Non-antibacterial plain soap
Regular hand washing with non-antibacterial plain soap removes bacteria and viruses by physical/mechanical means. Plain soaps act as a detergent to help remove loosely adherent bacteria and viruses; microorganisms are not actually killed by these products.
Antibacterial soaps for household use generally contain the active ingredient triclosan at concentrations between 0.1% and 0.45% weight/volume. Triclosan has varying effectiveness across bacterial and fungal species, and is less effective against viruses. A related compound, triclocarban, is used in antibacterial bar soaps.
Laboratory-based studies have shown triclosan at high concentration (1.0% weight/volume or higher) can reduce bacterial counts on the hands compared with plain soap.
However, community-based studies have shown that triclosan, at usual household concentrations of 0.1%-0.45% weight/volume, is generally no more effective than plain soap in reducing bacterial levels on the hands or in reducing infectious illnesses.
The benefits of household use of triclosan over plain soap have not been clearly proven and the data on its potential risks are conflicting. Some experts are now recommending reducing or even discontinuing the use of antibacterial household soap.