Why Should I Avoid Antibacterial Soaps?

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When you were a child, you were probably told to wash your hands very well, and if you have children yourself, you probably tell them to do the same.  These days, washing with antibacterial soap has become so ubiquitous that most people never even question it, but there are plenty of good reasons just to stick to old-fashioned soap and water!

If you are in charge of the soap buying needs in your household, you may want to reconsider the next time that you go to pick up some antibacterial soap.  Check out some of the reasons below and you’ll soon be thinking twice.

1. It’s not as effective as you might think.
One reason that lots of people use antibacterial soap is because they believe it keeps them healthier.   While it is true that antibacterial soap does kill off bacteria, the majority of the diseases that we routinely pick up are from viral infections, which are not hampered by antibacterial soap at all.

2. It creates stronger bacteria
There is some indication that the growing use of antibacterial soap is leading to bacteria that is significantly stronger and that is even resistant to standard antibiotics.  When your body is constantly exposed to antibacterial elements, it can increase your resistance to the use of antibacterial medication.   If you are in a situation where you are taking antibiotics to reduce a serious infection, you may find that the use of antibacterial soap has made you more resistant to the positive effects.

3. Pollution
When the antibacterial soap that you use is washed down the drain, it very easily makes its way into the waste water and then into our environment.  Two of the chemicals that are used in antibacterial soap, namely triclosan and triclocarban, are being discovered in increasing quantities in waste water, in fish and even in breast milk.  Recent studies point to the fact that though the amounts that show up in our food is small, it is still enough to disrupt thyroid function in frogs.

4. Some are flammable
More and more workplaces are seeing the introduction of waterless hand sanitizers.  One of the main ingredients that are used in waterless hand sanitizers is alcohol, making it flammable.  Small children should always be watched carefully when they use products like this.

When you are in a place when you are thinking about washing up, make sure that you think about what you are washing your hands with and what you can do to make sure that you are making the right choice.

Photo by: Vladimir Voronin –
Fotolia

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Comments

  1. Not to mention that raising kids in ‘antibacterial’ sanitized environments where they never get the chance to develop strong immune systems is a really stupid idea considering we live in a world where our scariest diseases are immune suppressive!

    I was in a large family and bottles were gradually sterilized less as we grew older. By the time we hit preschool we had the capacity to cope, and got very few of the diseases all the other kids were passing around like wildfire.

    You don’t develop strong muscles by massaging them. They’re developed by being pushed and tested. Same deal with your health – the more you cosset yourself, the more likely you’ll end up sick.

  2. WISFAMILY says:

    Hmm On this one I have to disagree. Normal Use of Antibacterial soap is a good thing for most because it Can cut down on certain infections especially in children.
    I feel its on of those does more good than harm things right now under ” Normal ” Use. I do think you are better off if possible to WASH your hands with soap rather than use a hand sanitizer if possible but the Hand sanitizers come in very handy when you are not able to wash hands with reg soap and water for some reason. We keep it in our car but not in our home. We use soap at home only not Sanitizers.
    Thnx for posting it.!

  3. Laurie Gebert says:

    Thank you for printing this. I have been trying to convince my parents who are elderly, diabetic and have a hard time healing from infections this very thing. Now, with your permission, I can print out this article to show them. Things to them are more believable in print than by word of mouth. I make my own soap, and they like it, put it on their bathroom sink, but in the kitchen and in the shower, they keep antibacterial soap. Now maybe they will trust my word and make some changes.

  4. Ben Hodges says:

    Most of the bacterial food related outbreaks are caused NOT by the hands but by the surfaces, utensils, etc used in the kitchen. Sponges, dish clothes and towels are the harbors and safe houses for bacteria. Try a Michael’s Original washing up pad which air dries in minutes therefore no bacterial growth…

  5. Couldn’t agree more with you. We are undoubtedly affecting the environment and not in a positive way. All those harmful chemicals on all those soaps end up in our environment creating a disaster to the ecosystem. Many don’t know how powerful the chemicals contained in those antibacterial soaps are, so powerful that used in the wrong proportions can kill and you are letting your kids take baths with them.

    Although I agree in CERTAIN circumstances is ok to use antibacterial soap or those waterless antibacterial cleansers, I have to say it is even better to use a good organic soap for your entire family and change the way they bathe, shower and wash their hands. Your kids would be healthier as their immune system strengthens, would have less skin irritation problems and will be happier.

    What you do today affects our kids tomorrows.

  6. hobbster_hic says:

    Thanks for the info. Just discovered this site yesterday and i love how the articles are friendly, easy-to-read and not lengthy. They make for good reads during quick work breaks. 😀 And of course very very helpful with tips that anyone can do. Thanks!!

  7. gerard says:

    You are absolutely right, this is a great post.
    So many people thinking they do good and finally doing wrong.
    Please keep spreading this kind of information around.
    If you are into alternative energies, wind and solar power, please have a look at my blog.
    Congratulations

  8. Wendy Priesnitz says:

    In 2006, we reported in Natural Life Magazine that, since 2000, the American Medical Association (AMA) has been advising the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to closely monitor and possibly regulate the home use of antimicrobials. At the AMA annual meeting in 2000, Myron Genel, chair of the AMA Council on Scientific Affairs and a Yale University pediatrician, said, “There’s no evidence that they do any good and there’s reason to suspect that they could contribute to a problem.”

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