Are Antibacterial Cleaners Better Than Regular Cleaners?
One reader writes, "I hear so much today about antibacterial this and antibacterial that. Do I need to be using antibacterial cleaners in my home? Do they really help clean better than the other soaps and detergents I've been using. I have also heard a lot about antibacterial resistance. Is this really a problem caused by cleaners? Can you help me know what I need in my home?
It's true that the influx of antibacterial cleaners seems to have overtaken many areas, but you're right to question whether or not you need to use antibacterial cleaners in your home.
According to many studies, regular soap or detergent and water is enough to wash away dirt, bacteria, and viruses. Proper handwashing doesn't need the added benefit of an antibacterial cleaner, to thoroughly clean hands. The same is true for your home. Regular cleaning with soaps and detergents will remove much of the harmful bacteria and viruses.
One of the problems with the use of antibacterial cleaners is that, to be effective, they need to be left on the surface for up to two minutes before being wiped away. Many people are not patient enough to allow the antibacterial cleaners to have time to work. Antibacterial cleaners do not kill the viruses that are responsible for many common illnesses.
Another issue in the use of antibacterial cleaners is that some germs are actually beneficial to our health. Some experts worry that completely wiping out all traces of germs will mess up a healthy balance of bacteria with humans.
Despite these concerns about the use of antibacterial soap, there is no solid evidence that using antibacterial cleaners is leading to antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.
In fact, most health officials believe that the widespread misuse of antibiotics, not antibacterial cleaners, is to blame for antibiotic resistant bacteria.
There are benefits to antibacterial cleaners. While washing with soap and water removes a lot by itself, proper use of antibacterial cleansers does reduce the amount of bacteria further for a short span of time, which may be a help in households where someone is ill or has immune problems.
Overall, proper food handling and handwashing techniques along with regular cleaning with soap or detergent and water should be enough to keep your family healthy. Families who wish to use antibacterial cleaners should not worry that their use will lead to antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, but should follow the instructions to fully utilize the antibacterial properties.