Antibacterial Soap vs. Regular Hand Soap: What's the Difference?

When it comes to keeping your hands clean, you've probably wondered whether antibacterial soap is better than regular hand soap. Here's a straightforward look at the differences between the two, helping you decide which one to use for everyday handwashing.

What's in Them?

  • Antibacterial Soap: This soap contains chemicals aimed at killing bacteria. While it used to contain a substance called triclosan, concerns over safety have led to its decrease in use. Nowadays, other antiseptic ingredients are more common.

  • Regular Hand Soap: Does not have added antibacterial chemicals. It works by lifting dirt, grease, and germs from the skin so they can be rinsed away with water.

How Well Do They Work?

  • Antibacterial Soap: Despite claims of superior effectiveness, research has shown that antibacterial soap isn't more effective than regular soap at preventing illnesses in most situations.

  • Regular Hand Soap: Regular soap is highly effective in removing germs when used properly. It breaks down the outer layer of viruses and helps wash away bacteria.

Safety and the Environment

  • Antibacterial Soap: The antibacterial agents, like triclosan, have been linked to potential health risks such as hormonal effects and could contribute to antibiotic resistance. They can also harm aquatic life when they enter waterways.

  • Regular Hand Soap: It's generally safer for people and less harmful to the environment. Regular soap avoids the issues linked to antibacterial chemicals and still effectively cleans hands.


Both types of soap can clean your hands, but for everyday use, regular hand soap is a safe and effective choice. It avoids the health and environmental concerns associated with some antibacterial agents and does an excellent job of keeping your hands clean. Remember, the best way to wash your hands is to use any soap and scrub for at least 20 seconds before rinsing.