Antibacterial soaps kill both good and bad bacteria equally because the antibacterial agents cannot differentiate between bad and good. However, antibacterial soaps are not any better than regular soaps at killing germs.
In September 2016, the FDA banned the use of 19 antibacterial agents found in commercial soaps because there wasn’t sufficient scientific evidence that these antibacterial soaps were more effective than regular soap at preventing the spread of germs.1Press Announcements > FDA issues final rule on safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm517478.htm This list of banned agents included triclosan and triclocarban, the most commonly used antibacterial compounds in liquid and bar soaps, respectively. After a careful review of the available evidence, the FDA concluded that these antibacterial agents provide no benefit and that their use may actually be harmful! Using these agents in soap might give users a false sense of security and enhance the development of antibacterial resistance, which is a growing and serious health problem.2Consumer Updates > Antibacterial Soap? You Can Skip It, Use Plain Soap and Water https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm378393.htm
If antibacterial soaps are a bad idea, then what is the best way to get rid of germs?
Washing our hands with plain soap and water is one of the most effective methods to remove bad germs from our hands and prevent the spread of disease. To properly wash your hands, wet them with water, apply soap, and rub your hands together to lather. Make sure to get the backs of your hands, spaces between your fingers, and under your nails. Scrub for at least 20 seconds, rinse with clean water, and dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them.3Show Me the Science – How to Wash Your Hands https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-handwashing.html Plain soap is effective because it lifts dirt and bacteria from your skin and encourages you to scrub your hands for longer than you would if using only water. This thorough scrubbing also helps get germs off.
Studies have shown that good hand washing practices can reduce diarrheal infection, such as salmonella and E. coli, and respiratory infection, such as colds, by 20-40%.3Show Me the Science – How to Wash Your Hands https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-handwashing.html So wash away the bad germs with plain old soap and clean water!