Scientific Studies Related to Refillable Bulk Soap

Bacterial Hand Contamination and Transfer after Use of Contaminated Bulk-Soap-Refillable Dispensers

Studies have shown the impact of bulk soap – or soap dispensed from refillable containers – on hand hygiene, and the results are strongly in favor of moving toward factory-sealed soap refills. Open bulk dispensers are prone to extrinsic contamination from the environment, are subject to tampering and can actually increase the number of bacteria on hands. In fact, research has shown that as many as one in four bulk soap dispensers is contaminated. 

Reference: Applied and Environmental Microbiology, May 2011, p. 2898–2904. Carrie A. Zapka, Esther J. Campbell, Sheri L. Maxwell, Charles P. Gerba, Michael J. Dolan, James W. Arbogast, and David R. Macinga

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Occurrence of Heterotrophic and Coliform Bacteria in Liquid Hand Soaps from Bulk Refillable Dispensers in Public Facilities

The objective of this study is to determine the presence of bacteria in bulk soap from open, refillable containers obtained from restrooms in a variety of public facilities. The results show that open bulk dispensers are prone to extrinsic contamination from the environment, and up to one-in-four dispensers show the presence of heterotrophic and coliform bacteria.

Reference: Journal of Environmental Health (, March 2011, Volume 73, Number 7, pp 26-29. Marisa Chattman, MS, Sheri L. Maxwell, and Charles P. Gerba, PhD

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The 8 Germiest Places in the Mall

It’s no secret that the restroom at the mall is an incredibly germy place. But the germiest place in the restroom probably isn’t where you think it is. Research shows that the sink area harbors the most germs, thanks to the moist environment, and the fact that handles and soap dispensers are often used right after someone uses the toilet. To make matters worse, sinks with bulk soap dispensers are even more prone to contamination from harmful germs.


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