antibacterial soap

The Debate Continues: Antibacterial vs. Regular Soap

antibacterial soapWith the latest superbug scare sweeping the nation, the Centers for Disease Control is pushing for more stringent hand washing policies, especially in healthcare settings.

“The hands of healthcare workers are the way this spreads,” Dr. Tara Palmore, deputy hospital epidemiologist at the National Institutes of Health, said in a recent statement.

And from previous studies, it’s clear that Americans don’t care about hand washing as much as they should. While this is especially hazardous in healthcare settings, it’s also become a problem for regular old consumers.

Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap Sales on the Rise

According to research firm Mintel, the U.S. market for shower, bath and hand soap (not including hand sanitizers, face wash and industrial cleansers) is expected to surpass $4.6 billion in sales this year, up 9 percent 2008.

With so many options available, it can be hard for anyone to determine which soaps are the safest and most effective. And a lot of controversy still surrounds the antibacterial debate (and the possible hazards associated with triclosan).

Many proponents feel there isn’t enough evidence to support antibacterial products, while the American Cleaning Institute, on the other hand, maintains that antibacterial hand soaps eliminate germs better than cleansers without triclosan — especially in healthcare settings.

“They are part of common-sense hygiene routines in homes, office and healthcare settings every single day. Of all places, there’s probably the greatest need for antibacterial soap in healthcare settings,” says Brian Sansoni, a spokesman for the American Cleaning Institute.

Despite ongoing controversy, antibacterial liquid hand soap sales are up by more than 25 percent since 2008.

The CDC’s Recommendations

The CDC is currently conducting research on antibacterial chemicals such as triclosan. And as of right now, they do not recommend antimicrobacterial soap over any other kind of soap because there’s no actual proof it’s more effective.

What they do recommend however, is to purchase liquid hand soap instead of soap bars because there is less exposure to bacteria. To get the most out of your hand washing routine, the CDC also recommends washing your hands with warm water for 15 seconds or longer.

Image Credit: Flickr