally aware, bar soap is a greener choice than liquid soap. Because bar soap is typically packaged in paper or cardboard, its packaging materials are not only recyclable, but they also break down more easily in landfills than the plastic packaging liquid soaps come in [source: Bartels].
Pros and Cons of Bar Soap
Bar soap has been around longer than liquid, but it often gets the short end of the stick when compared with its supposedly more glamorous cousin.
One claim against bar soaps is the bacteria factor. Because people sometimes share the same bar of soap, fears concerning the transfer of bacteria have emerged. However, studies have shown that although bacteria levels on previously-used bar soaps are slightly higher than on unused soaps, there have been no detectable levels of bacteria left on the skin's surface after using the soap [source: Heinze]. Bar soap users who are still worried about spreading germs can always make sure that each person has his or her own soap.
Another con of bar soaps is the fact that many have a higher pH level than liquid soaps. Because of this, some bar soaps can be more drying to the skin. Dried-out skin is not only uncomfortable but also heals more slowly when injured. What most liquid soap enthusiasts fail to take into account is that there are many different soaps on the market that have low or neutral pH levels, which are less drying [source: Baranda].
Bar soap enthusiasts are quick to point out that most bar soaps contain glycerin, which is good for people with dermatological problems like eczema. It can even help people who just have dry skin [source: American Academy of Dermatology]. Also, for people who are allergic to fragrances, bar soaps can be the most convenient option; there are many bar soaps on the market that are fragrance-free. Fragrance-free liquid soaps, on the other hand, are a little harder to find.
So, are you convinced to return to bar soap? Not so fast -- the next page has some compelling liquid soap facts that might change your mind.