Think Twice About Using That Public Restroom Soap ...

When Is the Last Time You Saw a Bar of Soap in a Public Restroom?

When safer, cleaner, more sanitary options became available we stopped using bar soap in public places. It’s time for another shift. Today the issue is that this bar of soap is probably safer to use than refillable bulk soap. Curious what health risks associated with bulk soap? Watch the GOJO video to learn more.

Can contaminated soap actually cause illness?

YES! Health Canada, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization have all recognized the bacterial contamination risk of “topping off” refillable bulk soap dispensers and issued guidelines against it years ago. 1,2,3

GOJO (one of Vallen’s vendors) was compelled to take action and, in 2011, sponsored a study to find out how often soap dispensers are contaminated.


Total number of open refillable soap samples: 5414

Number of samples with bacteria: 133 (25%)4

Number of samples with coliforms: 87 (16%)4

Zero bacteria were found in soap dispensed from sealed systems. 4


Do bacteria found in refillable bulk soap systems stay on hands? YES! Hands can have 25 times more germs after washing with contaminated soap. Bacteria remaining on hands after handwashing can be transferred to touched surfaces. 4


Can’t you just disinfect the dispensers once they’re contaminated? No. Another study proves that biofilms grow in bulk soap dispensers, causing recontamination after cleaning – even with bleach! 5


Sealed soap dispensing systems are being installed in more public restrooms today because of their many advantages over refillable bulk soap. Keep your restrooms clean by using right products to stay healthy and safe.


If you have questions, please reach out to your Vallen Representative or call 780-468-3366 

 1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings: Recommendations of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee and the HICPAC/SHEA/APIC/IDSA Hand Hygiene Task Force. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. October 25, 2002 / Vol. 51 / No. RR-16. Accessed at on May 18, 2010.

2. Health Canada Guidance Document for Human-Use Antiseptic Drugs. December 2009. pg 32.

3. World Health Organization (2009) WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization Press.

4. Chattman M, Maxwell S, Gerba C. 2011. Occurrence of heterotrophic and coliform bacteria in liquid hand soaps from bulk refillable dispensers in public facilities. J Environ Health. 73(7):26-29.

5. Lorenz L, Ramsay B, Goeres D, Fields M, Zapka C, Macinga D. 2012. Evaluation and remediation of bulk soap dispensers for biofilm. Biofouling, 28(1): 99-109.


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