Why Does Bar Soap Make Your Skin Feel Sticky?

Most people don’t know why bar soaps make your skin feeling sticky even if you rinse them off properly. There may be several reasons behind this sticky feeling after a shower or handwash, and one of them might be the water you’re using.

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The leading cause for your bar soap to make your skin feel sticky is the minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium present in hard water, which produce a thick, white substance that sticks to the skin. Another reason might be the very high pH of bar soaps or the lack of Glycerin in a commercial bar soap.

Most people often complain that they experience a weird sticky feeling even after washing the soap thoroughly. If you are annoyed by the sticky feeling your bath soap leaves behind, you’ve come to the right place.

Why does your Bar Soap Make Your Skin Feel Sticky

High pH:

One of the main reasons behind your sticky skin may be the higher pH of your soap. The high pH in soaps swells the outer layer of the skin called the stratum corneum. This swelling irritates along with a sticking sensation on the skin.

Too much oil in your soap:

Sometimes homemade soaps also leave the skin feeling sticky if you add a higher oil quantity to them. Using coconut oil can also give a sticky skin feeling that gives an unpleasant effect.

Additives and chemicals:

Sometimes this stickiness is caused by the additives and chemicals that are used in the soap. Using an organic soap bar may be a better option because it is free from harsh chemicals. 

The lack of Glycerine:

Another reason behind this excessive drying and dehydrating bar soap action is that commercially produced bar soaps do not contain Glycerin. Homemade soaps contain natural Glycerin as a by-product o soap making process. Glycerin containing soaps do not leach the natural oils from the skin.

The Culprit Might Be Your Water, And You Wouldn’t Even Notice

A strange feeling that something is still present on the skin after taking a shower or washing hands may not have to do anything with your bar soap you are using. The culprit might be your water, and you most likely won’t even notice it for a very long time.

Slimy, sticky, and scaly are what you feel after using hard water. If your water is filled with minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium, it will form a sticky substance with your soap.

This sticky mess consumes most of your soap and leaves you with dry clammy skin. It will also build up across your bathroom and kitchen faucet. This insoluble residue is caused by high mineral counts present in the water.

The sticky residue produced by the reaction of soap and minerals present in the water makes a type of film on your skin that prevents it from breathing, making it susceptible to degeneration. Therefore it is essential to use soft water and clean-rinsing soap for the health of your skin.

How to Fix It

You can get rid of the annoyingly sticky skin feeling when you know the actual cause of it. By trying any of these, you can significantly reduce the sticky feeling after bathing and handwashing.

Using a Low pH Soap:

Most bar soaps range between 9 and 10, which is harsh enough to remove the essential oils from the skin’s surface. Soaps with lower pH are gentler on the skin, and they are easy to rinse off. Soaps with less pH leave minimal residue behind them.

Using Soap with Glycerin or Moisturizer:

Soaps that contain Glycerin or other moisturizers do not over-dry the skin and keep the skin feeling soft and supple. Most of the commercial soaps do not contain Glycerin or moisturizers because they are mostly removed to be used in lotions and creams. Using a homemade soap ensures that there is natural Glycerin present in it that will rehydrate the skin.

Using Natural Soaps:

Soaps that do not contain harsh chemicals are mild on the skin, and they do not leave the skin feeling rough and sticky. Chemicals present in commercial soaps raise their pH and interact with minerals to form the skin’s sticky layer.

Using a Water Softener:

Another way of preventing the sticky feeling on the skin is by installing an electronic de-scaler or a water softener. These devices reduce the hardness of water without using chemicals or salts. They are economical and convenient. They will solve most of your skin and hair issues and save your pipes and appliances.

Adding A Chelator To the Soap:

If your homemade soap is producing scum, it may cause a sticky feeling after bathing or hand wash. This can be solved by adding a chelating agent such as EDTA. Chelating agents bind the mineral salts present in hard water and improve the efficiency of the soap.

Adjusting The Recipe:

If your homemade soap comes out to be sticky, there is a high chance that you are using too much oil. Reducing the number of fats and replacing palm oil with coconut oil also reduces the soaps’ sticky feeling. 

How to Make Soaps that will not make Your Skin Feel Sticky:

If you have covered most of what is said above, you can now focus on making the right type of soap. Making homemade soaps is easy and economical. They are a better alternative to chemical-containing commercial soaps. You can make your lye-free soap by using this great recipe.


Glycerin: 1 pound

Pink Himalayan Salt: 2.5 ounces

Essential oil (of your choice): 20 drops


1. Chop the Glycerin into cubes.

2. Heat the cubes in a stainless steel pot and a double boiler up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. 

3. Stir the mixture until you reach a smooth, thick consistency.

4. Now add the Himalayan salt while stirring to mix it thoroughly.

5. Add the essential oil to this mixture.

6. Pour this batter into a soap mold.

7. Ignore it for 24 hours (make sure it’s at room temperature). 

8. After taking out from the mold, place the bars on wax paper for a few more days.

9. You can take lavender, vanilla, or sandalwood essential oils.

10. Coconut or olive oil is also a good option for more moisturized skin.

If you don’t have time to make your soap, you can also purchase natural soaps from reliable soap makers. 


Most commercially bought soaps produce a sticky material that can make the skin rough, dry, and moist. Hard water can further complicate this problem, as the mineral salts present in the water react with the chemicals to produce an insoluble substance that is difficult to rinse off.

Low pH soaps and cleansers soften the skin and minimize the sticky feeling after bathing and hand washing. Home water softeners are also a better solution to remove the minerals from hard water. Soft water cleanses the skin and does not produce the sticky film on it.

Another option is using natural homemade soaps to make yourself or purchase from any reliable soap manufacturers. 

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