Skip to comments.Dirty hands? Think twice about using that public restroom soap
Posted on 09/07/2013 8:07:09 AM PDT by EBH
AKRON, Ohio -- Here's something that might send you dashing back to the washroom: Microbiologists at GOJO Industries and other institutions have discovered that a quarter of the soap in public restrooms is so contaminated that it leaves your hands filthier than before you washed them.
In fact, some of the soap they tested contained so much fecal matter that you're almost better off washing your hands in the toilet after you flush it, said Charles P. Gerba, professor of microbiology in the University of Arizona's Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science.
GOJO, the company that invented Purell hand sanitizer, has launched a public awareness campaign called Gojo.com/NoMoreBulkSoap to not only warn consumers about the hazards of using dirty soap, but also to convince businesses, airports, shopping centers, restaurants, and schools to quit using some soap dispensers altogether...
... Turns out that washing with dirty soap could leave your hands with "25 times more (potentially harmful) gram-negative bacteria after washing than before washing with contaminated soap," Shumaker said. "You could end up going into a public restroom and coming out dirtier than you were before."
(Excerpt) Read more at cleveland.com ...
Better to get your own hand sanitizer. I buy the large bottle and keep refilling the smaller ones. Cheaper that way too.
What are they talking about?? - BARS of soap, like I haven’t seen in public restrooms for 20 years? - or the soap dispensers that are in EVERY public restroom now?
If so, HOW can the soap in the dispensers be unsanitary?
Well, good thing Momma taught me how NOT to pee on my hands in the first place...
The dispenser itself can be contaminated.
I like the automatic motion sensor soap, water and towel machines and the restroom doors that open out.
NEVER touch the flusher knob with your hands. Use your forearm or elbow. Always use your shirt tail to open the door as you leave. The towel dispensers can collect germ, too. When you are out of the bathroom, clean your hands with your own hand sanitizer. (Why public rest rooms aren’t required to put in the self-flushing toilets, blow-dryers, and door handles you can push agains, I’ll never know.)
REad the article...it is the liquid soap dispensers!
Go read the article...it is the liquid soap dispensers in every public restroom! Ewww....
I haven’t seen a bar of soap in a public restroom in the last 20 years, and it is simply impossible for fecal matter to be transmitted inside of a sealed liquid soap container by someone hitting the dispensor.
doesn't sound kosher....
besides, its not the soap that washes your hands....its the running water while you wash your hands, and physically removing any contaminants.....using paper towels brusquely helps further to wipe away any contaminants...
people think soap sterilizes your hands but it doesn't....
and someday, they'll find that repeated washing your hands with the alcohol soap is only making germs more adaptable...and we less resistant.....
I did, so I have withdrawn my comment.
Oh I never touch the flusher knob, actually will use my foot. Nastiness to ever have to use a public restroom!
Even if, the uncontaminated soap is used to wash the hands AFTER touching the dispensor. This is a BS study.
Really? You want more government regulation?
People are so paranoid about germs, especially with children, that they never allow their immune systems to fully develop.
You’re immune system is like a muscle, Use It or Lose It!
It’s the dispenser not the soap. People have to touch the dispenser to get to the soap within. I guess most of them do not prewash their hands before doing this. I’m sensing an agenda here. Common sense will tell you that once you use the soap and rinse and dry any germs from the dispenser knob will be gone. Did they test the hands of people who had just used the soap?
What’s the big deal, you aren’t touching the dispenser after you wash your hands. You touch it before you wash your hands. That’s why it’s contaminated.
Sounds to me like a study to get people to buy hand sanitizer, which is actually worse for your hands because it kills the good bacteria that you are supposed to have.
Hey, ladies, this is anecdotal but I’d estimate that only 60% of men wash their hands before exiting the bathroom.
Oh there is no such thing as dirty soap unless they mean a bar of soap that someone did not rinse off after using. But soap itself is not dirty especially liquid soap in a container.
The soap itself is contaminated.
i like germs ... and i like to spread ‘em around!
I caught ‘em from liberals and then I shake hands with RINOs.
Liquid soap is usually made from a concentrate that’s diluted with tap water and poured into smaller containers used to refill the soap dispensers. Some cleaning companies may be diluting that concentrate more than recommended to save money, making them less effective against germs.
Gerba found one supplier who was reusing a 30-gallon barrel to mix the soap, and discovered “at the bottom was a half-inch of slime” that no one knew how long had been there.
Commercial soaps contain preservatives designed to inhibit the growth of harmful microbes, but scientists suspect that those preservatives break down over time. And it doesn’t seem to matter whether the soap dispenser is made out of plastic or stainless steel.
Yes, the BS meter is screaming on this one.
Yes, people shouldn’t be that nutty about hand washing. They are causing more resistant germs, as you say. A little dirt is good for the immune system.
