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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Saturday, June 14, 2014

Antibacterial Soap More Hype Than Help?

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


Should you buy antibacterial soaps for your home? People routinely pay more for them, but the risks may outweigh the benefits.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a new proposal that would require antibacterial soap makers to substantiate marketing claims that their products stop the spread of illness better than traditional soap.

Here's how antibacterial soap could actually harm you

The active ingredient in most antibacterial soaps is triclosan, a compound with supposed antibacterial and antifungal properties. But a few years ago, a report in The Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases found that you won't get any more sanitary with antibacterial soap than you will with plain soap.

The study even went on to suggest that antibacterial soap can harm you by making you resistant to antibiotics.

The FDA proposal is now in a commenting period for 180 days, after which antibacterial soap makers will have a 1-year period to present research to support their claims. If they can't do it, they would be required to change the formula or the marketing of antibacterial soap.

Antibacterial hand sanitizers and wipes, meanwhile, are not impacted by the FDA proposal.

I have long been a champion of reports about people developing antibiotic resistance from antibacterial soap. That's led to a lot of pushback from my wife and my radio crew over the years.

People don't seem to want to hear that antibacterial soap isn't as good for them as it's cracked up to be. They often wonder why hospital staffers always use antibacterial soaps and lotions. It turns out that the concentration used in medical facilities is much higher than what's available at retail.

And if you're wondering which soap I recommend, I think Ivory is great because of its affordable price. But we *don't* use this soap in my home. I have to confess: We overpay for Irish Spring instead!

Finally, don't forget to read about the best laundry detergent for your money and how you can save money by making homemade cleaning supplies.

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