Does Antibacterial Soap Kill Germs?

Monday, 06 Jan 2014 04:04 AM

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Are you using hand sanitizers and antibacterial soap? It is a common claim that antibacterial and antimicrobial soaps kill germs due to their antiseptic nature. Have you ever investigated how true this is? Are they really good antiseptics?

Antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers are similar to normal soaps in composition. In addition to the regular ingredients, they contain certain chemicals such as triclosan. Many research studies are being conducted every day to analyze the effectiveness of such chemicals in antimicrobials to kill germs.

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Hand sanitizers, antimicrobial and antibacterial soaps contain certain chemicals in addition to regular contents present in other soaps. When mixed with water and applied on skin, they are capable of killing germs, bacteria, and other microbes. Hence, they are very popular and are often followed by wiping hands with dry paper towels to ensure that germs present on the surface of taps do not get back to the hands.

Many research studies are being conducted, and recent studies state that triclosan in hand sanitizers and antibacterial and antimicrobial soaps may not be as effective a germ killer due to several reasons. Many bacteria have gained resistance to the compounds included in hand sanitizers such that they are no longer effective as good antiseptics. The discussion that antibacterial and antimicrobial soaps may be no more effective than regular soaps is now raging. The FDA ruled on December 16, 2013 that manufacturers of hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps need to provide detailed reports of the effectiveness of the compounds used in them in order for them to be considered different from ordinary soaps and more effective in killing germs.

Controversy has become associated with triclosan used in antibacterial and antimicrobial soaps. Triclosan reacts quickly with water and forms chloroform. Chloroform can affect the immune system and also cause certain disorders that could affect the liver and kidney. A recent study published by Johns Hopkins University has noted that 75 percent of the triclosan accumulated in drainage is not removed by sewage treatment and, upon reaction with sunlight, forms dioxins that can enter the human body and disrupt the endocrine system.

Instead of triclosan, hand sanitizers are also made with ethyl alcohol. This is a safer option to use and also has germ-killing properties. On a routine basis, washing hands with regular soaps could be effective in killing germs if you use the soap for about 15 seconds before rinsing. Another alternative would be to opt for ready-to-use hand sanitizers that need not be used with water and can be used quickly, wherever you are.
 
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