If you think that using antibacterial soaps for hand-washing is keeping your family safe, think again!
A new study has found that antibacterial soaps may be no more effective than plain soaps at reducing bacterial contamination when hand-washing.
The study examined the effect of triclosan – the most commonly used active antiseptic ingredient used in soap – on bacteria in two ways.
The first was to examine the bactericidal effects of triclosan in soaps against 20 strains of bacteria, and the second compared the ability of antibacterial and non-antibacterial soap to remove bacteria from human hands, by using 16 healthy adult volunteers.
The results of the study indicated that there is no significant difference between the effects of plain soap and antibacterial soap when used under ‘real life’ conditions.
The scientists recreated the conditions of human hand washing by exposing the bacteria for 20 seconds at 22 degrees Celsius (room temperature) and 40 degrees Celsius (warm temperature) to triclosan with a concentration of 0.3 per cent.
There were significantly great effects after more than nine hours, but not during the short time required for hand washing.
“Advertisement and consumer belief regarding the effectiveness of antibacterial soaps need to be addressed,” said lead author Min-Suk Rhee, from the College of Life Sciences and Biotechnology at the Korea University, South Korea.
The study was published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.