Antibacterial soaps have to be the answer to killing off those nasty germs for years.  But, did you know that the daily rituals of washing your family’s hands with antibacterial soaps, bathing them in antibacterial body washes, heck even using antibacterial washing powders and floor cleaners could contain a dirty secret.

When kids of all shapes and sizes will start heading back off to day-care, kindy or school. The question that remains is the same one, year in and year out. How do you avoid your kids bringing home on their hands the daily does of ‘germs and bugs’?  Most of us, take comfort in using antibacterial soaps and other products to keep our family and homes germ free. However, has that really been the case?

Antibacterial soaps and their dirty little secret.

Well, one thing is for sure. As a result, of our obsession with using antibacterial soaps to kill off germs it has spawned a multi-billion dollar business globally.  But do we really know what is in these products that we use daily on our loved ones?

In September 2016, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration ruled to ban 19 ingredients used in the marketing of many antibacterial soaps.   After concluding that the risks of many of these ingredients outweighed the benefits. Most importantly, that these ingredient are not safe for long-term daily use. However, many of these banned ingredients we use daily in a wide variety of products from toothpaste, deodorants, detergents, to name a few.  So, this ruling by is frightening.  So, lets have a look and see what all the fuss is about.

Why the fuss about antibacterial soaps?

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration, spent years testing the extensive claims made by manufacturer of various antibacterial soaps and other antibacterial products.   In conclusion, the FDA had this to say,

Consumers may think antibacterial soaps and washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water,

What does ruling mean for antibacterial soaps and washes made in New Zealand and Australia ?

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration ingredients ban affects 2,100 products. In other words, roughly 40 percent of the over-the-counter antibacterial soap market in the USA alone.  Just let those number sink in for a moment, whilst considering the long term legacy and positive impact of this ruling.   It is important to point out that the ruling does not affect alcohol-based hand sanitisers or wipes. Neither, does it include the antibacterial products used in hospitals and clinics.

In the meantime, both the Australian and New Zealand governments are yet to issue their ruling on antibacterial soaps and washes. However, many large retailers & manufacturers in both countries have already taken steps to remove these ingredients from their products.  This is a positive step and welcomed both consumers in both countries.

Two ingredients to be avoided, lurking in antibacterial soaps and body washes

The main offending ingredients are Triclocarban and the widely used Triclosan.  Both are used in a variety of antibacterial soaps, toothpaste, mouthwashes, acne medications, deodorants, detergents, and cosmetics, for example.   Since 1978, health experts globally expressed growing concern linking these ingredients.  Specifically, their interference with children’s hormones and promoting antibacterial resistant bacteria.  This ruling took 38 years of activism, and a lawsuit before the FDA finally saw the light in September 2016.  Sadly, many people wish it has been much sooner.

Leading experts thoughts FDA antibacterial soaps ruling

Sally Gaw, environmental chemist and Canterbury University senior lecturer is one of many New Zealand  and Australian scientists who supports the FDA ban.  Sally is actively calling on both country’s governments to also ban these ingredients.   She had this to say; “It can affect hormone function, damage the liver and kidneys and is a suspected carcinogen”.  Furthermore, she had this to say about the ban specific  antibacterial soaps ingredients.  “That washing with plain soap and running water” remains one of the most important steps consumers can take to avoid spreading germs to others.”

In addition, Rolf Halden, a scientist at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, said “It has boggled my mind why we were clinging to these compounds. They have absolutely no benefit, but we kept them buzzing around us everywhere.

Personally, I think, Mae Wu, a senior attorney, involved in the lawsuit that won the FDA ban sums up this ‘dirty little secret’ the best.  “We call it stupid uses of toxic chemicals.”.  Adding, “There’s no reason to do it, and you could be hurting yourself and your family in the process.”

So, what are some natural antibacterial alternative for your family, that don’t contain all those “stupid” … “toxic chemicals.”

Natural antibacterial solutions for your whole family

We are blessed living in New Zealand and Australia, with some of the strongest antibacterial natural ingredients in the world.

1# Manuka Oil

Both Manuka and Kanuka oils have incredibly healing antibacterial, antifungal and anti-viral properties.  Importantly,  for centuries, they have been used in New Zealand to treat everything from wounds, infections, and skin inflammation.

2# Australia Tea Tree Oil

Native to Australia’s east coast, this oil  is part of the ‘myrtle family’ of plants which includes Manuka & Kanuka and Eucalyptus.  As a result, the oil is known to be highly antifungal, antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral.  In WW2, Tree Tree oil was standard issue for every soldier to help treat a variety of ailments.

3# Manuka Honey

Honey was used by the Egyptians and the Romans to treat wounds and infections. While you won’t be getting your little ones to clean their hands with honey, there is no doubt that it is an excellent healer.  In addition, to be an all natural ingredient it can also be used on your face, body and for sore throats.  Honey’s antibacterial properties has seen the creation of many highly specialised medical wound healing products in recent years.

4# Apple Cider Vinegar

Commonly known for having antibacterial properties, this ingredient has been used for years a versatile household cleaning product. It can easily be bought from your local supermarket and made into antibacterial spray with just a few other ingredients.   For instance, just add a few drops of your favourite essential oil (Manuka Oil or Clove Oil) and some apple cider vinegar.  Then you can take comfort knowing that the germs will be gone when washing your families hands.   In addition, it can also use as a simple face toner, or for cleaning your kitchen bench. It is liquid gold.

5# Clove Oil

In terms, of spices, clove oil ranks highly in antibacterial properties.   Adding a few drops of clove oil to apple cider vinegar will result in a highly effective antibacterial spray.

Is idea of making something too much for you- We’ve got you covered!

If you’re just looking for a powerful  pre-made antibacterial body wash, there are many great natural products you can buy. Our Body Wash is antibacterial and suitable to used all over the body,  However, it really shines as a hand wash by the kitchen and bathroom sinks.  Not only is brilliant for cleaning those grubby little hands but more importantly, it is free from all those nasty chemicals.    Similarly,  you can make up a antibacterial hand wash, floor cleaner or  household germ killer by adding 1-2 drops of manuka oil to some warm water.

Take care.

  • ADD TO BAG Details Quick View
  • ADD TO BAG Details Quick View

Glossary of Ingredients Banned by FDA

Here is the full list of ingredients the FDA has banned from all consumer antiseptic wash products:

  • Cloflucarban
  • Fluorosalan
  • Hexachlorophene
  • Hexylresorcinol
  • Iodine complex (ammonium ether sulfate and polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate)
  • Iodine complex (phosphate ester of alkylaryloxy polyethylene glycol)
  • Nonylphenoxypoly (ethyleneoxy) ethanoliodine
  • Poloxamer-iodine complex
  • Povidone-iodine 5 to 10 percent
  • Undecoylium chloride iodine complex
  • Methylbenzethonium chloride
  • Phenol (greater than 1.5 percent)
  • Phenol (less than 1.5 percent)
  • Secondary amyltricresols
  • Sodium oxychlorosene
  • Tribromsalan
  • Triclocarban
  • Triclosan
  • Triple dye