New Studies Show that Antibacterial Soap is Not More Effective at Killing Germs
It is true to say that you can never miss an antibacterial soap in any household you visit. Many customers of antibacterial soaps are told that the soaps they buy can kill almost a hundred percent of bacteria and that their hands or body will be totally free from bacteria. Unfortunately, this is just a sale strategy for businesses, and actually, people believe. Studies from Antimicrobial Chemotherapy have shown no difference between the effectiveness of antibacterial soaps and handmade soap.
As a result of excessive use of triclosan, a well-known antimicrobial ingredient used in soaps, microorganisms have developed antimicrobial resistance against this compound. Thus, many soaps that use it are ineffective in killing bacteria found in the hands or body. When bacteria are exposed to selective pressure such as the one from excessive triclosan usage in the soaps, they form resistance rendering any other antimicrobial soap with this compound ineffective.
Germs can be found on all surfaces; thus, one can use good old-fashioned soap such as oatmeal and almond soap to make surface disinfectants. Some homemade natural soap recipes are readily available on handmade soap websites. And you can make them any time at the comfort of your home.
The good thing about handmade soup is that you can customize the scent and the ingredients that you want. Homemade soap materials such as almonds and oatmeal are readily available in nearby stores.
These days, antibacterial soaps are a staple in just about every household. Many antibacterial brands rope in customers with promises such as: “Kills 99.9% of all germs,” which makes people think their hands will be virtually germ-free.
But a new study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy is refuting those claims with evidence that antibacterial soaps are no better at killing germs than regular soaps.
Tech Times reports that researchers from Korea University tested the effectiveness of triclosan, a common ingredient found in many antibacterial soaps.
Triclosan is a proven bactericide and has also been linked to causing infections, hormonal issues, and increased resistance to antibiotics. Currently, triclosan is under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration.
The Korea University researchers then set out to compare antibacterial soaps containing triclosan to non-antibacterial soaps. They used a solution that contained 0.3% triclosan, the current legally allowed concentration, and regular soap to test 20 different strains of bacteria.
After the first test, researchers found 16 volunteers to participate in another trial. They instructed the volunteers not to wash their hands with antibacterial soap a week before the test started. They then assigned each participant to either wash their hands with regular or antibacterial soap and warm water.
The results showed that while the triclosan soap heightened anti-bacterial activity after nine hours, there was no significant difference between the two groups.
”These results suggest that although triclosan-containing soap does have antibacterial activity, the effects are not apparent during the short time required for handwashing,” says Dr. Min-Suk Rhee from the Department of Food Bioscience and Technology. “Antibacterial soap containing triclosan was no more effective than plain soap at reducing bacterial contamination.”
Dr. Min hopes that their study will make consumers more aware of the actual effects of antibacterial soap use. The researchers believe that the government and other organizations should use their findings to regulate the use of triclosan and other germ-fighting agents.
Germs can be found in all places and can attach themselves to practically every surface. For example, the average office phone has 25,127 germs per square inch, and other office and household objects can become similarly dirty.
In addition to using good old-fashioned soap and water, as the study indicates is effective, disinfectant wipes and sprays can also be used to wipe down kitchen and bathroom counters, desks, computers, and other surfaces to reduce germs.