Foaming vs Liquid Hand Soap – A Cost Analysis

by Lawton Brothers | Dec 07, 2022

washing hands with liquid soap

Soap is an important consideration that is necessary for all businesses. Choosing the type and style of soap for your facility’s bathrooms may seem like a wash, but it’s no small decision. Hand soap is one the biggest line items in a restroom budget; and over the past few years, the emphasis on handwashing and disease control has increased soap consumption to all-time highs. 

When looking at the application cost of foam soap, it is often cheaper than bulk options. Due to the amount that is distributed with each pump, you can get more applications out of the foam product. This would mean that, in theory, foaming would be cheaper since it lasts longer and also needs to be refilled less often (also relieving the labor cost of restocking). However, many people use multiple pumps of foaming hand soap in order to have a full 20-second lather, as compared to liquid soap which is not instantly lathered. 

In general, foaming hand soap is often less expensive than liquid soap. In businesses where customers and employees wash their hands multiple times throughout the day, the cost savings can add up over time. Most traditional soap dispensers release between 1-1.5 mL of liquid soap per hand wash, compared to .75 mL for most foaming hand soaps. For every 1000 hand washes, facilities conserve 250-750 mL of product when using foaming soap. 

Additionally, when looking at the cost per refill, foaming hand soap takes the win again. Per 1000 mL refill, foaming hand soap can provide up to 1,333 hand washes, while liquid dispensers provide approximately 667-1000 (for 1.5 mL – 1 mL dispensers, respectively). Divided by the cost per refill (assuming an $8 cost for each hand soap refill), the foaming soap results in a $.006 hand wash, and liquid soap results in a $.008-.012 hand wash. 

Even when looking at dispenser types, liquid dispensers often require more maintenance over time due to clogs and buildup. If not used often enough, liquid hand soap can dry up and create a goopy consistency that can clog up the machine, and has to be dismantled and run through warm water before they are in working order. This adds to the labor cost and increases the time required for refills. 

Finally, industry studies have shown that foaming hand soap even uses less water during the hand washing process. When people wash their hands with foaming soap, they use 16 percent less water. Additionally, water usage can be further reduced thanks to the foaming soap that produces a lather without needing hands to be wet first. 

It’s a Wash!

In the long term, foaming hand soaps are more cost-effective. Even with a higher case price, foaming soaps can yield a higher number of hand washes and balance out the cost. Still curious about hand soaps? Give us a call! At Lawton Brothers, we have a variety of foaming and liquid hand soaps at your disposal. We can walk through a cost analysis for you and help you decide on the right cleaning for your business. Give us a call today, at: 800.432.0813.

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