Have you seen that ridiculous Dettol advert?  OK, I probably need to narrow it down a bit – I realise all Dettol ads are fairly ridiculous, designed as they are to tap in to our deep-seated paranoia about germs [pause for panic, gasps, screams etc].  The one I’m talking about is for the new “Dettol No Touch”.  If they gave out awards for the most over-engineered product ever, I’d back this one for the top spot.

The idea, if you’ve not seen the ad, is that you just wave your hands near the hand wash dispenser, and it automatically dispenses “just the right amount of soap“.  Now I have several issues with this concept (over and above my usual reaction to Dettol ads, which is along the lines of “er…healthy human beings are designed to fight off germs”) .  The first is pretty minor – how can it dispense “just the right amount of soap” because how does it know exactly how dirty your hands are?  And then there’s a quibble with the concept (i.e. it’s designed so you don’t have to touch the “germy soap pump”, but why does that matter because even if the soap pump is “germy”, you’re just about to wash your hands….so…er…problem solved!).  Of greater concern is the complicated nature of the packaging – surely a landfill concern.  But the thing which really left me speechless with disgust was that the bloody thing requires BATTERIES!!! 

This product has got to symbolise practically all that is wrong with society today. The purchase price (apparently rrp £9.99) of said Dettol product for one paranoid middle-class family frightened of dirt, could probably pay for water purification for a starving family in Africa.  The packing, and the thing itself, is made of plastic – most of which I’m willing to bet will end up in landfill.   And there is already a perfectly good solution to the problem of dirty hands – a solution that we’ve been using quite successfully for centuries (first evidence dates back to around 2800 BC).  It comes in the form of a bar, with minimal packaging.  It’s cheap and lasts for ages.  And you can get lots of different types so you don’t have to smell like your nan. 

Yes, I’m talking about good old honest soap.  Let’s bring back into fashion the humble bar of soap.  Let’s stop spending more money than we need to on something that will only last a fraction of the time, and will create many more times the waste.  And if I can’t convince you on any other point, just remember, a bar of soap does not require batteries!  😉