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The Best Antibacterial Soaps

Maridav/Shutterstock.com
🕚 Updated June 2022

Now more than ever, antibacterial soap is a staple in households, schools, and businesses in a joint effort to slow the spread of harmful germs. We've gathered some of the best antibacterial soaps you can buy.

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  Best Body Wash Large Refill Pick Great Four-Pack Best Moisturizing Best Bar
 
  Derma-nu Miracle Skin Remedies
Antifungal Antibacterial
Solimo
Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap
Dial
Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap
Dove
Antibacterial Hand Wash for All Skin
Safeguard
Antibacterial 14-Pack Bar Soap
 
Our SummaryContains healing tea tree and eucalyptus oils.Dermatologist tested and approved.Kills 99.9% of household germs.Gentle on all types of skin.Moisturizing bar soap in bulk.
ProsRelieves bacterial rashes, anti-fungal and antibacterial, soothing relief, body wash, contains tea tree and menthol, zero harmful chemicals.Great value, 56 ounces, dermatologically tested, moisturizes, phthalate- and paraben-free.Popular brand, strong and gentle, kills 99.9% of household bacteria, mild for frequent use, no harmful ingredients.Popular brand, gentle nature, fights dry skin, kills 99% of E. coli-causing bacteria, no sulfates or parabens.Safe, effective bacterial wash, bar soap, kills odors and germs, use on body or face, hydrates skin, 14 bars.
ConsBottle is small for the higher price.Waters down when mixed with other soaps.Soap doesn't create much of a lather.Soap doesn't create much of a lather.Not the same Safeguard buyers might be used to.
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The Best Antibacterial Soaps

A man washes his hands with soap in a bathroom sink.
Maridav/Shutterstock.com

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms, washing our hands with soap and water is a simple, inexpensive, and effective defense against infection and the spread of disease. Handwashing may even help us in the battle against antibiotic resistance by reducing the number of infections that require treatment with them. These days, you have plenty of options in gentler, more environmentally-friendly formulas. Whether it’s soap for the kitchen, bathroom, or workplace, you can find one that works for you when you need it most.

Buying Guide for Antibacterial Soaps

Hands push out some soap into their hands from a dispenser.
Nikita Shevchenko/Shutterstock.com

Why use antibacterial soaps?

If you’re an on-the-go individual—a busy mom, weekly socialite, or both—it helps to have a stash of antibacterial soap nearby. The more people and shared objects (like handrails and shopping carts) you’re exposed to, the higher your risk is of contracting and spreading bacteria and viruses, like the flu. Of course, sharing germs day to day is inevitable, and we can’t wash it all away, but antibacterial soap will at least give you a fighting chance against catching whatever bug is going around.

What should you know when shopping for soaps?

  • Look for ingredients that are good for your skin. Frequent hand washing can dry out your skin, so when choosing a hand soap, especially in cold months, look for additives that won’t strip your hands of their natural oils and that will help keep your skin hydrated. Ingredients like aloe vera, shea butter, milk protein, coconut oil, vitamin E, and glycerin are naturally hydrating elements that form protective barriers that can help minimize rough, dry, or flaky skin. Fragrances and dyes can also dry out hands, and for people with sensitive skin, they can cause itching and inflammation, so look for natural fragrances like lavender or sage oils that can also help retain skin’s moisture.
  • Avoid ingredients that are detrimental to you and the environment. Many ingredients in hand soap have been found to be harmful to people and the environment. For example, parabens, preservatives commonly used in soaps to prevent the growth of microbes, have been shown to disrupt hormone function in humans; alternatives to parabens have been found to be safer and just as effective. Sulfates, like sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), another common soap ingredient, have been linked to skin irritation and allergic reactions. Triclosan has been linked to the disruption of thyroid hormone levels in humans and changes in the biochemistry of aquatic plants and animals.

How often should you use antibacterial soap?

