Are you still using antibacterial soap? If so, you may want to stop. The FDA states that regular hand soap is just as effective as antibacterial soaps at removing harmful bacteria from the hands.5
Marketing companies make it seem like we need to kill every single bacteria in our homes and on our bodies, resulting in consumer fear. But bacteria are everywhere and you will never kill them all. You wouldn’t even be alive with out bacteria living in your body. In fact, you may be shocked to hear that you have more bacteria living in your body than the number of your own cells.
Let’s think about this for a second. Have you ever wondered why everything that says antibacterial also says “kills 99.9% of bacteria”? Why not 100%? It is very difficult to kill 100% of bacteria, because they are very resilient and adaptive. So 0.1% of bacteria survive which doesn’t seem like a big deal right? That’s where people go wrong. That 0.1% has now been exposed to that chemical or antibiotic and either already has an immunity to it or may develop an immunity. Now those bacteria that have developed a resistance will replicate and will be the ones living on a surface and the antibiotic will be less effective or even eventually ineffective.
Who cares right? Well consider this. Every time a bacteria becomes resistant to an antibiotic it becomes more dangerous to us and less and less antibiotics are effective to kill it. This is where antibacterial soaps come in. They aren’t any more effective than regular soap and there are only risks involved in using them.
On top of the bacteria factor, the main ingredient in most antibacterial soaps, triclosan, is being evaluated for it’s safety by the FDA.1 Also, going into effect on January 1, 2017, is a Minnesota law banning the use of triclosan in cosmetic products such as soaps.2
While washing your hands with regular soap there are a few things you need to make sure to do to ensure effective removal of harmful bacteria. First, you need to scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Second, make sure you get in all the nooks and crannies, between your fingers and under your fingernails. Finally, the water needs to be as hot as you can stand it. With these steps, hand washing will be the most effective.4
Think these steps are too much? Well the steps are the same for antibacterial soaps too, and if you don’t follow those steps, you never come close to killing the 99.9% of bacteria. So make the switch back to standard soap, follow the steps listed above, and wash your hands regularly to have cleaner hands without the risks.