Sebesta Apothecary One Million Hand Washes Zero Waste Covid Response

1 Million Hand Washes: Our response to COVID-19

It really is amazing how quickly things can change. It seems like the last few weeks have simultaneously gone by in a blink, and been the longest month in history. 

In early March when we saw that things with this pandemic were starting to get real, we stepped up to be part of the solution. We began providing free soaps to those in the community who were unable to afford it during this critical time. We have been calling these soaps Community Bars. We started out by making about 50 lbs of Community Bars, but quickly realized that the need was much greater than we could tackle on our own. We reached out to those who have supported us over the years and asked for sponsors so that we could continue to help. 

The response was AWE-INSPIRING, since March, we have received over $1K in sponsorships that have gone directly to materials and overhead. Because of this, we’ve been able to donate 433 lbs of soap which is 1,386 bars, or over 623,500 hand washes! 

We began working with just a handful of community organizations that helped us to take the bulk soaps and distribute them directly to those in need. We have heard the powerful stories from them of school kids receiving soaps with their weekly learning kits, shelters for people who are facing homelessness can continue providing facilities for showers and nursing homes having access to soaps that will not dry out the sensitive skin of the residents. These soaps are also being added to care packages being created for nurses and doctors on the front lines. We are truly honored to be part of this community support network.

We will continue providing Community Bars to help in the fight against COVID-19, but we are well aware that although the pandemic will come to an end, there will always be a neighbor in need. 

High quality, eco-friendly soap should not be a luxury. We want to ensure the community organizations we have been working with that we are in this for the long run. That is why, what started as a response to the crisis will be continuing for the long run. We’re announcing the launch of One Million Hand Washes, a program to make sure our community has access to high quality soaps in their time of need. 

Over the next few months as the pandemic settles, we will be adjusting the program to reflect the changing needs of the community, more information to come. But until then, we will continue with the long hours in the lab and doing all we can to help prevent the spread. 

Wash your hands - we are here to help!


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Hi Laurie (Erickson)
Thank you for the kind words! It is so rewarding to be part of such a strong community right now and we’re excited to be able to help!

Kim Sebesta

Hi Laurie (Mays)!
You can become a sponsor by clicking the banner along the top of the page and selecting your sponsorship level. You can process it as an order on its own or add it to a shopping cart full of goodies- it’s always good to treat yourself! :)

Kim Sebesta

Hi Maria,

Great to hear from you and wonderful question! The science behind soap is actually one of the reasons I got into this business!!

I’ll start by saying that especially right now, do what feels right to you! If you feel more comfortable with an antibacterial soap, by all means use it! There is enough anxiety with daily life that you shouldn’t make changes just to make changes. That said, there are some recent studies that suggest avoiding the antibacterial soaps since the added chemicals (needed to make them antibacterial) can be too harsh for long term use on your skin and there is some concern that it can lead to some viruses becoming antibiotic-resistant.

A plain old bar of soap works a little bit different, but in many cases if more effective – so I’d say feel free to break out the ‘good stuff’ and enjoy washing, it will likely be less drying on your hands too!

Here is the (quick version) of why:

A soap molecule has two sides or poles, one that loves water and one that hates it. When you use soap and water to wash your hands the friction causes the oils, dirt, viruses and bacteria to come loose from the surface of your skin and get mixed in with the bubbles. Now think of that virus, oil or dirt like a magnet, drawing the one side of a soap molecule to it (the side that hates water) and suspending it in the water. The 20 second lather rule is good since it gives you time to ensure you are getting soap to all parts of your hands and nails before rinsing. When you rinse the bubbles down the drain you are rinsing away the germs and dirt along with the bubbles.

This article from the FDA provides additional details about antibacterial soaps:

I’m actually working on another blog post specifically on just this topic so watch for a more in-depth explanation, but I hope this helps put your mind at ease until then!

Kim Sebesta

Hi there. I see you are continuing to make the world a better place. Let me know where to send a donation.

Laurie Mays

WOW! You rose to the occasion-never before with such a need. Very proud of your accomplishments!


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