Does Homemade Soap Kill Germs?

We all know that antibacterial soap gets rid of germs. And currently, many people are buying them in big amounts, which leads to shortages. because of it, some people are trying to find an alternative to it. Would homemade soap be one?

Does homemade soap kill germs? The same as commercial soap, homemade soap does not kill bacteria. Instead, it removes them from your skin, together with oils and dirt on your hands, while antibacterial soap kills or stops their growth.

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Washing hands to get rid of germs became fundamental in 2020. All of a sudden we gave much more importance to it (and still do). But because of it, certain types of soap were sold out almost instantly, which lead to a soap shortage.

So, people had to find alternatives to it, one option could be the good old regular homemade soap. But the question is, does homemade soap have the same effect?

What does antibacterial soap really mean?

First, we need to know what antibacterial really means and does before going further, because there are some misunderstandings on this topic online. The way that antibacterial soap works is as follows:

Antibacterial soap (also called antimicrobial soap), works to kill microorganisms or completely stops their growth. Some time ago, Antibacterial soap used to have a chemical called triclosan, but the U.S.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned it because of research that suggested that it may impact hormones.
So bottom line, it kills bacteria and viruses or stops their growth entirely.

Is homemade soap antibacterial?

Homemade soap or natural soap removes the germs from your hands instead of killing them, so in a sense, it is antibacterial, but it does not kill them; it just removes them. To understand what it really does, we would need to talk a little about science.

Based on this lengthy article from Harvard University (which I recommend to read if you wish to know in detail how soap works), soap molecules wash bacteria and viruses away from your hands by loosening them.

Instead of only rinsing with water, using soap encourages you to wash longer so you can get the soap off your hands. The two combined is what makes soap do its job effectively, which is rinsing bacteria and viruses from your skin. 

Which is safer, homemade natural soap or antibacterial?

We already discussed how both of them work earlier. But there are some things we need to know in regards to antibacterial soap. While it does kill bacterias and viruses, it also kills the good ones.

What did you just say? Good ones? Yes, we have bacteria on our hands that are actually good for your skin. So, in the long run, this might not be such a good option. 

Some pros and cons when it comes to antibacterial soap:


  • It kills harmful bacteria and viruses (but be careful not to overuse).
  • If the hand sanitizer has at least 60 percent alcohol levels, you can use this as an alternative if you do not have any soap or water.
  • Antibacterial soap is especially useful in a place where the patient’s immune system is weak, such as hospitals.
  • In a veterinarian’s office or within a home with pets, antibacterial soap can be helpful for cleaning tasks. 

Cons of Antibacterial Soap

  • If you use too much antibacterial soap or products, it can also reduce the good bacteria.
  • Some antibacterial soaps may contain added chemicals that also removes natural oils, which leads to drier skin.
  • Using hand sanitizer or antibacterial soap may make people think they do not need to wash their hands regularly or thoroughly.
  • Although there is no evidence yet, decades of antibacterial soap usage may lead to antibiotic resistance.
  • Antibacterial soaps kill both good and bad types of bacteria. Killing the healthy one’s, maybe unhealthy in the long run.
  • Antibacterial soaps, in some cases, can be more expensive.

Although homemade soap does not kill bacteria or viruses, it does was them away (if you wash your hands correctly).
So, it is not such a bad idea to switch to natural homemade soap that is packed with ingredients derived from nature like coconut oil and olive oil, which are deeply nourishing even for sensitive skins.

These oils are both naturally antibacterial and get rid of dirt and germs without any ill-effects.
Also, coconut oil, shea butter, and olive oil have a host of skin-saving benefits. They moisturize the skin without clogging the pores.


  • Regular homemade soap is equally as effective as antibacterial soap
  • Handmade soap is much less expensive than antibacterial soap and hand sanitizers.
  • Regular soap does not kill good bacteria on your skin.


  • Homemade soap might not be as portable as hand sanitizers, which can be found in small bottles.
  • Because not everyone uses soap correctly, some people may not wash their hands thoroughly enough for regular soap to be as effective.

Below a video from CDC on how to wash your hands correctly:


Both of them have their merits; however, using one too much may cause you more harm in the long run. The ideal way, in my opinion, is to be in between. Stay for as long as possible with homemade natural soap, wash your hands correctly and thoroughly.

However, it would not be a bad thing to wash your hands from time to time with an antibacterial soap. Just make sure not to overuse. Having a bottle of sanitizer with you when you have no access to water is also a good option. But again, this is only if you really need to.

Wash your hands with natural products seems to be the best way to go; however, if one does not wash their hands correctly, they won’t have the desired effect.

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