Antibacterial Soap May Be Doing More Harm Than Good

Excited for the August 21 eclipse? Visit our Eclipse 2017 page to explore the science, history, and myths of the event. The Curiosity team will be viewing the eclipse alongside NASA in Carbondale, Illinois. Follow us on Facebook for live videos, trivia, and interviews on the big day.

Many soaps you'll find at the store are proud to show off "antibacterial" on their labels. And that's a good thing, right? Perhaps not. Research has found that antibacterial soap is no more effective in killing bacteria during hand-washing than "regular" soap. The triclosan in antibacterial soaps and other products may also be harming the environment by seeping into waterways and interfering with algae photosynthesis.

On September 2, 2016, the FDA ruled to ban 19 chemicals used in antibacterial soaps. The organization decided that not only do consumers not need these ingredients, but that they may be dangerous. However, according to the FDA's news release, "This rule does not affect consumer hand 'sanitizers' or wipes, or antibacterial products used in health care settings." Watch the videos below to learn what the chemicals in antibacterial soaps do.

Is Antibacterial Soap Bad For You?

Think before you wash.

How Much Good Is Antibacterial Soap Doing For You?

According to the FDA, not much.

The Dangers Of Most Antibacterial Soaps

Did you know the danger of triclosan?

Share the knowledge!

Key Facts In This Video

  1. About 75% of liquid antibacterial soaps contain the germ-killing chemical triclosan. 00:10

  2. One study found that antibacterial soap might be less effective than regular soap and water. 00:32

  3. The active ingredient in many antibacterial soaps, triclosan, may be detrimental to the environment. 01:18

If you liked this you'll love our podcast! Check it out on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, search 'curiosity' on your favorite podcast app or add the RSS Feed URL.