Preliminary Observations on Soaps Increasing Slipperiness and Bathroom Injuries

Madison J. Anzelc1, Craig G. Burkhart2, 3, *, Curt Black4
1 Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology, University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, Toledo, United States
2 Department of Medicine, University of Toledo, College of Medicine and Life Sciences, Toledo, United States
3 Department of Medicine, Ohio University of Osteopathic Medicine, Athens, United States
4 Distinguished University Professor Emeritus, University of Toledo, College of Pharmacy, Toledo, United States

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Creative Commons License
© 2022 Anzelc et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Medicine, University of Toledo, College of Medicine and Life Sciences, Toledo 43604, United States; E-mail:


Every year, about 235,000 people over the age of 15 suffer from falls in the bathroom and visit the emergency room, with 37.3% being related to bathing or showering. While various approaches exist to minimize these risks, the core etiology of slipping is often overlooked by consumers, producers, and physicians.

The foremost contributor to the cause of slipping in the shower or bath is the use of soaps and bathing products. These products can accumulate on the floor of the shower or tub and consequently alter its surface properties, such as decreasing friction or hindering the body’s natural ability to sense position. Two of the major contributors to this increased slipperiness found in many bath products are oils and surfactants. This brings to light the question of using less dangerous substances in the products, as well as educating the consumer about the inclusion of properties that predispose to slipping. Overall, the consumers’ safety needs to be considered when products are created and marketed.

With such a high incidence of slipping occurrences related to bathing or showering, there is a need for more research in this specific area. The high-risk environment due to soaps, coupled with the lack of research regarding this topic, warrants further evaluation from the product producers. It is imperative that further research is required on the specific chemical properties and their effect on surfaces and how they contribute to consumers’ safety.

Keywords: Bathroom injuries, Soap, Soap oils, Surfactants, Bathing, Showering.