For healthy and disease free living the most important thing is that the hands should be washed properly and quite frequently. It is essential to wash hands after every visit to the toilet, before eating anything and also before giving feed to baby. Washing hands is essential as it helps remove germs, dust and bacteria. The next question is which type of soap is to be used for washing hands. Generally two types of soaps for washing hands are available in market. These are antibacterial soap and normal soap.
According to a market survey, out of the total sale of soaps, about 70% of sale is of antibacterial soap. On the effectiveness of these soaps a study has indicated that use of these soaps is helpful in reducing instances of sickness at places which are visited by a large number of people from different walks of life. These places are hospitals, clinics, operation theatres or schools etc. When objects like tables, which are touched by a large number of infected people, cleaned with antibacterial soap, the incidence of infection gets reduced considerably.
However, the same is not true when such soaps are used at home. The chances of catching common ailments like cough, cold or running nose are the same in the household using antibacterial or normal soap. At such places, the way the hands are washed matters. For proper cleaning of hands it is essential to rub both hands with soap for about 20 seconds. There after they should be washed with warm water and wiped dry using a clean towel. The hands should not touch even the tap and it should be closed using the towel in hand.
Antibacterial Soap Dangers: According to scientific research washing hands with triclosan antibacterial soap is like using antibiotic pills or cream. With both only some of the mild bacteria are killed and the more dangerous species of bacteria remains unaffected, resulting in microbiological imbalance, which is more harmful.
Continuous use of the same chemical triclosan in different washing agents used for washing of hands, clothes or utensils results in over exposure of the children to the chemical. As per the research, this chemical does not kill the bacteria or germs, but as a result of genetic effect on these bacteria, reproduction is stopped, resulting in development of a new strain resistant to this agent. Triclosan is also said to have a damaging effect on skin cells. Long term use is often the cause of development of antibodies which negate the effect of preventive soaps or antibiotics.
Thus one concludes that selective use of antibacterial soap may be helpful to mankind, but continuous use is harmful. Hands will be better cleaned if washed properly and dried using clean cloth before touching something to eat.