BUNZL Cleaning & Hygiene Supplies Blog

Are You Washing Your Hands With Contaminated Soap?

If you regularly use a bulk soap dispenser in a public or workplace washroom when washing your hands, you are probably thinking you are eliminating germs, however, you may actually be increasing your risk of exposure to germs and infections.


Bulk fill dispensers are open soap systems where the cover or lid is removed and refilled with soap. They are often the cheaper alternative to using luxury washroom products and leave less mess than a traditional bar of soap, but many aren’t aware that they aren’t always the most hygienic option. Whether it is public toilets or office washrooms, schools or hospitals – soap dispensers holding their product in a refillable reservoir has long been the only alternative to a bar of soap or a lotion from a bottle.

Shockingly, Deb Group has revealed that 25% of public refillable bulk dispensers are contaminated with an unsafe level of bacteria, and what’s more, refillable bulk dispensers can leave hands with 25x more bacteria after washing. After hearing these facts, you’ll definitely think twice about using a bulk dispenser again!



What are the risks of bulk fill soap dispensers?


Bulk fill dispensers have been a washroom staple for many years, and still have their benefits, however, there are some disadvantages when using them. The main issue is that bulk systems are not sealed, meaning they are vulnerable to contamination from the environment, or from the hands of the person refilling the system. In order to prevent bacterial contamination, The Centre for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) warns to not add soap to a partially empty soap dispenser. It is this practice of ‘topping off’ dispensers that lead to bacterial issues, meaning that the new soap can also become contaminated.

According to Deb Group,

“Even where the equipment is cleaned frequently, using aggressive products such as bleach, researchers have identified a high risk of recontamination, due to biofilms – microorganisms that stick to each other and adhere to surfaces.”

Risks of using a bulk soap dispenser includes –

  • The risk of airborne germs and bacteria contaminating the soap
  • The increased risk of spreading germs and bacteria
  • The labour and time involved with cleaning the refilling the systems
  • The health and safety risk which may occur should there be a dripping or leaking dispense

The Solution is ‘Safer Sealed’


The safer, hygienic alternative to bulk fill dispensers are sealed cartridge systems, which combine a biocote protected dispenser with an ultrasonically sealed cartridge to create a hygienic soap system. There is no contact between the product and the environment before the product is being used to wash hands, meaning that the risk of contamination is reduced to a minimum.

Deb Group has introduced their “Safer Sealed” range to the market, which can minimise the risk of bacterial contamination and help to prevent infections; save companies time and money; and ease the burden on the environment. Full benefits of the “Refresh Washroom” range includes –

  • A reduction of contamination risks as cartridges are ultrasonically sealed
  • A measured dose of fresh product dispensed every time
  • A secure, lockable wall mounted dispenser
  • Cartridges designed to collapse which ensures that all product is used
  • A cost and time-saving activity, as cartridges are quick and easy to change
  • Less mess, drips and spills.

Deb Group’s range of sealed dispensers uses foam soap, which contributes to significant water and energy savings. It has been estimated that their use can reduce water consumption by up to 45%, Additionally, a range of foam formulations also carry the European Union Ecolabel Certificate, Green Seal and Ecologo, which means that they are considered to carry a reduced environmental impact, whilst retaining their primary purpose of being effective and pleasant to use.

Stylish-looking, efficient, and both easy to use and maintain – sealed cartridge dispensers are safer and more hygienic than their bulk counterparts. We stock a range of the Refresh Deb Group range, including Refresh Relax Lotion and Foam, Refresh Energie Foam, Refresh Clear Foam, Refresh Azure Foam, Refresh Rose Foam, and Refresh Hair and Body Wash. These products can be combined with Deb’s InstantFoam TouchFree Dispensers, which is also available in white and chrome.

If you have found this article useful and want to find out more about hand hygiene in public washrooms, why not take a read of our infographic, “Hot Air Hand Dryers Vs Paper Towels: Which Has the Upper Hand” and blog post, “How To Protect Yourself from Germs In Public Washrooms”.

Will you think twice about using bulk soap dispensers? Take our poll below, comment or Tweet us @BunzlCleaning to let us know!

One thought on “Are You Washing Your Hands With Contaminated Soap?

  1. Maria

    It is grate post. Simple soap is not hygienic. Simple soap contaminated while washing the hands.Contaminate soap is harmful to health. Dispenser save the soap from the contamination. Thank you for the information and video.

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