Regular Soaps or Antibacterials
We often wonder about the reasons for our usual reliance on soaps for cleaning, especially with many mentions of its importance during the spread of the Covid19 pandemic. The question remains one: Which of the soaps are the best and most effective to protect and maintain health? Is regular soap sufficient to carry out the task? Or are antibacterial soaps and antiseptics better for it?
What is soap?
Soap usually and traditionally consists of a mixture of animal or vegetable fats with water and salts or basic alkaline substances for the mixing process. Therefore, we note that what we mean by “soap” is the ones consisting of traditional basic materials, excluding commercial soaps that contain petroleum derivatives and others that have negative effects on health.
How does soap protect us?
Contrary to popular beliefs, soap does not kill germs, especially on our hands, but it rather removes them.
Germs and bacteria are found almost everywhere; In air, soil, water and all surfaces including the human body. Many of these germs are harmless, and some are even beneficial and necessary for health. But many of them can also cause many health problems, and it is best to get rid of them to maintain our health.
As it is known, soap is the first line of defense against these harmful germs. Germs attach to the oils that the soap contains, and they mix with water fading away from the surface of the body. Water alone cannot handle the task of removing germs because water and oil are mutually exclusive substances. Here comes the importance of soap, as it consists of one side that is linked to oil, and another that is linked to water. When germs stick to the oil and fats that make up soap, the water, in turn, removes the mixture of germs and fats and gets rid of them successfully.
Is medicated antibacterial soap better?
Antibacterial soaps contain ingredients such as triclosan and triclocarban, which are hydrophobic compounds that can penetrate bacterial cell membranes and kill germs. Despite this giving the impression of being healthier, in fact, studies have shown that antibacterial soaps are no more effective at removing bacteria than regular soaps. In 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a decision banning the marketing of antibacterial soaps to the general public. This is due to people’s tendency to rely on antibacterial soap, thinking that it is more effective, without any proven evidence for that. Indeed, many studies have actually shown negative effects when using it.
Can hand sanitizers replace soap?
The use of hand sanitizers has exploded in popularity over the past few years, especially with the spread of the Corona pandemic. The CDC recommends using soap and water for high effectiveness, but if washing with soap and water is not an option, then hand sanitizers can be used in that case. Hand sanitizers with an alcohol content of between 60%-95% will get rid of germs much more effectively than non or low-alcohol hand sanitizers.
It is worth noting that antiseptics help eliminate some germs and viruses, but not all, by dismantling and killing them. Also, antiseptics are not useful in removing chemicals or in cleaning hands if they are very dirty. Thus, sanitizers cannot replace soap except in a few and temporary cases when the use of soap and water is not available.
Ultimately, soap is the most effective way to get rid of germs, and should generally be relied upon in place of hand sanitizers when available. And between regular and antibacterial soap, it is preferable to rely on regular (non-commercial) soap, as it is capable of performing the task of getting rid of germs, and because there is insufficient evidence proving a higher efficiency to favor antibacterial soap, which can cause health damage if used excessively. You can learn how to choose the right soap for you, and see aleplauer’s rich and wonderful list of the finest natural and handmade soaps, and more.