Saturday, September 19, 2015

Soaps Sans Triclosan, Do Good As Much As They Can

Bunty tera saboon slow hai ? {Bunty is your soap slow (in killing germs)?}......... This is a catch pharse (or selling phrase) of an anti-bacterial soap in India. It shows a chubby boy cleaning his hands with a regular soap and water for a minute to ensure germs are removed because his mother told him so. The smart girl (let’s call her Pinky) advices Bunty to use her soap, claiming its kills 99% germs in a 10 SECOND handwash.

Well, South Korean researchers have published a report that supports the advice of Bunty’s mother. Through experiments, they have reported that for a regular hand-wash, the combination of a regular soap and water gives same results as an anti-bacterial soap. The difference if any is so insignificant that the money spent over anti-bacterial soap just makes it “too costly”. I wonder what Pinky and her mother are thinking now.

Concept: To check whether anti-bacterial soaps are effective or not. All tested anti-bacterial soaps had Triclosan (the most widely used antiseptic agent in soap). The triclosan concentration of 0.3% is the maximum allowed by law.

Methods: Twenty bacterial strains (proposed by the US-FDA) were exposed to plain and antibacterial soaps (the same formulation as plain soap, but containing 0.3% triclosan) for 20 s at 22°C (room temperature) and 40°C (warm temperature). The temperature and time were selected to simulate the hand washing conditions and procedures used by consumers. The decontamination efficacy of plain soap and antibacterial soap was also examined in vivo: the hands of volunteers were artificially inoculated with Serratia marcescens.


a: There was no significant difference in bactericidal activity between plain soap and antibacterial soap at either test temperature.

b: Antibacterial soap showed significantly greater bactericidal effects after 9 h.

c: 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.

Article Citation: Rhee, M. S.; et. al. Bactericidal effects of triclosan in soap both in vitro and in vivo. J Antimicrob Chemother 2015. DOI: 10.1093/jac/dkv275

Dear Pinky, you need a soap that goes ON and ON and ON ................. 9 hour long