It’s important to only use antibacterial soap when you need to—when the risk of catching and spreading bacteria is high. Though many brands build in moisturizers to help keep hands soft and hydrated, soap and water should be our day-to-day go-to. It’s less abrasive and effectively cleans hands in a bind, according to the FDA. Just remember to moisturize with lotion to help keep hands soft and hydrated!

Our Picks for the Best Antibacterial Soaps

Pros: If you suffer from ongoing, irritating rashes or skin conditions caused by bacteria, Derma-nu antifungal and antibacterial body wash and soap can provide instant relief and moisture from head to toe. It’s formulated with cooling tea tree, peppermint, and menthol to relieve itchiness and tackle foot and body odor, washing away bacteria that cause athlete’s foot, ringworm, and psoriasis. It’s organic with natural ingredients and zero harmful chemicals and doesn’t contain synthetic fragrances or dyes.

Cons: The bottle is a tad small for the mid-range price, but if you’ve got any of these conditions, it’s worth the buy.

Bottom Line: We should all be more conscious about what we expose our bodies to, and this naturally medicated antibacterial body and foot wash does the job for us.

 

Pros: Comparable to the popular brand Dial, this liquid antibacterial soap from Solimo comes at a great value—56 ounces at a low price. The dermatologically tested soap contains moisturizer to help keep your hands soft, hydrated, and healthy while fighting against quick-spreading germs. And It’s phthalate- and paraben-free for a happier environment. Purchase a few inexpensive soap dispensers and keep a bottle handy at home or work.

Cons: Be careful not to mix Solimo in the same dispenser as another brand, as it will water down your antibacterial soap

Bottom Line: If you use antibacterial soap more than the next person (maybe you work in the medical field), this is a lot of effective, gentle soap at an excellent price!

 

Great Four-Pack

Pros: Dial was the world’s first antibacterial soap, and it’s still going strong (and gentle). It’s a great example of simultaneously fighting the spread of germs and conditioning to prevent dry, moisture-thirsty hands—and it kills 99.9% of household bacteria. The age-old soap is mild enough for frequent use and formulated without parabens, phthalates, or silicones, ensuring safer use for adults, kids, and the environment.

Cons: This antibacterial soap doesn’t create much of a lather, which might affect the handwashing experience but not its ability to kill germs!

Bottom Line: You can’t go wrong with a household favorite, especially as the brand has advanced in gentleness and earth-friendly ingredients.

 

Pros: Another family favorite, Dove is known for its gentle nature and fight against dry skin, which is especially important in liquid soap. Its antibacterial hand wash is an effective combination of moisture and germ-fighting skills; it safely eliminates 99% of E. coli-causing bacteria while quenching thirsty hands with a blend of five moisturizers. Like any quality soap, Dove features no sulfates or parabens in its formula, so you can feel good about using it on the kids.

Cons: This is another soap that might not give you the lather you want or expect, but it doesn’t make it any less effective.

Bottom Line: For decades, people have trusted Dove, and there’s no reason to stop now, especially as it’s expanded its offering to help prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses.

 

Pros: Don’t be fooled by the advertising—despite what the box says in the photos, Safeguard stopped adding triclocarban to its soaps, along with every other FDA-abiding brand. You can safely use this bar soap to wash away dirt, odors, and nasty germs on your hands, face, and body. Bar soap is great because it doesn’t dry your skin as much as other types! You’ll get 14 bars at a fair price, and it’s a biodegradable product, which is a great perk for the environment.

Cons: Because its ingredients have changed over time due to FDA regulation, Safeguard soap is different than the old-school formula many are used to.

Bottom Line: You likely can’t beat the price for a handwashing experience that doesn’t leave your skin feeling tight and dry. It’s safe for you and the earth and helps wash away your chances of getting sick.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re fighting the common cold or an international pandemic, these top-rated antibacterial soaps will do their best to keep your immune system up and your home clean. Happy handwashing!

Lisa Walenceus Lisa Walenceus
Lisa Walenceus has 20 years of research and writing experience as an educator, news reporter, and freelancer. She writes to learn and digs deep to find how things work. Read Full Bio »
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