“Soap and water and common sense are the best disinfectants,” says by William Osler, a Canadian physician who has been described as the “Father of Modern Medicine”
Using soap and water to wash hands at least six times a day is the basic hygiene minimum. It seems too much, but consider that we should wash our hands before eating which is 3 times plus after using the toilet which is approximately 7 times. Therefore, hand soap has become an essential tool in everyday life. There are many kinds of hand soaps in the market. Some luxury hand soaps like the “Nest Japanese Black Currant Liquid Soap” which is 22 dollars for 300 ml of contain some natural plants extract which can moisturize your skin while cleaning them. Some soap with a pleasant scent from the “Bath and Body Works” are awesome Christmas presents. Of course, the most common hand soap that we use is from supermarkets like Walgreens and Target. And this common hand soap can be divided into two categories: plain hand soap and antibacterial soap. Usually, the antibacterial soaps have better sales than the plain soap because consumers believe that most likely, the antibacterial soaps are more effective than the plain soaps especially when they see “Eliminating 99% of bacteria” on the packaging. However, the advertisement might be misleading. We should avoid using the antibacterial hand soap because it does more harm than good.
I’ve been interested in this topic since in January. As a pre-nursing student, I was required to take a microbiology class (a study of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria and viruses). In the class, my professor said, “You know what, the antibacterial soap doesn’t do a better job than the regular hand soap”, but he didn’t specifically explain the reasons. I was pretty confused at that time but did not try to figure out why until my mom asked me to buy a hand soap in the summer. I recalled the confusions I had in the microbiology class. Then, I went on the internet, did some research and hoped to find answers to my question.
Choosing a good hand soap can be really helpful for my major and future career. I wish to be a nurse in the future. Washing hands between patients is a must. Therefore, choosing an effective and healthy hand soap is important. Not only for me, it is extremely important to the consumers who have a weaker immune system, such as children, elders and pregnant women because they need hand soaps to make them stay away from germs,viruses, and infections.
Some articles state why we should avoid using antibacterial soaps. The article “Reality check: Is antibacterial soap bad for us?” from the Global News by Nicole Mortillaro tests whether the antibacterial soap is actually bad for us. One concern is that these antibacterial soaps contain an antibacterial chemical called triclosan which will be washed down to the drain and end up in the ocean and water system. We are not able to purify it. It will destroy our oceanic ecosystem which might harm the marine animals. A related article “USFDA bans antiseptic chemicals from antibacterial soaps” indicates that the federal government has banned several chemicals recently. It includes triclosan and triclocarban which are in most of the antibacterial soaps. Consumers tend to believe that antibacterial soaps are more effective at killing and preventing germs on hands. I think that antibacterial soaps do more harm than good over the long-term and there’s no evidence that shows antibacterial soaps perform better tasks than regular soap and water.
However, I am open-minded to the topic “antibacterial soap”. People have the freedom to choose whichever products they like to use. Since the scientists are still researching more about the chemical triclosan, there should be more to find out about antibacterial soaps.