Soap Stars: Recommended Reading

Jan 10, 2012, 3:45 PM, Posted by NewPublicHealth

At a growing number of hotel chains, housekeepers don’t mind a bit if you leave your wet, used bar of soap on the sink. The used bars are collected, scraped for cleanliness, boiled down and then reformed and sent to kids across the globe, by Clean the World, a three-year-old non-profit that collects soap and other toiletries from hotel rooms and redistributes them in the U.S. and around the world.

Why soap? Hand washing with soap significantly reduces the impact of two fatal diseases: acute respiratory infection and diarrheal disease, which are the top two killers of children less than five years old in developing countries, according to Clean the World experts. The company was launched by co-founder Shawn Seipler, after a 2008 hotel stay during which he wondered what would happen to the used soap he was leaving behind.

Clean the World has had treated soap tested. Results show complete elimination of all the pathogens they tested for, including Listeria, E. coli, Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus.

NewPublicHealth Bonus: Hand washing is for everyone, especially during flu season. A website from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers tips on when, how and why everyone should frequently wash their hands.

NPH Tip: To be sure you’re washing your hands for the full twenty seconds needed to rid them of germs, sing “Happy Birthday” twice during the process.

>>Read the Washington Post article on Clean the World.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.