Bar Soap vs Liquid Soap? Which is best?

Bar Soap vs Liquid Soap? Which is best?


On the left we have, weighing in at 120 grams, the former undisputed world champion of cleanliness for thousands of years, the commodity known as ....   Bar Soap


And on the right weighing in at 300 mils, the new comer ...  Liquid Soap


Round One: Environmental Sustainability

Bar's coach rips off her cardboard packaging, and she is ready to go. There is some fumbling on the right as Liquid's coach twists free the plastic pump. All eyes swivel to the judges who are deep in discussion. This first round - environmental sustainability is one both sides will want to win. 



The middle judge stands up and holds up his card. A cheer erupts from the left. Bar's coach fists pumps the air. Later the judge will explain that after some heated discussion the judging team felt that Bar's cardboard packaging was overall more easily recycled and  was created using more environmentally friendly practices.

The ref signals for silence for the next round to begin.


Round Two: Job Efficiency

Liquid's coach pumps some of the soap on to her hands, rubs them together and with the help of some water creates a great lather. Bar's coach also has a bit of a lather on her hands as well. After a quick rinse the judges are on their feet to inspect the results. 




After a short consultation two of the judges hold up cards. It is a tie, both sides have an equal result. 

Bar is in the lead by one point. Will Liquid catch up in the next round or will Bar take the prize? 


Round Three: Ingredient Performance

The judge motions for Bar's coach to bring forward the label. The judges all gather round the library, consulting their phones and medical textbooks. Thirteen ingredients, that does sound like a lot. But what are they and are they value for money is the question. Liquid also has thirteen ingredients, so the difference is going to have to come from the quality. What have we got to work with?


A quick look at Liquid's ingredients tells us that the main ingredient is water. On the other hand Bar's main ingredient is Olive Oil, a lot more bang for buck there. The judges read through Liquid's ingredients and look slightly bamboozled. They call for some medical journals to be bought forward. The audience talk quietly amongst themselves whilst the judges search through the books, making notes every now and again.

They conclude that five of Liquid's thirteen ingredients* are synthetic, and one in particular Cocamide MEA (which enhances foaming) is classified as possibly carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Not a good outcome for Liquid at all, but let's see what Bar as to offer. It seems that only one of Bar's thirteen ingredients (Bar's ingredient list) is questionable:  lye, aka sodium hydroxide. Lye has been used for thousands of years in soap making and without it soap cannot be made.  It is approved by the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) as an organic product so that might help with the points.



The results are in ...

Bar has won the third round and taken out the competition - it is not only more environmentally friendly but also has higher ingredient performance!

But the real winners are ....


people, who can clean their hands and therefore prevent illnesses.

Every day we all win, whichever side we choose.






*List is from a popular brand found in supermarkets all across New Zealand - other liquid soaps will have varying ingredients, as will other soap bars, especially non-natural ones. Information in this  article is generalised.






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