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Proper Hand Washing: No Antibacterial Soap Required

Hand washing tips from Davidson Family Medicine.You don’t need antibacterial soap to wash your hands of germs.  

Using proper hand washing techniques with soap and
water work just as well.  

In September the Food and Drug Administration issued a ruling that bans antibacterial washes containing one or more of 19 active ingredients, including triclosan and triclocarban, which are the two most common ingredients. This ban affects the majority of antibacterial hand soaps on the market.

Antibacterial soaps do not provide any additional benefit when it comes to keeping hands germ-free. Additionally, the triclosan ingredient can cause bacteria to adapt to its antimicrobial properties, leading to more antibiotic resistant strains.  

But proper washing techniques can rid hands of dirt and germs, helping you to avoid getting sick or spreading illnesses. No antibacterial soap is required. Just follow these easy steps:  

  1. Wet your hands with warm or cold running water.  
  2. Apply soap and lather well.  
  3. Rub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Singing the song “Happy Birthday” twice helps pass the appropriate amount of time.  
  4. Don’t forget to scrub all hand surfaces including under your fingernails.  
  5. Rinse well.  
  6. Dry your hands thoroughly.  
  7. Try using a towel or elbow to turn off the faucet.  

If soap and water isn’t available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a good alternative. Make sure the product contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Be sure to apply enough sanitizer to completely wet your hands and rub until your hands are thoroughly dry.