Stores today fill their shelves with an overwhelming amount of .

About 75 percent of liquid soaps are currently .

labeled as "antibacterial". It has become a battle against germs and arsenals .

in our homes are growing rapidly. We smear, scrub, and spray in an effort to .

be germ free. The old saying, " and don't forget to wash your hands." has .

taken on a whole new meaning. .

Is antibacterial soap really better than the old-fashioned regular soap .

and water? The antibacterial agent of these soaps is triclosan, and less .

commonly used, triclocarban. The National Soap and Detergent Association, .

an organization representing about one hundred and thirty North American .

manufactures of cleaning products, claims that washing hands with this .

ingredient results in less bacterial growth on the skin. The Food and Drug .

Administration (FDA) on the other hand, does regulate these components, but .

doesn't support claims that antibacterial soaps are superior to regular soaps. .

In an independent, double-blinded experiment, caretakers of two .

hundred and twenty two New York City households were instructed to use .

either regular, or antibacterial soap for the period of one year. Neither .

caretakers nor investigators knew who had used what. .

This experiment concluded that all of the participants had less germs on their .

hand, regardless of what soap they were using. Therefore, frequent simple .

hand washing is sufficient to kill bacteria. In order for triclosan to work .

properly on the surface, people would have to wash their hands for at least one .

minute. Most people are not that patient, and wash their hands off before the .

substance can do its job. "In fact," said Elaine Larson, PH.D. R.N. associate .

dean for research at the Columbia university school of nursing, "It makes you .