One of my friends told me he stopped using soap years ago and I never smelt anything bad. I wanted to test it and changed my shower routine to just warm water and thoroughly using my hands to scrub my body. The results were amazing, I didn't notice any increase in odor and showering took less time.

In fact my body odor seems to have decreased significantly. So much so, that after days where I don't sweat a lot I frequently skip showering entirely without any bad effects. And it's not due to not being able to smell myself as it has been confirmed by my partner.

I still wash my hands with soap to prevent the spread of disease. And I can also understand the use of soap if you get so dirty that water alone doesn't get the grime off.

This is why I'm curious if there is any evidence that using soap on the body does any good? Or do we just do it because everyone has been drilled since childhood with the belief they would be dirty without soap?

Maybe cosmetic companies spread this idea to sell their perfumed soaps? Their commercials certainly keep it alive. Interestingly I'm now much more aware of the perfumed odor emitted by people who use a lot of soap, sometimes it's even somewhat repelling to me.

  • Note that "after days where I don't sweat a lot I frequently skip showering entirely without any bad effects" does not say anything about the soap. You would have to do the same test with soap, and you'd probably experience the same.
    – user22865
    Feb 11 '15 at 10:16
  • 1
    The first page of search results from google.com/#q=soap%20body%20odor suggests that only (specifically) antibacterial soap will reduce body odor. Do you know of any "notable claim" (for example any advertisement from a soap manufacturer) about non-antibacterial soap in general?
    – ChrisW
    Feb 11 '15 at 10:56
  • 2
    It's probably worth noting that the function of soap is not purely to make you smell nice, it's to break up the surface tension of water, allowing the water to more easily fill pores and small crevices. edtech.boisestate.edu/snelsonc/examples/…
    – KChaloux
    Feb 12 '15 at 21:00
  • Your partner is also probably accustomed to your odor as well, so I'm not sure that is enough to go on. Really you'd probably need a stranger, but they might not be honest to be polite.
    – Andy
    Mar 11 '15 at 0:54
  • There's no clear claim here that we are being asked to investigate. The OP acknowledges there are times to use soap. Is anyone claiming more?
    – Oddthinking
    Apr 23 '15 at 17:12

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