The Quick Facts: Experts recommend singing the “ABCs” song for effective hand-washing (20 seconds of vigorous washing with warm water). However, are we making the wrong choice to wash with? Antibacterial soaps have been found to be no more effective than using regular soap and do more harm than good to both human health and the environment.
More than ever, people are washing their hands with antibacterial soap, which experts say is harmful to our health and to the environment. More than three-quarters of soaps contain an “antibacterial” or “antimicrobial” ingredient. These ingredients are also found in cleaning products, laundry detergents, trash bags, and sponges, as well as toothpaste, socks, plastic kitchenware, cutting boards, and even toys. From 2000 to 2006, about 1,500 new antibacterial consumer products were introduced into the marketplace. However, antibacterial soaps have been found to be no more effective than using regular soap and do more harm than good.