In this article, industry manufacturers answer common questions asked by building service contractors.

Is all commercial hand soap created equal? What should BSCs look for when purchasing?

Many light-duty commercial soaps have very similar ingredients and most manufacturers have taken skin-irritating ingredients out of general-purpose hand soaps; however, soap manufacturers are not created equal. The level of value-added services and programs are an indication of quality and assurance of support for any BSC's business. 

BSCs can save time, labor and costs by choosing quality suppliers that back and support their products. Services such as dispenser support and installation, direct company representatives in the field, quick response time to issues that arise, quick turn and on time shipments, and attentive customer service all help to keep business running smoothly.

The real differences in formulations of soap are in the antibacterial soaps and heavy-duty hand cleansers. With these type of cleansers, the type of active ingredient and level of concentration of that active ingredient will determine efficacy and skin compatibility. Recent reports indicate that we are over-using antibacterial soaps when they are not needed. Besides being more costly, they are not kind to the environment. For general-purpose applications, like schools or offices, washing with soap and water is fine to rid the hands of germs. Antibacterial should only be used in places like healthcare facilities or foodservice, handling, or processing. 

Heavy-duty hand cleansers also vary in the type of actives or scrubber material. BSCs should avoid placing heavy duty hand cleansers containing solvents, such as d-Limonene, that are irritating to the skin or harsh scrubbers that can also cause damage to the skin. Ideally, if the environment requires extra cleaning power, BSCs should look for heavy-duty, solvent-free options or grit-free options that are environmentally preferred and easy on the skin. These type cleansers usually cover most all heavy-duty needs that a BSC would typically come across.
Lori Huffman, Head of Marketing, North America, STOKO An Evonik Brand, Greensboro, N.C.

No. Soaps are formulated with multiple ingredients, including surfactants, emollients, humectants, fragrances, dyes and active ingredients to kill germs. Soaps are also available in premium foams in addition to liquids. 

BSCs should base their decisions on quality, features and dispensing options in addition to price and service. It is important to note that dispensers are not created equal and are just as important if not more important than the product.
Dan Renner, Director of Marketing, Kutol Products Co., Sharonville, Ohio 

There are many different types of soaps and many of them are produced in different ways, depending on the performance and quality. Also for the different products, different ingredients are needed and these ingredients need different preparation. Furthermore, over the years manufacturers have developed different ways of producing soap. What should always be taken into consideration is the purpose of the soap. 
Katharina Versluis, Marketing Manager, Gent-l-kleen Products Inc., York, Pa.