You’ve probably heard the debate regarding the safety of antibacterial soaps and Imagewondered what is true and what isn’t. Well, here’s the scoop.

According to Drs. Oz and Roisen (You Docs), triclosan, “one of the most potent antibacterials found in…household products,” can affect the heart muscle. In addition, the chemical “disrupts hormones and can damage reproductive systems.” Triclosan also pollutes the environment and promotes antibiotic resistance. (

The YouDocs’ advice? Read labels! Additive-free soap is just as effective as antibacterial soaps for killing germs. (Idaho Statesman / September 2012)

But, buyer beware! Besides being added to soaps and body washes, triclosan can be found in “toothpastes and certain cosmetics, as well as furniture, kitchenware, clothing and toys.” The chemical was registered as a pesticide in 1969 but is now included in a wide, wide variety of unrelated products. (

MightyNest, a website where parents can research product safety for their families, reports that “triclosan has the following effects on human health.

  • Abnormal endocrine system/thyroid hormone signaling.
  • Weakening of immune system.
  • Children exposed to antibacterial products at an early age have an increased chance of developing allergies, asthma and eczema.
  • Uncontrolled cell growth.
  • Developmental and reproductive toxicity.


MightyNest suggests we clean counters with plant-based solutions like vinegar, lemon and essential oils, wash children’s toys in warm soapy water, and use antibacterial hand soaps made with essential plant oils, like thyme and fennel. “Tea tree, grapefruit and pine essential oils are also naturally antimicrobial.” quotes Dr. Stuart Levy, director of the Center for Adaptation Genetics and Drug Resistance at the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, who says “people who are exposed to household germs usually develop stronger immune systems and are healthier overall. Aim to be clean, not germ-free.” I like that philosophy! (

The Daily Green author, Diane MacEachern, advises we shift our spending to safe, eco-friendly cleansers and personal-care products such as the following:


A author says “thyme has recently been proven to be an even more potent antibacterial agent than many chemicals commonly used in soaps and hand cleansers.” The article also lists essential oils of lavender, rosemary and peppermint as well as citrus oils. One important cleanser the writer, Danna Norek, mentions is hot water, which is “the most simple, readily available way to help rid surfaces of bacteria and other surface contaminants.”


I’ve used many of the above natural products and can report they work great. What natural products do you use? Becky


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