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Monday, November 12, 2007
Are antibacterial soaps worth the extra price?
A lot of companies have been hyping the use of antibacterial soap. I like, many people, assumed that antibacterial soap are more effective in killing germs and therefore, worth the extra price over the regular soap. But over the past few weeks, have been reading quite a lot about the fact that antibacterial soap may not be better than regular soap; infact, it may even make the bacteria more resistant.

The HowStuffWorks article delves into that very topic.

Studies suggest that the widespread use of antimicrobial chemicals may be causing these products to lose their effectiveness.
And adding antimicrobial chemicals to soap may be particularly ineffective.

As per the article, preliminary research shows that the regular soap does as good a job, if not better, as the antibacterial soap in getting rid of the germs.

What the researchers found is that there was no significant difference in the amount of bacteria killed by the use of antibacterial soap over regular soap. They also found that there was no significant increase in the presence of resistant bacteria in the homes that used antibacterial products.

These findings were surprising. First, the study says that antibacterial soap is no better at killing germs than regular soap. It also says that the bacteria didn't mutate into super bacteria in the homes that used antibacterial soap.

According to the article, apart from regular soap, other effective means of getting rid of bacteria include lemon juice, bleach and alcohol.

Sometimes plain old soap and other tried-and-true cleaning agents can work just as well as today's antibacterial products. Good, old-fashioned soap may not say "antibacterial" on its label, but it still kills germs. Sometimes it does a better job than antibacterial soap.

In addition, soap isn't the only thing that kills bacteria -- there are many naturally occurring antibacterial agents. Lemon juice, for example, changes the pH level in bacterial cells, creating an acidic environment in which microbes can't survive. Other naturally antibacterial substances dry cells out, killing the bacteria (bacteria most commonly thrive in moist environments). Still others, like bleach and alcohol completely obliterate the cells of the bacteria. Unlike the targeted attack of antimicrobial agents, bleach and alcohol simply cause the cells to lyse, or rupture.

For complete article, see:

HowStuffWorks: Should antibacterial soap be outlawed?

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posted by Ruby @ 8:31 AM  
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