Antibacterial soaps don't kill viruses

Consumer Reports News: May 01, 2009 04:18 PM

Washing your hands frequently with regular soap and water is important to help prevent the spread of germs.  But while antibacterial products may seem like a stronger cleaning option, they are no more effective in cleaning your hands than regular soap and water--and they do not kill viruses like H1N1 (swine) flu. In fact, the routine use of antibacterial cleaning products has been seriously questioned by scientists and studies have shown that triclosan, the active ingredient in many antibacterial products, may make matters worse by creating harmful drug-resistant bacteria

Stick with simple soap and water and if you can't wash your hands, use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content. 

Urvashi Rangan, Technical Policy Director, Consumers Union

Keep up to date with our swine-flu coverage and recommendations.


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