This is the fourth part of a four-part article about the different types of soaps available.

It’s not enough for a distributor to simply identify whether a client needs an antimicrobial, a gentle soap or a sanitizer (or a mix). Nor can the distributor stop after determining whether the facility prefers green options. It’s also important to work with the client to choose a form and a dispensing system.

“Whatever soap and hygiene supplies you’re selling, it’s important to know your audience,” says Sansoni. “That’s why it’s really important to talk with the custodial staff to understand the needs of the population. [They] are on the front-lines, week in and week out.”

While some facilities still prefer gel or liquid soap, many are making the switch to foam products. The portion-controlled dispensing system with foam means users waste less product. Reducing the amount of product per activation by as much as 50 percent can save many dollars over time for an entire facility or multiple locations.

“Foam hand cleaners also lather easier and cover the hands more quickly than gel or liquids,” says Uselman. “Foam rinses from the hands much easier and saves time and water. That can add up when you think about a whole elementary school of children washing their hands several times a day.”

Finally, good dispensing is essential for ensuring proper and frequent usage, and in reducing the spread of contagions. For example, providing sanitizing stations in areas where they may logically be needed is critical. Also, schools may want to choose decorative soap and sanitizer dispensers that visually engage children to encourage hand washing.

Dispensing systems that use bulk soap and refill containers should be avoided in environments with vulnerable populations.

“They are not enclosed systems so they are the worst for harboring bacteria,” says Attman. “The cost for a good, closed cartridge system is going to be reasonable for the facility and much more healthy for the people using them.”

When promoting soaps in facilities with sensitive populations, such as children and the elderly, distributors should look for products that are gentle on the skin and without ingredients that could cause an allergic reaction. Offering a green soap is an easy way to guarantee the needs of the occupants will be met. 

Becky Mollenkamp is a freelance writer based in St. Louis.

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Green Soap Reduces Irritation, Environmental Impact