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The Best Hand Soaps for Kids

For them, 20 seconds is an eternity. These soaps will help.

“They’re all pretty much the same. There’s no advantage to any particular brand. The differences are mostly aesthetic. Liquid versus bar is a personal choice,” says Dr. Elaine L. Larson, the associate dean for research and professor of pharmaceutical and therapeutic research at Columbia University. 

What matters is not so much the size of the wave, so to speak, but the motion of the ocean. Translation: It’s not what’s in the bottle, as much as how you use it. Liquid soaps are easier for kids to master, because they squirt, lather up, and rinse the nasty germs down the drain. Some packaging on soaps can be more fun or eye-catching, but that’s really where the differences end.

With kids, it’s important that it’s mild enough that they’re happy to use it. There’s no special kind of soap for kids, to be clear,” says Larson. 

Unless your child is Doogie Howser and is scrubbing up for surgery, there’s absolutely no need to spring for antibacterial soap. Furthermore, if you find it, it probably is a knock-off. The FDA ruled in 2013 that, because there’s no proof that antibacterial soaps are any more effective than their regular cousins and the ingredients do environmental damage, manufacturers are no longer allowed to market “antibacterial” soaps to consumers, outside of a hospital setting. The short of it? If you see it, it likely isn’t it. Besides, it’s unnecessary.

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