Foam soap 'saves water in the washroom'

1st of September 2011
Foam soap 'saves water in the washroom'

Research commissioned by hand hygiene systems manufacturer Deb claims to show that people use 16 per cent less water in the washroom when they use foam soap compared with liquid soap.

Researchers asked 150 people to place their hands in compost to simulate a moderate level of dirt and then wash their hands, once with a traditional liquid/lotion soap and once with foam soap.  Participants were free to use their hand washing method of choice and to control the tap, and hence water flow rate, as necessary. The product tested first was rotated to avoid order effects and all the participants used liquid/lotion or foam soaps on a day–to?day basis.

When testing the lotion soap, participants used an average of 1758 ml water with the tap on for 21.8 seconds. For foam soap, this reduced to 1475 ml water with the tap on for 19.7 seconds. This amounted to a 16 per cent water saving. If people wash their hands three times a day at work, Deb calculates that an office of 100 people currently using lotion soap would save nearly 20,000 litres of water per year by changing to foam soap.

And the company says water savings can be increased even further by using a specific hand washing technique - dispense, lather, tap on, rinse. By encouraging this change in behaviour it reckons up to 45 per cent less water could be used compared with liquid soap.

Further savings follow on from this - as less water is required for rinsing, less energy is needed to heat the water. And because foam soap is eight times more spreadable than lotion soap, less product is used.

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