Antibacterial ingredients in soaps may not be as helpful as you think, says new research.
See also: Laundry life hacks: Why you're doing your washing all wrong
According to a recent article by Ars Technica, scientists have found the common additives of triclosan and triclocarban could "increase the risk of infections, alter the gut microbiome, and spur bacteria to become resistant to prescription antibiotics."
Research led by Patrick McNamara with Marquette University found that bacteria became more resistant to antibiotics when exposed to any concentration of triclocarban.
He had also done previous work which showed a similar result with triclosan. And the latter additive may not even provide any additional benefit: A separate Korean study from September 2015 concluding that soaps containing the ingredient performed similarly to plain soap "when used under 'real-life' conditions."
McNamara tells Ars Technica that both ingredients are most effective during long scrubs, not the short washes most people do. He also found that they can have detrimental effects on wastewater treatment plants, but a viable solution might be available. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently revisiting the safety and efficacy of these antibacterial agents.