Handwashing has been clearly shown to prevent a variety of diseases and is one of the most important ways to protect oneself and others from infections. To date, studies have shown that there is no added health benefit for consumers (this does not include professionals in the healthcare setting) using soaps containing antibacterial ingredients compared with using plain soap. CDC looks forward to any future data about the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial consumer products and will continue to adjust recommendations based on the best available science.
Efficacy of Antibacterial Soaps
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- Montville R, Schaffner DW. A meta-analysis of the published literature on the effectiveness of antimicrobial soaps.external icon J Food Prot. 2011 Nov;74(11):1875-82.
- Aiello AE, Larson EL, Levy SB. Consumer antibacterial soaps: effective or just risky?external icon Clin Infect Dis. 2007 Sep 1;45 Suppl 2:S137-47.
- Luby SP, Agboatwalla M, Feikin DR, Painter J, Billhimer W, Altaf A, Hoekstra RM. Effect of handwashing on child health: a randomised controlled trial.external icon Lancet. 2005 Jul 16-22;366(9481):225-33.
- Luby SP, Agboatwalla M, Painter J, Altaf A, Billhimer WL, Hoekstra RM. Effect of intensive handwashing promotion on childhood diarrhea in high-risk communities in Pakistan: a randomized controlled trial.external icon JAMA. 2004 Jun 2;291(21):2547-54.
- Larson EL, Lin SX, Gomez-Pichardo C, Della-Latta P. Effect of antibacterial home cleaning and handwashing products on infectious disease symptoms: a randomized, double-blind trial.external icon Ann Intern Med. 2004 Mar 2;140(5):321-9.