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Antibacterial Soap Is No Better Than Plain Soap

A new Korean study suggests that antibacterial soap used to wash hands is not superior to plain soap. The findings are published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

washing hans

The researchers aimed at finding out the bactericidal effects of triclosan which is a common antiseptic used as ingredient for soap manufacture.

The compound was first tested against 20 strains of bacteria. In a second part of the experiments, the abilities of antibacterial and non-antibacterial soaps to get rid of bacteria on human hands were compared.

The researchers ultimately found no significant difference between the two types of soap, not in “real-life conditions”.

The conditions of human hand washing were reproduced by exposing the microorganisms for 22 seconds at 22°C (room temperature) and 40°C (warm temperature) to the ingredient (triclosan at 0.3 % concentration). It is to be noted, though, that while the effects were negligible during the short time that is taken for washing the hands, they were significantly great after more than 9 hours.

Commenting on their findings, the author, Dr Min-Suk Rhee, said: “advertisement and consumer belief regarding the effectiveness of antibacterial soaps needs to be addressed.”


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