In our everyday lives, we're exposed to millions of germs, including harmful bacteria, which can negatively affect our skin and put us at risk of getting sick. Many consumers think using antibacterial personal care products can reduce the risk of getting infected or passing germs and bacteria onto others.
To be protected against bacteria and potential illnesses, many people seek to buy soap, body wash, or shower gel with antibacterial compounds. But are antibacterial soaps more effective at killing the bad germs than regular soap?
Let's find out what soap is antibacterial and whether it truly offers additional protection against germs.
What Soap Is Antibacterial?
Antibacterial soaps are also sometimes called antimicrobial or antiseptic soaps. They have the same properties as regular soap but contain certain chemicals intended to kill or reduce the growth of bacteria and prevent infection. These ingredients with antibacterial properties that prevent or stop bacterial growth and contamination are not found in plain soap.
How do you tell if a soap is antibacterial? Antibacterial products generally have the word "antibacterial" on the label. A Drug Facts label on a product is another sign that a soap contains antibacterial ingredients.
While antibacterial soaps are marketed as effective by their manufacturers, experts say that the ingredients they contain have not been shown to have any additional benefit at preventing illness than plain soap. In addition, some studies suggest that these chemicals may contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance and disrupt the natural balance of microbial communities on the skin and in the environment.
In 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned companies from using certain active ingredients previously common in consumer antiseptic wash products, including liquid, foam, gel hand soaps, bar soaps, and body washes.
The FDA instituted the ban because the manufacturers had failed to prove that those ingredients were safe for daily use over a long time. Also, the manufacturers haven't shown that these ingredients are more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illnesses and spreading certain infections.
The FDA's final rule covers only consumer antibacterial soaps and body washes. It does not apply to antibacterial soaps used in healthcare settings by healthcare professionals.
FDA also supports the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation to use plain soap and running water to wash hands frequently as a part of daily hygiene. That's one of the most important steps to avoid getting sick and prevent spreading germs.
Still, plain soaps are not created equal. While most commercially manufactured soaps are not actually true soaps because they are made of synthetic detergents and other harsh chemicals, at Botanie Soap, we are committed to natural ingredients. The soaps we offer for private-label use are made from a perfect blend of organic vegetable oils and natural essential oils using a traditional cold-process method. Explore our all-natural liquid and bar soap collections and choose products your customers will love.
Antibacterial Soap Vs. Regular Soap: How Do They Work and Which Is Better?
Comparing antibacterial soap vs. regular soap, we see that they differ in composition. Antibacterial soap contains active chemicals that are added to kill or reduce bacteria on the skin. Still, research revealed that antibacterial and plain soap are equally effective at removing bacteria from the hands and body.
So, if regular soap is not designed to kill bacteria or stop them from replicating, how does it work? Soap molecules are amphipathic—they have both polar and non-polar properties. Their non-polar tails adhere to the dirt on the skin, and polar groups are soluble in water, helping lift the dirt (and bacteria living there) away from the skin. The role of regular soap is to loosen and lift dirt and germs so they can be washed away with water more efficiently.
Antibacterial soap also has this effect and has an extra ingredient intended to further protect the hand-washer from harmful bacteria. However, no scientific evidence has suggested that consumer soaps marketed as antibacterial are better at reducing germs and infection chances than plain soaps.
This means antibacterial ingredients are unnecessary to clean your hands and body and prevent bacterial infection. Additionally, if you regularly wash your hands with antibacterial soap, you expose yourself and the environment to increased amounts of these unnecessary chemicals without any measurable benefit.
Although the all-natural cold-process soap we make at Botanie Soap is not antibacterial, it is highly effective in removing dirt and harmful germs. Our SLS-free soaps are made using only certified organic base oils and are scented with essential oils and plant extracts.
True liquid and bar soaps made from natural ingredients are very popular among environmentally conscious consumers, so selling these personal care products can be profitable. If you need bar or liquid soap in higher volumes or want to launch your own soap line, contact us to tell us about your custom manufacturing project and learn how we can develop the right product for you.
According to the FDA, antibacterial soap is not more effective for killing disease-causing germs and preventing infection than regular soap and water. It's also unknown how active ingredients used to make antibacterial soap will affect human health in the long term.
That's why antibacterial soap is not needed in most homes and may be recommended only in healthcare settings. You should also remember that antibacterial soap must remain on the skin for about 2 minutes to have any effect on bacteria. The plain natural soap is generally safe and effective at removing and reducing bacteria if used properly.