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!!