antibacterial soap

Is Castile Soap Antibacterial?

Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap is not technically antibacterial, but for good reason. Antibacterial soap is often unnecessary and can even be harmful to your skin and immune system. Castile soap, a true soap, provides all the cleansing properties you need without disrupting your skin's natural biome. This guide explains why ditching antibacterial soap in favor of traditional true soap like Castile is a wise choice.

Table of Contents

Why Should Antibacterial Soap Be Avoided?

In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled against 19 commonly used antibacterial agents, including triclosan, found in many antibacterial, antimicrobial, or antiseptic hand washes. These agents gave people a false sense of security, making them believe that using an “antibacterial” product meant they were free from germs and sickness. However, this wasn’t true. Evidence suggested that these antibacterial agents could promote antibiotic-resistant superbugs, disrupt human hormones, and potentially cause skin cancer [1].

Cons of using antibacterial soaps include:

  • Endocrine system disruption
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Reduction of healthy bacteria on your skin
  • Removal of natural oils, leading to drier skin [2]

Even after the FDA banned triclosan, it can still be found in numerous consumer goods, including socks, cutting boards, sheets, makeup, deodorant, and more. These items fall outside the FDA’s jurisdiction, so their safety remains unregulated. Moreover, while triclosan may be banned from several body care products, other potentially harmful chemicals may be taking their place, such as benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride, and chloroxylenol [3]. Additionally, the growing body of research has shown that antibacterial soap is no more effective than soap and water [4].

Why Are True Soaps Like Castile Soap the Better Choice?

Castile soap is considered a “true soap” because it combines natural oils and fats with a base, such as potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide. Due to its organic composition, Castile soap is safe for cleaning both the body and home. The soap molecules have one end that bonds to water and another that repels it. When combined with water, the result is that one end attaches to dirt, grime, and grease, effectively removing it from the applied surface. On top of this, soap molecules rupture the membranes of bacteria and viruses, rendering them useless [5]. Because of its plant-based ingredients, Castile soap is not corrosive and can be used to clean the body, home, pets, and more.

In contrast, antibacterial soaps are filled with chemicals and synthetic ingredients that can be toxic, including:

  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • BPAs
  • Triclosan

These harmful substances have been linked to cancer, infertility, and physical and psychological disruptions. Additionally, synthetic antibacterial “soaps” are not biodegradable, making their use detrimental to the environment.

Using Castile Soap or Sal Suds for Home Cleaning

While triclosan has been removed from many body care products, it’s still found in numerous toothpastes, mouthwashes, hand sanitizers (but not in Dr. Bronner’s Organic Hand Sanitizers), surgical soaps, and especially home cleaning products [6]. As stated above, long-term exposure to these ingredients can disrupt hormones and contribute to antibiotic resistance. Additional synthetic, chemical ingredients typically found in home cleaners include:

  • Cloflucarban
  • Fluorosalan
  • Hexachlorophene
  • Hexylresorcinol
  • Iodophors
  • Methylbenzethonium chloride
  • Phenol
  • Secondary amyltricresols
  • Sodium oxychlorosene
  • Tribromsalan
  • Triple dye [7]

Instead of using cleaners with these ingredients, choose a soap like Castile Soap or surfactant like Sal Suds, which remove germs, bacteria, dirt, and grease. Sal Suds is a simple detergent rather than a soap, more concentrated and formulated for heavy-duty projects. 

Castile Soap and Sal Suds are effective cleaners on:

  • Kitchen counters
  • Bathroom counters & shower surround
  • All types of stone
  • Toilets
  • Painted surfaces
  • Wood tables and cabinets
  • Stainless steel appliances and sinks
  • Ceramic sinks & tubs
  • Doorknobs
  • Faucets
  • Carpets
  • Microwaves & ovens doors
  • Leather furniture (except suede)
  • Fiberglass
  • Plastic acrylic
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Upholstery
  • Car interiors
  • Pet bowls
  • Baby gear
And nearly anything that can get wet!
    Peppermint - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap Refill

    Peppermint - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap Refill

    The original! 18-in-1 uses! Dilute! Dilute! OK!!

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