Monday, March 3, 2008

The Great Soap Showdown

In January I wrote an entry about ways to get kids to wash their hands more frequently. Since then I've had a few people ask me about some of the soaps mentioned and whether or not they are effective for getting kids to wash their hands. So I thought that we would do a little soap test with me and my four-year-old.

The Contenders:

The Results:

SquidSoap by Airborne
Overall: Conceptually my son was most interested in this soap. He was fascinated with the idea that the little squid on the bottle would "ink" his hand. He wanted to try that one first and has since asked to use that one most of the time. I thought that the design was quite appealing for a kid - almost toy like in nature which is usually a good thing. I also liked the fact that it comes with a removable cap for the ink part of the soap. This helps prevent kids from trying to ink their hands many times and allows you to prevent guests from being surprise inked.

How it worked: My son is still working on the mechanics of putting one hand on the dispenser and one hand underneath to catch the soap so he had a little trouble initially as it is vital for the person washing their hands to put their hand on the ink spot. Since the soap was clear he almost spilled it out of his hand a couple of times. In order to get the spot to go away, you really have to scrub hard. Even after several tries there is still a light spot on your hand but it does go away after time.

Putting the ink on his hands

The ink spot

The remaining ink spot after washing hands for about 20-30 seconds.

Pros: This soap is definitely a great one for kids (especially younger ones) from an interest perspective. It really requires your to scrub hard which is good because most kids just try and lightly rub their hands together while their washing.

Cons: The soap is clear so it's hard to keep it on your hands if you aren't paying attention. The ink spot doesn't disappear completely after hand washing.

Dial Color Clean
Overall: My son had a harder time understanding how this soap worked. I think he was expecting a bigger impact when the beads popped and changed the lather to green. He really liked the smell of this one which was a big plus for him. The little beads in the clear soap made it easier for him to see. I liked this one because it can go in a bathroom without looking like an obvious kid soap.

How it worked: Once the soap is in your hand, you have to really work to pop the beads and have them turn the lather green. The beads are pretty small so you really have to try hard to get them. I think if the green was bigger/brighter than my son might have enjoyed this soap even more.

This is what the soap with the beads looked like.

Pros: This soap really requires you to wash for a longer period of time which is great. It also encourages you to scrub all parts of your hands as the beads move around. The smell is really nice without being overpowering.

Cons: I think little kids have a harder time getting "the point" of this one so they might find it less fun. Older kids might like this one because they can better understand how it works.

Softsoap Foam Works
Overall: We normally use a foam soap for our son because he likes to be able to see where the soap is and instantly have lather on his hands. We bought the berry scented on to see if the smell would make it anymore exciting than his regular soap. The smell was nice but it didn't really affect his choice. He still does well with this soap because he can make his "soap gloves" easily and the soap doesn't slide off his hands as fast.

The lather from the foam soap

How it worked: This soap works like any other soap. Again, the nice thing about the foam is that kids can see it and get instant lather which they usually like.

Pros: The smell. My son did like how it smelled. The foam works great and lasts for a long time so my son was able to get his 15-20 seconds of hand washing in.

Cons: It doesn't come with an exciting concept but otherwise there isn't really anything to take away from this soap.

In the end I think all of the soaps had something to offer. If you're thinking about buying some for your kids, I would take into account how old they are and how likely they are to buy into whichever concept the soap the has.

Have fun and celebrate the clean hands!

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