Bar soap: leaping forward by looking back

Bar soap: leaping forward by looking back

David Lee
Zurich, on 23.06.2022
Translation: Katherine Martin

I’m a bathroom conservative through and through, with a preference for bar soaps over liquid ones. Here’s why.

Back when humankind was still underdeveloped and barely able to walk upright, we used solid soaps. Gradually, the pinnacle of evolution got cleverer, wiser and more modern. Today, the species that calls itself Homo sapiens is so advanced that it uses liquid soaps. Preferably ones that come out of an electric soap dispenser.

This is a widely held view. I, however, see things differently. I reckon bar soap is the real deal, while liquid soap is an aberration of mankind.

Bar soap lasts for ages

The most obvious reason to go for bar soap is that it lasts longer than its liquid counterpart. Much longer. This is bad for the manufacturers because they sell less, but good for me.

The difference is particularly extreme when it comes to shaving soap. That’s right, I use solid soap for that too. The product description says it lasts for several months. It’s not an exaggeration. It’s a huge understatement.

Mine is about ten years old and still isn’t even close to being used up. While I might not shave every day, I still do it at least twice a week. Should the stuff run out before I die, I could even order a replacement soap minus the wooden pot.

Ten years gone already? How time flies ...
Ten years gone already? How time flies ...

That said, there are bar soaps which don’t last very long. Or that lose their scent after a short time. But if the product lasts for months or even years, it’s not like you have to buy the cheapest one. It’s worth treating yourself to something high-end.

A soap bag is a convenient way use up a soap. Even small fragments can still do their job in one of these. This way, a soap’s lifespan can be extended even further.

They’re better for the environment

As is so often the case, the more economical approach is also the greener one. In other words, it pays to be stingy. Emptying plastic bottle after plastic bottle of liquid soaps creates heaps of waste. The same goes for shaving foam in spray cans made of metal.

What seems even more problematic to me, though, is that the liquid soap itself contains microplastics. It ends up in wastewater and in nature, where it can no longer be broken down.

They stimulate the senses more

Bar soaps feel better. Instead of squeezing a blob of goo onto your hand, your hand basically creates the foam. It’s really easy to get the right amount.

In addition, good bars of soap smell great. And they diffuse their scent throughout the bathroom when they’re not being used. Shower gel, on the other hand, sits in a sealed container, releasing none of its aroma. I can enjoy the scent of bar soap without bothering anyone else. After all, unlike perfume or aftershave, the aroma doesn’t cling to me all day.

Classic (Hand Soap & Liquid Soap)
Quantity discount
9.80per piece for 2 units
Dudu Classic (Hand Soap & Liquid Soap)

Old fashioned is progressive

Although I usually write about modern technology, I enjoy ditching it in the bathroom. I don’t have an electric toothbrush and I shave by hand. In the bathroom, I like things the old-fashioned way. And even consider it progressive.

Why? The bathroom is a retreat, where you can be alone, have time to yourself and take care of yourself. Making time for that does you good. Save five minutes by creating an electric frenzy straight after I get up each morning? I’d rather get up five minutes earlier. The ubiquitous obsession with efficiency hangs over my everyday life quite enough.

Animals take as much time as they need for their personal hygiene. They instinctively know what’s good for them. If Homo sapiens are really as smart as they think they are, they’ll learn something from this.

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My interest in IT and writing landed me in tech journalism early on (2000). I want to know how we can use technology without being used. Outside of the office, I’m a keen musician who makes up for lacking talent with excessive enthusiasm.

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