In recent years, foam soaps have dramatically risen in popularity in North America and are now gaining traction in the European market. So what’s behind this trend?
There are several advantages that foam soap holds over traditional liquid soap for consumers. Perhaps the biggest cost saving difference between foam and traditional lotion soap is in the amount of water used. Industry studies have shown that when people wash their hands with foaming hand soap they use 16 percent less water per wash versus those using liquid soap. Similarly, water usage can be reduced by up to 45 percent when hands are not wet prior to lathering, as the foam soap allows for lather without additional water.1 You can get more hand washes per package with foaming soap, which helps by reducing packaging and transportation impacts on the environment.
Commercial consumers with high traffic restrooms, such as in airports, entertainment venues, public attractions, or large office buildings, can potentially see several million hand washes annually. For these soap consumers, a 10 percent reduction in water from hand washing has a significant impact on the bottom line. In fact, this can mean that for every one million hand washes, the liquid soap user would consume 14,800 more gallons (56,000 litres) of water than the foam soap user.2
Beyond the economic benefits of using foam soap over lotion, environmental benefits also exist. Foaming soaps typically biodegrade faster than traditional soaps, partly due to the forced air that causes natural lathering. As a result, less soap ends up down the drain which is better for our environment.
The conservation of water also has environmentally friendly aspects that may not be initially obvious when thinking about foam soap. Foam dispensers are typically refilled less often than lotion soap, and manufacturers are able to produce less soap per sale with foam, resulting in fewer emissions from transport and less packaging for distribution.3 These, when combined with using less soap per wash, and using less water per wash contribute to the environmental and financial benefits of foaming soap.
How Effective Is It?
While there doesn’t appear to be any advantage for soap foam over liquid soap when compared in a laboratory environment, there appears to be a social and psychological component to the benefits of foam. In North America, and increasingly around the world, foam soap products are considered more luxurious, and are typically reported as being preferred over liquid soap due to the rich, thick texture of the product.4 It stands to reason that the more people enjoy using the product, the more likely they are to use it – theoretically increasing hand hygiene compliance rates. More studies on this topic are needed, but for this reason, foam soap may offer some hygienic advantage over traditional soap products.
OPHARDT is proud to offer a wide selection of foam pumps and dispensers that can be suited to any environment. Whether it is a wall mounted, touchless dispenser; or our Bottle Top Foam pump, we are sure that we can find a solution for all of your foam dispensing needs. For more information visit https://www.ophardt.com/index.php/en/home/pumps .
- Small, 10 Dec 2015 Industrial and Institutional Hand Care: US Market Analysis and Opportunities