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

Hand washing is like a do-it-yourself vaccine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s one of the most effective ways to remove germs, avoid illnesses, and prevent the spread of mild conditions, such as the common cold, or severe and even life-threatening diseases.

Clean hands are especially important in schools and health care environments, where contagions can pose a serious risk to vulnerable populations. Children and the elderly are among the most susceptible to illness and death from infectious diseases.

“In these settings, you want to make sure there are sufficient reminders for everyone to wash their hands throughout the day,” says Brian Sansoni, vice president of communication at the American Cleaning Institute, Washington D.C. “Effective soaps are absolutely essential to maintaining health and hygiene standards in schools and long-term care facilities.”

Distributors must be prepared to help clients in these markets choose the best soap for their needs. The most basic categories of soap include antimicrobial, mild/gentle (which can be green certified), industrial and hybrid body wash.

The industrial category is typically best for environments where people are exposed to heavy oils or strong odors that can only be stripped away with a stronger soap. It’s unlikely that a school or medical facility will need this type of product. Hybrid soaps include body wash to create a heavier lather for bathing. These products are popular for hotels and fitness clubs, but could have an application in schools with locker rooms or long-term care facilities where clients are bathed.

Most often, however, the K-12 and long-term care markets will be interested in antimicrobial and mild/gentle options.

next page of this article:
Antimicrobial Soaps Are Not Always Necessary