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Chapter 9: Antibacterial Soap

Posted by Cristy Chuparkoff on April 21, 2019 at 3:30 PM

Is antibacterial soap more effective than regular soap at killing germs? 

The FDA responded to this question in 2013 after their research concluded that consumers were paying a premium for "antibacterial" products without getting any added benefit. Washing hands with "antibacterial" soap is no more effective than regular soap at killing germs. Additionally, potential risks have been associated with long-term use of "antibacterial" products, including the antibiotic resistance and possible hormone disruption. 

I did find one potential benefit from a 1997 study that showed one "antibacterial" agent, triclosan, did have some benefits in the prevention of gingivitis. There may be other benefits I am not aware of. We have antibacterial soap at INHE so I wonder if they are aware of any. I have sent an email to get Antonio's thoughts on this question. 

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Reply Institute of Natural Health and Education
5:09 PM on August 5, 2019 
It is possible that some antibacterial hand soups are not very effective when compared to nonantibacterial users. However, INHE purchases hand soups at a commercial location for the sole use as a business. On the other hand, INHE encourage the practice of hand-washing primarily during clinical practice along with the use of hand sanitizer when necessary, which can be found in the treatment rooms and common areas. At present, alcohol-based handrubs are the only known means for rapidly and effectively inactivating a wide array of potentially harmful microorganisms on hands, which is recommended by the WHO because of its optimal compliance with hand hygiene, being readily available, either through dispensers close to the point of care or in small bottles for on-person carriage. Therefore, regardless of the soap used, students should always wash their hands as prescribed along with the reinforcement of alcohol-based hand sanitizer.