What hygiene products will kill bacteria?
Hygiene products, such as cleaning and disinfecting products, contain active ingredients that provide extra protection against a wide range of germs.

The hygiene products that will kill bacteria and viruses often contain chlorine compounds, hydrogen peroxide, triclosan, or alcohol. Industrial-grade hygiene products may contain phenol and related compounds.

Household products that have antibacterial, antiseptic, or antimicrobial properties include:

  • Soaps and detergents
  • Hand lotions
  • Disinfectants
  • Window cleaners
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Surface sprays
  • Mouthwashes
  • Toothpaste
  • Garbage bags and plastic wrap
  • Triclosan (an ingredient highly valuable in healthcare settings, such as hospitals, but one that's efficiency could be compromised by unnecessary domestic use)

Why is good hygiene important?

Good hygiene is the key to better health, confidence, and overall growth. Maintaining personal hygiene and cleaning the house regularly is essential to good health. Frequent handwashing and cleaning the surfaces in the home prevent the growth of germs and microbes in your surroundings.

How are hygiene products useful to control germs?

Hygiene products, especially cleaning and disinfecting products, contain active ingredients that provide extra protection against a wide range of germs, including those that may cause disease. The potency of the active ingredients helps them go beyond simple cleaning to destroy or control the growth of microbes. In addition to killing germs, these products, along with good cleaning habits and practices, can effectively prevent diseases.

Antibacterial compounds are formulated to interfere with the growth and reproduction of bacteria and are commonly used to keep surfaces in the home clean. Antibacterial agents are added to some soaps, detergents, skincare products, and household cleaners.

How do hygiene products contribute to antibiotic resistance?

The use of antibacterial hygiene products combined with the over-prescription of antibiotics may create bacterial strains that are resistant to disinfectants and antibiotics. This is caused by issues, such as:

  • Insufficient amount of antibacterial agents in these hygienic products to kill bacteria completely.
  • When exposed to these products, not all bacteria will die, some may survive and multiply. These bacterial strains can become potentially resistant.
  • Resistant strains of bacteria can be a threat to the community due to their increased infection risk in hospitals and other healthcare settings.
  • Disinfectants are often not used appropriately. They are not used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Triclosan can enter the environment and accumulate over time, leading to antibiotic resistance.

SLIDESHOW

Bacterial Infections 101: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments See Slideshow

What is the best alternative to antibacterial products?

Soap and water are effective alternatives to antibacterial cleaning products. The chemicals in soap help water flush the bacteria from the hands, which is usually enough to protect them from the germs.

Healthy households do not require any antibacterial products. Frequent hand washing using soap and housecleaning using warm water and a plain detergent is the cheapest way to get rid of microbes.

Avoid antibacterial products because they are not so cost-friendly, no more effective at cleaning, and their extensive use may pose a wider health risk.

5 ways to reduce the effect of harmful bacteria

The following five tips can help you reduce the effect of harmful bacteria:

  1. Wash and dry hands after using the washroom, blowing the nose, and before handling food
  2. Use disposable paper towels to dry hands instead of cloth towels
  3. Store cold food cold (below 41°F) and hot food hot (above 140°C) to hinder the growth of bacteria
  4. Keep raw foods below cooked foods in the fridge
  5. Clean washrooms regularly mainly the toilet seat, door handles, and faucet taps

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Medically Reviewed on 4/25/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Image

Aiello AE, Larson E. Antibacterial cleaning and hygiene products as an emerging risk factor for antibiotic resistance in the community. Lancet Infect Dis. 2003 Aug;3(8):501-6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12901892/

Science Direct. Hygiene Product. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/hygiene-product