Antibacterial Hand Soap: Very Cute But Not Particularly Effective

This week is a sad, sad week for Germ-X lovers all over the world. The FDA recently demanded research on the safety and effectiveness of triclosan, the key chemical ingredient in antibacterial soaps. They wanted to make sure that the labels touting antibacterial soap’s ability to kill germs faster and more effectively than regular soap could be backed up by legitimate evidence and wouldn’t be misleading to consumers. After months of research, they finally released the findings.

Believe it or not, antibacterial soaps aren’t any more effective than regular soap.

Obviously some testing was done to come to these results. Here’s what they did:

Step 1: Put 20 dangerous bacteria strains in Petri dishes with antibacterial soap and regular soap to test the germ-killing abilities.

Step 2: Heat samples from 72 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 seconds to simulate exposure to warm handwashing water.

Step 3: Spread said bacteria onto the hands of 16 adults.

Step 4: Make adults wash their hands for 30 seconds using either antibacterial or regular soap, then have their hands tested to see how much bacteria remained.

The findings showed that there was no significant difference between results from the two soaps. After additional research they determined that it was only after 9 hours of constant soaking exposure that antibacterial soap performed significantly better than regular soap. So unless people are soaking their hands for 9 hours at a time, they shouldn’t see a difference either way in which product they use.

The moral of the story? All soaps are created equal.

If you’re an antibacterial hand soap kind of girl, keep using it! If you’re a die-hard natural soap guy, kudos to you! All this study really did was affirm the idea that when it comes to some things, it’s better to just go with what you love.