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Soap vs. Antibacterial Cleanser

December 3, 2013, 5:23 PM by Brittany Larson

The flu season can be a reminder to make sure you wash your hands to avoid getting sick. But if you're using antibacterial cleanser, you may want to wash them longer than you think.

When using antibacterial cleanser, health experts recommend washing your hands for at least two minutes. If you're not spending that amount of time, then plain soap may actually be the smarter choice. That’s because in order for antibacterial cleansers to work properly, they need to come in contact with the bacteria for a longer period of time to actually kill the germs.

When using soap, be sure to scrub your hands when you wash because the friction will help loosen the unwanted dirt and germs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hand sanitizers are not as effective if your hands are already dirty. In fact, health experts say there is now enough evidence to suggest that not washing your hands long enough with antibacterial cleansers can actually create "superbugs", also known as antibacterial-resistant bacteria.

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