Is Soap The Best Way To Keep Clean?
As the FDA examines fancy chemically laden cleaners, here are arguments for ol' school soap and water.
Think that fancy antibacterial goo is best to kill germs? The Food and Drug Administration is putting antibacterial hand soap and body wash under the microscope.
Under a proposed rule, antibacterial soap manufacturers will have to prove if their products are more effective than good ol' soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of infection, and if it's safe for long-term use.
Antibacterial soaps could pose health risks
Long-term exposure to certain active ingredients used in antibacterial products -- for example, triclosan (liquid soaps) and triclocarban (bar soaps) -- could pose health risks, such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects, the FDA said in a statement. As CNN reports, studies on lab rats have shown a decrease in thyroid hormones with long-term exposure. Mae Wu, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council said, "Washing your hands with soap containing triclosan doesn't make them cleaner than using regular soap and water and can carry potential health risks."
Soap and water is still the best
All-natural and biodegradable -- like olive oil based Castille soap -- is your friend when it comes to washing off germs. When you're rinsing your hands, body or pots and pans, you don't need to wipe out pathogens, you only need to drown them in soap and hot water. "Millions of Americans use antibacterial hand soap and body wash products," the FDA said in a statement. "Although consumers generally view these products as effective tools to help prevent the spread of germs, there is currently no evidence that they are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water."
How to keep things clean
So what's the best way to get those germs off your body and surfaces? For your hands, antibacterial stuff can reduce some number of germs, but hasn't been proven to kill any of the nastier viruses anyway. Hand sanitizers should be used in addition to proper hand washing with soap and water. If you only have hand sanitizer and no sinks are in sight, always used the alcohol-based kind with 60 percent alcohol. For your dishes, the dishwasher is best. Tried-and-true handwashing is also worth the elbow-grease but make sure you frequently boil or change up your sponges and dish towels.
What are your tried-and-true methods of keeping things clean?