Are We Really Safer With Everything Antibacterial?

While doing research on the benefits offered from the various ingredients used in the natural products carried in the shop, I discovered something in common with nearly all ingredients; they are anti-bacterial or antimicrobial. That in and of itself was intriguing to me. How can so many plants, herbs etc in nature be so, well, protective for us? But, I'll save that question for another explorative post. That is going to require much more research.

First, I started questioning what the difference between the two was; I also threw in Anti-fungal, just because. 

Let's break it down. 

 ANTI-MICROBIAL 
An agent that kills microorganisms, or stops their growth. 

ANTIBACTERIAL (Definition from Merriam-Webster.com)
Directive or effective against bacteria.
Able to kill bacteria.

ANTI-FUNGAL
Used to prevent fungal growth (this one is pretty self-explanatory).

The main difference between antimicrobial and anti-bacterial is simply the range of microorganisms they work on; antimicrobial works on a broader range of bacteria, fungi, mold, mildew. Antibacterial, as the name suggests, is specific against bacteria. 

Unless you live in a hospital environment, soap and warm water, maybe some vinegar (don't mix soap with vinegar! find out why here) does the trick just as effectively. Your home does not need to be and shouldn't be "hospital sterile." Why? Some microbes are actually good for us, they help build our immunity to the world around us. Highly effective marketing has convinced us otherwise, that we need super cleaning products filled with (harmful and unnecessary) chemicals to have a truly clean environment. That isn't necessarily true.  

However, during the last couple years, an increase in frenzied fearful sanitizing and disinfecting has us emptying store's shelves of disinfecting products. It is true, in these times stronger solutions are a necessary step as Covid wages war, this virus is indeed harder to kill. Washing our hands with warm water and soap are effective enough, the agitation of the scrubbing aids in the disinfecting. For surfaces, unless we really scour, that agitation is not there. 
Use a diluted solution of water and bleach to disinfect toys, or a straight 3% hydrogen peroxide solution or 70% or greater rubbing alcohol to wipe down frequently touched surfaces is more effective. 


Note: isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol is less harsh on the skin (that's why it's recommended as a hand sanitizer vs hydrogen peroxide). 

Tip! Mix aloe vera with a rubbing alcohol and a few drops of your favorite essential oil to make your own perfectly effective DIY hand sanitizer. 

 

RESOURCES

https://www.microban.com/antimicrobial-solutions/overview/antibacterial-vs-antimicrobial

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/antibacterial-cleaning-products#soap-and-water-is-just-as-effective-as-antibacterial-cleaning-products

https://www.uchealth.org/today/ins-and-outs-of-disinfecting-coronavirus/#:~:text=A%20straight%203%25%20hydrogen,quick%20in%20disinfecting%20coronavirus.

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