Walk into the “cleaning products” aisle of any supermarket and look around. What do you notice?
Almost every product has ANTIBACTERIAL on it in bold letters. Antibacterial dish washing liquid, antibacterial bath soap. We’ve been scared silly by new and re-emerging infections. Now, everybody wants to slather themselves in antibacterial soap.
Hold on a minute.
Not all bacteria are bad. Sure, bacteria make delicious things like cheese, beer and wine possible… But I don’t just mean in a general sense. In our bodies, some bacteria do good things:
- they produce Vitamin K in our intestines;
- They produce acid and other chemicals that keep the really harmful bacteria at bay.
Using antibacterial everything all the time means that we’re killing not just the bad bacteria, but the good ones too. When that happens, the really nasty bugs that are resistant to the major ingredient in antibacterial stuff (triclosan) can come into the vacant space and colonize the place.
That would be really bad.
Let’s talk about triclosan for a bit. It’s not dangerous in regular consumer amounts. However, there have been concerns that it contributes to antibacterial resistance. IT’s probably best not to use overuse it.
Does anyone really need to use antibacterial dish wash? Just how dirty are those dishes? I’m going to take a stab and say that most dishes have not been actively culturing bacteria. Plain soap and water is good enough.
Even antibacterial soap is not necessary all the time. Sure, if you work in a health facility, or maybe for people living in close quarters such as hostels, then yes. if not, it probably isn’t required. I can’t really think of other places where antibacterial soap should be used freely.
Before you pick up that jar of antibacterial cleaner, ask yourself if you really need it. Odds are, you don’t.