Today one can buy antibacterial soaps and cleaners, cutting boards, storage containers, chopsticks, socks, slippers, sheets, mattresses, and even toys. Many of these products contain the compound triclosan, which is also used in hospitals for its bacteria-busting power.

Antibacterial products: Are they really safe?


The trouble is, many scientists are worried that such widespread overuse of triclosan is likely to render it useless, as microbes may develop resistance to it, as well as possibly other similar antibiotics.

Both the American Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention point out that you don’t need antibacterial soaps to stay safe and clean in the home.

Instead, wash your hands in hot soapy water for 20 to 30 seconds, and scrub surfaces regularly. You can use vinegar, baking soda, and various off-the-shelf natural (often herbal-based) cleaners to kill bacteria when needed.