Why You Should Stop Using Antibacterial Soap
Written by: Kavata Kithome
Antibacterial… there is something about the very word that provides a feeling of protection. We all know that germs are everywhere and that health experts encourage us to wash our hands to avoid illness. So why not use a product that seems to give an extra edge against the bad guys?
Antibacterial soaps have become quite dominant in the health and beauty market due to high demand. But we can’t ignore how antibacterial soaps could make our bodies more resistant to antibiotics. Recently, there has been talk about the actual ingredients, more specifically the ingredient triclosan.
Studies have concluded that antibacterial soaps containing the chemical triclosan are no better at neutralizing bacteria from your hands than conventional soaps.
Triclosan has been linked with antibiotic resistance, allergies and interference with the hormone system in mammals. One study has even found potential carcinogenic risk.
More alarming, is that the FDA has noted that there is evidence that triclosan may alter hormone regulation and several other lab studies showed that bacteria may be able to evolve resistance to triclosan in a way that can help them become resistant to antibiotics.
I know you’re probably thinking now, “what can we do?” While considering if antibacterial soap is safe or not, I always find peace in the natural and holistic approach. So I want to share a few natural alternatives to antibacterial soaps, hoping that you can find a worthwhile solution. I have found that taking the natural path rarely turns out wrong as the plants have been here a lot longer than us.
Now the question turns to, “which herbs are antibacterial?”
Many herbs not only carry antibacterial agents, but antifungal and antiviral as well (makes for a pretty good comparison of natural versus manmade when you consider the lack of evidence that the antibacterial soaps even work).
According to the Reference Guide to Essential Oils, all essential oils are antibacterial. Leaves you with quite a selection, doesn’t it? As well as another avenue to explore.
Some of these herbs you may already have in your collection:
Apple cider vinegar is a rock star when it comes to health and beauty, is it any wonder that it provides antibacterial protection?
A favorite antibacterial solution of mine is Vinegar Of The Four Thieves. This blend (historical in nature) was said to protect four thieves from the Black Plague when they used it after robbing the dead bodies of plague victims.
This gruesome story does lack validity, but we do know the components of many Four Thieves recipes are pretty effective. There are dozens of variations to this recipe, but here’s my favorite spin:
Please don’t forget the old standby: Wash your hands thoroughly with regular soap. To get the benefits of herbs in there again, get soaps that contain essential oils.
Vinegar Of The Four Thieves
- 4 tbsp dried lavender
- 4 tbsp dried rosemary
- 4 tbsp dried wormwood
- 4 tbsp dried mint (I use peppermint)
- 4 tbsp dried sage
- 2 quarts apple cider vinegar
- If you can crush up the herbs with a mortar and pestle or run them through a coffee grinder reserved for your herbs, this will allow for better saturation.
- Place the herbs in a glass jar, pour the vinegar over it and give them a serious shake.
- Put the jar in the sun (on a patio if you live in an apartment or a sunny window) for two or more weeks (I’ve read up to six weeks; this info does vary).
- After two weeks, if you are so inclined, you can add a few cloves of garlic and let it sit for another week. I’ve seen recipes with and without garlic, but there are definitely antibacterial and antiviral benefits in adding it. I can also imagine the smell could offend, so I’ll leave this part up to your discretion. I make mine without garlic so we can use it in public without chasing said public away.
- Strain the vinegar well and pour into spray bottles. You can carry it with you in a small spray bottle in your purse for when your kids have touched something icky or questionable, perhaps that shopping cart handle, plastic chair or well used toy.
Image source: http://nourishedkitchen.com/four-thieves-vinegar-recipe/
As the healthy person you are who may be concerned about whether antibacterial soap is unsafe for you and your family, natural alternatives are good to keep in mind. With the natural alternative, it doesn’t really matter what the news says about what is called safe today might be called unsafe tomorrow; that rarely happens in the herb world. The good news is, plants seem to have a much better — and longer — track record for safe and effective use.
Give this natural remedy a try and let us know how it goes in the comments below! If you have any other awesome natural antibacterial recipes, feel free to share those as well.
Kavata Kithome is an advocate for living your best life, full of health and longevity. While working closely with gym owners and personal trainers, she was able to sculpt a well-rounded view of fitness and understands how to incorporate it with a healthy balanced diet. She is a regular contributor to the One More Step Lifestyle brand.
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