11

“Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER)
LINK

No reference is given in the FDA press release. What are the studies showing this?

  • 2
    I asked a similar question, and this question is closely related. Do you think this is a duplicate? – Oddthinking Sep 3 '16 at 1:53
  • 5
    If you read carefully, Woodcock isn't claiming anything about what studies show - she's talking about what studies don't show, perhaps because there are no good studies. She isn't making any statement one way or the other as to whether antibacterial soap actually is better than soap and water. So I don't think this constitutes a "notable claim" for or against the question in your title. – Nate Eldredge Sep 3 '16 at 5:10
  • @NateEldredge: Would a link to an advert for an antibacterial soap solve that issue? I believed that Triclosan-based anti-bacterial soaps were better at dealing with minor skin infections than regular soap and water, when I asked the related question. – Oddthinking Sep 4 '16 at 17:28
  • Sure, if the claim made by the ad is sufficiently clear and concrete to be testable. Just "better" would not suffice. "More effective at removing bacteria" might be. – Nate Eldredge Sep 4 '16 at 21:58
  • 1
    I'd be careful with the word "better". I personally am careful not to go overboard with cleanliness because otherwise my immune system will be weaker if something serious comes along. So "better" wouldn't mean the same thing for me. – PointlessSpike Sep 5 '16 at 11:11
13

This 2015 study, Bactericidal effects of triclosan in soap both in vitro and in vivo, suggests the most popular active ingredient, triclosan, had no effect for exposures commensurate with hand-washing:

RESULTS:

There was no significant difference (P > 0.05) in bactericidal activity between plain soap and antibacterial soap at either test temperature. However, antibacterial soap showed significantly greater bactericidal effects after 9 h. These results suggest that although triclosan-containing soap does have antibacterial activity, the effects are not apparent during the short time required for hand washing.

CONCLUSIONS:

Antibacterial soap containing triclosan (0.3%) was no more effective than plain soap at reducing bacterial contamination when used under 'real-life' conditions. The present study provides practical information that may prove useful for both industry and governments.

  • 1
    I also found this review: cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/45/Supplement_2/S137.long – SteffX Sep 6 '16 at 12:05
  • I don't understand how this However, antibacterial soap showed significantly greater bactericidal effects after 9 h means this Antibacterial soap containing triclosan (0.3%) was no more effective than plain soap at reducing bacterial contamination when used under 'real-life' conditions. it seems to me that preventing bacterial growth for 9 hours is very much commensurate with a real-life condition. Many people wash their hands only a few times a day. – fredsbend Sep 7 '16 at 16:53
  • 6
    According to this article summarizing the above study, "They found no 'significant' difference between antibacterial and normal soap, and decided to see if soaking would yield a different outcome. The triclosan-containing soap 'performed significantly better after nine hours of exposure,' they found—a rather long period for washing one's hands." (emphasis mine) – dcsohl Sep 7 '16 at 18:27

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .