Olive Oil has 0 (zero) as a cleansing number.

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Aug 27, 2022
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Will it clean all substances as good as a higher number ?
I read on the forum about how the cleansing number has more to do with stripping oils, but Olive Oil has no cleansing, zero. I believe it will still clean your hands, but does it mean that a higher cleansing number would clean better depending on what you are washing off?

For example, if I had vegetable oil all over my hands, would Olive oil be close to useless for that type of cleaning, though it might be good for washing dirt from the garden off your skin?

What about things like raw meat like chicken. Does a higher cleansing number mean you are less likely to cross contaminate though Olive oil can still clean dirt?

Or, is Olive Oil soap more for washing your body?

Which would I use if I want to be super clean for special applications like handling raw meat? Granted, higher cleansing my dry my hands out.

edit: changed title to include "all substances."


Grandmother & Soaper
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Apr 30, 2016
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Western Illinois, USA
The label 'cleansing' is a misnomer IMO. 100% OO soap works just fine to get oily residue off of hands. The question about handling raw meat implies a concern about the ability of soap to remove bacteria.

All soap is a surfactant, and the purpose of surfactants is to alter the surface tension within the items on the surface to remove them. Scientific explanations of how surfactants work & why can be read here:Dispersa | “Breaking Down” Surfactants: What they are, how they work, and their role in the pandemic as well as many other places that address what they are & how they work. But here is a pretty good description of the effectiveness of soap as a surfactant: What Are Surfactants in Soap? Synthetic vs. Natural Surfactants ». If you read the latter, you will notice the emphasis of friction (rubbing the hands together, or using a brush for example as is done in some hospital settings, or rubbing a surface with a cloth) as part of the process to remover bacteria & viruses. This latter fact is something our Infection Control Nurse at the hospital where I spent most of my career emphasized every time she did a staff inservice addressing Infection prevention.

So, no, you do not need a high cleansing number to properly clean your hands after handling raw meats.

I hope that helps.