Washing hands with soap

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My mum and I are having a disagreement about using soap. I think there is no problem with it. She thinks it harbers bacteria and an antibacterial hand wash should be used, as wet soap will just let bacteria grow on it. Who is right. Hope it's me.lol


-- Alison Homa (alisonhoma@aol.com), October 28, 2001


Alison: antibacterial soap is considered the bane of our environment and health by many scientists. This is because the antibacterial soap does not distinguish between bad and good bacteria. As you know, your body depends on good bacteria for many things--among them to digest your food. When all this antibacterial stuff is put down the drain, thus the water and the environment--there is alot of havoc.

One of my kids is allergic to soap and it worried me that she was being exposed to more germs if she didn't use it. Our skin doctor advised that by washing and scrubbing with warm water and using a clean towel she would be just as healthy. I must say that that is true. She is just as healthy as the rest of us.

Our bodies need to build resistance and we can do this by being clean yet allow for some introduction of viruses and bacteria.

That said...Listen and respect your mother. When you are living on your own you may do as you wish:)

-- Ann Markson (tngreenacres@hotmail.com), October 28, 2001.

Yes, don't use anti-bacterial soap. We tried it when it first came out and my kids hands were just raw. Now we just use plain soap, usually a bar, but sometimes liquid, but not the anti-bacterial kind.

Heard on Oprah that you should wash your hands with soap for as long as it takes you to sing Happy Birthday. Most people do not wash with soap long enough.

-- connie in nm (karrelandconnie@msn.com), October 28, 2001.

resturant and such switch from bar soap to liquid, because if you didnt wash long enough, you COULD get the germs from the last person. Yes bar soap CAN harbor germs on the surface only, hence,, wash longer, or just get a liquid dispencer and you both could be satisfied. Now IM wondering if homemade lye soap has germs on it

-- stan (sopal@net-port.com), October 28, 2001.

Thanks everyone. Just as I thought the anti bac is causing more trouble than good. Ann I feel flattered. I've been married twelve years, and have three children and long stopped living with my mother. It was just another one of those typical family discussions we have in our family.



-- Alison Homa (alison@mullacottfarm.co.uk), October 28, 2001.

OK, in microbiology class in 1993 or so, we learned that biological membranes, including bacteria shells, are made up of a phospholipid bi-layer which good old soap can dissolve, thereby lysing (breaking the membrane of) the bacterium. Some bacteria are tougher than others, and some people are more susceptible to problems caused by bacteria, but for most folks, regular soap is as good or better than antibacterial soap.

Here's a link to an interesting article on the subject:


-- Laura Rae Jensen (lrjensen@nwlink.com), October 28, 2001.

ha, ha Alison. Then you have my permission to do as you wish...

-- Ann Markson (tngreenacres@hotmail.com), October 28, 2001.

The germs that are growing on your bar soap are hopefully all your family's germs that you all have antibodies against. Someone with a weakened immune system who is not with you on a day by day basis - such as transplant pts, cancer pts, etc, might pick up your germs and have a virulent case of something, I would keep liquid dish soap or baby shampoo handy for the rare visitor with a weak immune system. Non Anti Bacterial is fine.

-- Mitzi Giles (Egiles2@prodigy.net), October 28, 2001.

There are probably more bacteria (germs) on the family hand towel than on the family bar of soap. When I cook for others I use a separate towel that no one else is allowed to touch. If you don't care to sing Happy Birthday, Row Row Row Your Boat is long enough.

-- Bonnie (stichart@plix.com), October 28, 2001.

This is one of those things that I don't know where I read it, but I've read that liquid soap can have far more germs growing in it than could grow on the outside of a bar. Perhaps because liquid soap is less pure, containing more water?

-- Elizabeth in E TX (kimprice@peoplescom.net), October 28, 2001.

I work for the post office and we were told to wash our hands for three minutes - they didn't specify what type of soap.

-- Carolyn (carolyn2u2000@yahoo.com), October 28, 2001.

Don't know about the liquid or bar soap being any better than another but it is with the soap and the rubbing for a good few minutes that will reduce the germs on hands and rub between your fingers and nails too !! Also, don't touch the faucets on outside bathrooms with your clean hands !! Use the paper towel after your have dried your hands to do that, you'll just get the germs back onto your hands. I know that the water will have to be wasted for that short time. Now if all they have are the dry heat dryers...don't know what to tell you. They did a check of sorts at my husbands job the other day on the time clock and found urine on the clock...someone isn't washing their hands after going to the bathroom !!! Just remember to wash !!

-- Helena (windyacs@npacc.net), October 28, 2001.

And then after you don't touch the faucets and the towel and the door handle and your clothes and everything else. Then, with a clean (don't use the outer one) paper towel you can pick up the telephone receiver and make an appointment with your local shrink for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Sheesh. Wash your hands. Use a relatively clean towel. We are going to "AAAAUGH, GERMS!" ourselves into a glass bubble. Gotta have SOME bacteria to build immunity. We are, as Americans, gonna quietly kill ourselves obsessing on how much/many germs there are.

-- Gailann Schrader (gtschrader@aol.com), October 29, 2001.

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