Today I am going to write about a topic that has brought me angst for ages. I have finally decided to speak up on this. All too often I will be at someone's house and need to wash my hands and spy a soap dispenser at the edge of the sink and go squirting away with the soap only to discover that it has been watered down beyond belief (like seriously.....it's not even soap sometimes!). Well I typically stand there and try to decide if I want to wash my hands with what is most likely bacteria laden bubble water or if I just give up and feel like a dirtball until I get home. Sometimes I reflect upon a third option.....which is to rub my hands really hard on the towel that is usually nearby, as if that will accomplish anything.
Ok let's talk about liquid hand soap that you would buy in the grocery store. I am specifically talking about the commercially made stuff which sometimes has additional ingredients to make it anti-bacterial and sometimes just cleans and moisturizes. Ultimately they all accomplish the goal of cleaning in some capacity. These products are typically created from lab made synthetics and are a balanced formula including their preservative when they go into the bottle. SOOOOOO.....when you add water to this formula you are diluting out everything including the preservation system thereby making it ineffective.
Why does this matter? You are subjecting the thing that you bought to clean your hands to microbial growth, yes, you are effectively going to end up washing your hands with bacteria, fungus and yeast (YUCK!) Why use the soap at all I ask? This also goes for a hand made liquid soap, if you purchase it from someone and it's ready to be used then guess what.....it's a balanced formula too and will become unbalanced if you start tinkering with it.
Well what about those nifty little soap foamer things? The soap that goes in to them is formulated to be thinner and has the appropriate amount of preservative so they can do their job and not be subject to microbial growth. Taking regular soap and adding water will still get you a bacterial filled foamer which as we now know is just gross.
What about concentrated products that say specifically to add water to them? Good question, follow the instructions on the bottle and you should end up with a safe and effective product. OR if you must over dilute it for whatever reason make sure you finish it up in one use.
The two most common argument I hear for watering down liquid soap is that it's either too expensive and this helps the pocketbook or that you will be at the store in a few days and just need to stretch it until then. Look, I hear both arguments and acknowledge that life is tough both on the pocketbook and on the freetime-o-meter. If it's too expensive, switch to bar soap, I promise you that it WILL clean your hands. If you need to stretch your soap for a few days just remember that microbial growth can start in as little as 24 hours.
This, my smart and savvy friends is my PSA on watering down liquid soap. If you ever see me standing at a sink twitching you can pretty much assume that I am standing there wondering what to do about my dirty hands and why on earth someone else has gone and watered down a perfectly balanced product.
All the best to you in perfectly formulated bubbles