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.
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!
Antifungal Antibacterial Soap & Body Wash - Natural Anti-Fungal Treatment with Tea Tree Oil for Jock Itch, Athletes Foot, Body Odor, Nail Fungus, Ringworm, Eczema & Back Acne - For Men and Women - 8oz
Contains healing tea tree and eucalyptus oils.
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.
Amazon Brand - Solimo Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap Refill, Light Moisturizing, Triclosan-Free, 56 Fluid Ounces, Pack of 1
Dermatologist tested and approved.
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!
Dial Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap, White Tea, 11 Ounce (Pack of 4)
Kills 99.9% of household germs.
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.
Dove Hand Wash For All Skin Types Antibacterial Protects from Skin Dryness 34 Fl. Oz (Pack of 3)
Gentle for all skin and ages.
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.
(PACK OF 14 BARS) Safeguard BEIGE Antibacterial Bar Soap for Men & Women. ELIMINATES BACTERIA! Washes Away Dirt & Odor! Healthy Skin for Hands, Face & Body! (14 Bars, 4.00oz Each Bar)
Moisturizing bar soap in bulk.
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.
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!