When it comes to ridding your hands of bacteria, plain old soap is just as good as many ‘antibacterial’ soaps, says a new research.
A team of Korean researchers revealed that when bacteria are exposed to the standard over-the-counter antibacterial ingredient known as triclosan for hours at a time, the antiseptic formulation is a more potent killer than plain soap. However, in a real-world scenario, where people wash their hands within a few seconds, there was no evidence to suggest the antibacterial soap was any more effective than plain soap.
When bacteria were continuously exposed to triclosan for very long periods of time — nine hours or more — the antiseptic demonstrated significantly stronger antibacterial properties, the researchers said. However, lab exposure to just 10, 20 or 30 seconds of triclosan soap translated into no more antibacterial benefit than similar exposures to plain soap, the study revealed.
The antiseptic effect of triclosan, which is the anti-bacterial component in most liquid soap and triclocarban found in bar-soap formulation, depend on its exposure concentration and time. But most people who wash their hands with antibacterial soap do so for less than 30 seconds, using formulations containing less than 0.3 percent triclosan, the maximum allowed by law. This combination is apparently not any different than washing hands using plain soap.