Read the article...it is the soap, not just the dispenser.
ive been saying that for years and telling my family to try to find soap that is NOT antibacterial.
all that antibacterial stuff is decreasing our resistance to everything.
unless you have someone in your home who is immuno-comprimised, you should be using regular soaps.
oh, and studies show that hand sanitizer does NOTHING
The dispenser is contaminated also the water added to concentrated soap product is a ideal environment for bacterial growth. Regular soap whether bar or liquid is not a problem there have been numerous studies proving this. There is also the question of whether “soap” in those dispensers is actually soap or a detergent. Most likely it is a detergent or a combination of soap and detergent.
Per the FDA a product is soap only “when the bulk of the nonvolatile matter in the product consists of an alkali salt of fatty acids and the product’s detergent properties are due to the alkali-fatty acid compound.” Simply put this is what happens when a base (Sodium Hydroxide or Potassium Hydroxide) are added to and acid (animal or vegetable fats (fatty acids) to form a salt (which is soap). Trust me bacteria does not thrive in true soap. The average ph of soap is 8.
Pee from a healthy bladder is sterile ( germ free).
The soap may not even be soap. Most likely it is a detergent or a mixture of soap and detergent.
The Yale fellow finishes and goes to the sink to wash his hands. A few moments later to Harvard man gives himself a good shake, zips up and starts walking out the door.
“Hey” the Yale man says. “At Yale we wash our hands after we go to the bathroom.”
The Harvard man doesn't miss a beat. “At Harvard we don't p!ss on out hands” he says over his shoulder as he scoots out the door.
All the soap I've seen in public restrooms for the last 20 years comes in a collapsible plastic bag, and is squirted out of that bag without even air going back into it.
Before accepting the results of someones dubious study, ask yourself just how exactly soap in such a container could possible get contaminated.
I'm not buying it.
Yes it is. True soap does not become contaminated. What becomes contaminated is the water that was used to dilute a bulk concentrated “soap” product which most likely is not 100% true soap at all. If the water becomes contaminated what it dilutes will obviously also get contaminated. It is the water that is the medium for bacteria not soap.
Also it is the dispenser knob that gets contaminated.
Remember those cloth towel machines in mens bathrooms next to the pay toilets?
There is considerable deception in this article. As background:
1) Ordinary water will remove about 60% of the bacterial contamination on hands. This is because most contamination is found in visible contamination and skin oil.
2) Using ordinary soap will remove about 90% contamination, because it washes off both visible contamination, greases and skin oil.
3) Antibacterial soap only performs marginally better than ordinary soap. But again, it’s purpose is to eliminate the visible contamination the bacteria lives in, not really to kill the bacteria themselves.
4) Hand sanitizer is best when there is no visible contamination on the hands. It must as a minimum be 60% alcohol. Most are 62%. But it can be augmented with more alcohol up to about 75-80%, safely. Any more than that, and the shock might put bacteria into a “protected mode”, safe from alcohol.
So the bottom line is that even using contaminated soap is better if your hands have visible contamination. Then once the visible stuff is gone, dry your hands and use hand sanitizer.
You touch the dispenser knob before you wash your hands.
So how does fecal matter get up into the collapsible plastic bag that holds the soap? That would be some trick.
I’m just not buying it.
Thanks for reminding myself to purchase some kitty litter....FOR MY CAR.
the handle(pump type) and or dispensing tip.
Pigs in the credit union I managed as a facilities type put their water bottles on the spout of the water cooler.
I said something and mgmnt did nothing so I sent out an email telling everyone the red crap on the spout is lip stick If you don’t want to get sick bring your own water.That didn’t go over to well.
Large groups of people tend to be pigs especially large groups of women.
The mens room was immaculate and the ladies(wrong term) room was always filthy by noon.
I suspect it is not soap but detergent. Water is a perfect medium for bacterial growth. Which is why I avoid any cosmetic products that have water in them that do not contain preservatives. You should see how the “natural” crowd goes bonkers over that issue.
I would never use tap water when making cosmetics for my own use let alone if I ever sold them (I don’t). It would be distilled water. Normal procedure for when water is going to be added is to heat it to a certain temp then hold it at that temp for a specified time. This is in addition to using a preservative. But I get that is not practical for filling those dispensers.
The solution would be to make sure the product is premixed, tested for bacteria before packaging. The dispensers could be lined with a disposable liner which would be changed before each refill. But add tap water over and over again to a dispenser that harbors bacteria already and of course you are gonna get germs in the “soap”. Better yet carry your own soap or other cleanser.
I’ll drink to that
From the article it is suspected that the people who refill it may do so after cleaning the toilets or as a result of vandalism.
No those thing were/are gross.Never worked and were always black
I avoid public restrooms whenever possible. But on the rare occasion when I end up in one, I follow your advice, with a few variations. I flush with my foot, and get out of the stall quickly so as to avoid a shower of germs from the open toilet. I turn off the faucets with a paper towel after washing. I use a paper towel to open the door (don’t want my clothing on that dirty handle). And I do use my own sanitizer after I leave.
Thank you...you said it better than I could.
It isn't only men. I've witnessed women do it, too. I've also seen women either run their hands under plain water, or wash with soap for about one second.
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