Antibacterial or Plain Soap – Which Works Better?

Washing handsAs the weather cools down and we get ever closer to cold and flu season we need to do all we can to protect ourselves. When it comes to soap, are you using the most effective type?

Fortunately we are now one step closer to knowing the answer.

Korean researchers recently conducted lab tests and found that when bacteria are exposed to the common antibacterial ingredient triclosan for hours, this is a more potent way to kill bacteria than traditional plain soap.

You may have noticed something a bit troubling about that statement however…notice it says hours? No one washes their hands for more than a few seconds so what does that mean for it’s efficacy?

When testing everyday type hand washing, researchers discovered that there really isn’t much of a difference between regular soap and antibiotic – surprising, right? The average person washes their hands for less than 30 seconds and while these soap companies are making large claims about their product’s effectiveness, the FDA is now proposing a new rule to begin in 2016 that will force them to back up those claims.

The FDA will require soap manufacturers to provide more substantial safety and effectiveness research that will back up all claims made by these companies. If they cannot, then labeling will need to be changed so that claims are not misleading. There have also been other concerns raised regarding the safety of triclosan, even though the FDA is currently stating there is no concrete proof. The FDA has, however, cautioned that animal studies have shown potential concerns for how the chemical interferes with hormone regulation and if it may play a part in antibiotic resistance.

It’s safe to assume that once additional research is forced upon manufacturers, we will learn more about the safety and effectiveness of triclosan.