Anti-bacterial Soaps: Unecessary and Dangerous

Anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners have become quite the rage (read “marketing success”) haven’t they?  And it sounds so good. I mean, who doesn’t want to avoid germs these days?!  I mean, what’s a clean house all about?

But what if I told you that anti-bacterial soaps  have not been proven any more effective than regular soap in preventing infection among average consumers?  Would that make you stop and think?  Okay, so what if I also told you that the substances that make a soap anti-bacterial are actually herbicides, pesticides and fungicides?  Would that make you say, Whao?

Some of these “active ingredients” have been linked to some serious health problems including liver, kidney and digestive damage; behavioral problems in children; damage to the nervous system; and brain development and reproductive defects. Even more, overuse of these products can impair the body’s ability to fight off common infections.

The bacteria fighting agent, triclosan, is of particular concern. Unfortunately it is in all kinds of products from liquid soap to acne creams, toothpaste (!) to deodorant, and a slew of household products besides.  Look for triclosan on the labels of things you buy.  It may also be listed under the brand names of Microban, UltraFresh, Amicor and BioFresh. There’s a slew of information on the web about triclosan, but suffice it to say here, You don’t want it in your body if you can help it.

So, do you ever need to use anti-bacterial cleaners?  According to leading microbiologists, they are needed only when someone in a household is seriously ill or has low immunity.  Otherwise, plain old soap and warm water will do just fine.

What can you use instead?  For house cleaning, try soap and hot water,  hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, alcohol or lavender oil either by itself or suspended in a solution of mineral oil.  For hand soaps, try Trader Joe’s “Next to Godliness.”

Hope this helps.  Love to hear your comments!!

37 thoughts on “Anti-bacterial Soaps: Unecessary and Dangerous

  1. Goodness, thanks for this. I guess putting “anitbacterial” on something might seem like a quick sell from a soap manufacturer’s point of view when actually it’s no different! But in our haste to protect our own and our loved ones’ health we rush to buy. Always good to be informed!

  2. Most people don’t realize just how dangerous anti-bacterial soaps really are. At the rate we’re going with these cleaning products, it’s only a matter of time before the Superbug is created. These are definitely great alternative products!

  3. Thank you for this kind of information i think it will help my cleaning company so much and i look forwarded it reading for about this and other information you have to offer.

  4. Great article! It takes a pro to cut through the hype and speak the truth. The tried and true methods from before the days of “new and improved” are the best of all AND the least expensive! Thanks for setting us straight! Keep up the good work!

  5. Thanks for the information. Besides having the hazardous chemicals included in these soaps, there may also be a biological threat. While antibacterial soap kills bacteria there’s the possibly that stronger resistant strains will survive and spread. So you may actually be helping the bacterial in your home become stronger and resistant to the soap. I agree that plain old soap and warm water will do the trick.

    1. You are right. I wish more was being written about this especially to mothers of young children who seem to be the worst offenders. I hope whoever reads this post will help get the word out.

  6. Wow, I am a big fan of natural skincare and had no idea that other products you put on/in your body such as soap and toothpaste could be so harmful! I think 100% natural is definitely the way to go!

  7. All soap is anti bacterial by nature, obviously some are better than others, but it’s funny how people get caught up with advertising. Great blog and great article. We are a cleaning company in Brisbane, Australia, We have products that we make ourselves, Like you said vinegar and lavender oil and water. Great mix and creates a great smelling deodorizer, multipurpose spray, disinfectant and so much more.

  8. Thank you for the information I work with various chemicals but choose those that are pleasing to the environment, I congratulate you for your advice I have opened my eyes I did not know much about that, I congratulate you again and move on

  9. If anyone if looking for some of the best cleaning products out there – that are also antimicrobial and user-friendly – A MUST – Unelko Corporation.

    They are the leading manufacturers of the clean industry. Once I tried their products, I have never found anything comparable to them! They offer a variety of products.

    A specialty of their is the Eliminate Shower Tub and Tile – it removes scale so easily and other products they manufacture prevent mold and mildew. Talk about hard water spots you can rinse them away after using Miracle Scrub. Try them!!!

  10. You really are “spot on” with his post. Anti-bacterial soaps use very harsh chemicals, and are no more effective than soap and water. A safer and effective anti-bacterial cleaner is hydrogen peroxide, a water-like liquid that is a safer cleaning and antiseptic alternative than other anti-bacterial cleaners, especially chlorine bleach. It is made up of two hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms. Diluted to a 3% solution in water, it looks like water, but that
    extra oxygen molecule makes this hydrogen peroxide a very good cleaner for households. It is available in pharmacies everywhere.

  11. I was told by a science teacher that what makes your hands clean is the physical action of rubbing them together, the soap does not do anything, but hot water can help. Its the mechanical/physical motion that cleans away bacteria, germs, etc off the skin. Also that if you keep your skin moisturized with lotion it is less susceptible for germs/bacteria to soak into the skin membranes. So to keep you skin clean and germ free, keep them moisturized and wash your hands for 45 seconds using physical motion rather than soap.

  12. I just read this blog about bacterial soap & their effect. My whole family member using anti bacterial soap for cleaning hands, this soap is effective & protects us from viruses.

    1. Lots of people feel just as you do, however vigorously rubbing your hands together with soap and water for about 15 seconds will accomplish the same thing without any side effects.

    1. Thank you so much for your comments. They lend authenticity to what we wrote. Most people refuse to see the danger of anti-bacterial cleaners–especially women with small children which are the most at risk.

  13. I would just to add that ant-bacterial soap can become bacteria ridden over time. So soap gets old and it’s no good. A lot of commercial facilities buy soaps that are dispensed in bags, which last longer. Great topic and learned a lot!

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