I was just reading someone's* blog post, and she wrote "A simple bar of soap can help stop the spread of the disease and save so many kids' lives. Here's a thought: try 'not' washing your hands with soap for just a week and see how sick you get... "
She brought this up in reference to a charity called, Clean the World. This charity recycles soap products, like the half bars you leave behind in hotel rooms, and distributes them to homeless shelters in the U.S. and to impoverished countries around the world.
We take soap and clean hands for granted. We have signs in our public bathrooms begging us to wash with soap and water before leaving the bathroom. Begging us to wash our hands, when so many people would love the opportunity to soap their hands clean. The Clean the World website says, "Impoverished people around the world die every day from acute respiratory infection and diarrheal disease because they have no soap. The death toll is staggering. Each year more than five million lives are lost to these diseases with the majority of deaths being among children less than five years old. Studies have shown that simple hand washing substantially reduces the spread of these diseases."
I am not writing this as a call to donate to Clean the World (though I am sure they would appreciate it), but to remind you how lucky we all are to have soap available, and how washing hands is so important. It prevents the spread of disease. This is a big deal. Twenty seconds of your life can help you stay healthy, and washing hands is really quite a pleasure if you don't rush through it. What's better than nice warm water and soapy hands rubbing together to get clean? For me, hand washing is a luxury. I love the smell of the soap and the way my hands get covered in frothy bubbles. I love trying other people's soaps, and in restaurants, and other public places just to see how they feel and smell. I also keep a bar of soap in my bag, in a plastic container, just in case I go somewhere where there isn't any soap available.
You don't need to use antibacterial soap. Actually, I try not to whenever possible. The Mayo clinic says, "Using antibacterial soap may even lead to the development of bacteria that are resistant to the product's antimicrobial agents — making it harder to kill these germs in the future." I prefer bar soap (I like Soap and Paper Factory), but for my pump dispensers I use depth hand soap in bay coconut. It's very gentle on the hands and smells great. (I don't, however, like their conditioner, but that's another story.)
Since we live in an imperfect world, I do have wet wipes for the car, and for times when we just can't get to a sink. I buy Herban Essentials Towelettes in either lemon or orange, depending on my mood. They also come in Eucalyptus and Lavender, but I haven't tried them. The other scents seem more appropriate for the hands. Now, they are ridiculously expensive. A bag of 20 individual towelettes is $15, so use them sparingly. I wipe down my steering wheel with my son's used ones, just because they are too expensive not to reuse. They are worth their weight in gold, though.
The point, as I go off on my tangents, is that we are so lucky to have soap and clean, running water. Please, instead of taking advantage of our capitalism by spending money on garish items, spend it on some really good soap. And then use it.