Is homemade soap antibacterial?

Can you really get rid of germs with homemade soap?  Many people think that making your own soap at home is the best kind because it doesn’t have any harsh chemicals. But are they right? Is homemade soap antibacterial? The answer might surprise you. 

We all know that antibacterial soap might not be good for your skin. It’s full of chemicals and can cause a variety of negative reactions, but how do you get rid of germs without using harsh chemicals?

Homemade soaps are not antibacterial. They do not kill germs. Homemade soaps only have the same functions as any other kind: removing dirt and germs by “bonding” with them. This happens when we wash our hands after using it or rinse off down the drain.

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Many people turn towards natural cleaners like vinegar or dishwashing liquid because they’re safe alternatives to traditional cleaning products full of harmful ingredients such as bleach, which could irritate sensitive skin and lead them to end up drying out more than before due to its acidic pH level.

Making your own soap at home would be a great solution. But is it possible to avoid the chemicals that are in most commercial soaps and have antibacterial benefits while also being able to make them without using any harsh or wasteful materials?

Does homemade soap kill germs?

Homemade soap is similar to commercial soap in one factor: they don’t kill germs at all. Instead of killing the germs, soap “bonds” with them so you can get rid of them as you rinse your skin to clean it.

With that being said, it doesn’t truly matter that much if the soap you use kills the germs or not. According to institutions, such as the USA’s Center for Disease Control, you can avoid getting sick by washing your hands with regular soap regularly. Hence, even if homemade soap doesn’t kill germs, it still does its job pretty well.

However, please note that it also depends on the recipe you’ve used. For example, ordinary homemade soap doesn’t include any ingredient that kills germs and harmful bacteria. On the other hand, you can find recipes that include bacteria-killing agents that will keep your hands safe. We have a few recipes below that are excellent for this purpose.

What about antibacterial soaps?

Research has found out that antibacterial soaps are no different than traditional soaps when it comes to killing germs, bacteria, and viruses. There’s no real evidence about these soaps’ effectiveness, regardless of the circumstances where you use them. 

On the other hand, antibacterial soaps often include drying and cheap ingredients that can cause harm to your skin – plus, they need to act in your hands for at least two minutes to affect bacteria. Most experts recommend using plain soap at home or at a business to eliminate all the bacteria someone might have. Antibacterial soaps are only recommended during specific circumstances by health care providers.

You can find out more about the best soap to kill bacteria and how to make safe and powerful antibacterial soap in easy steps in the next sections.

Is soap naturally antibacterial?

The short answer is no. If you’re using natural soap, the only real pro over commercial soap is that it doesn’t dry out your skin thanks to glycerin, which is a natural moisturizer. However, both have the same function: reducing the tension that your skin and bacteria have created. Hence, when you rinse your skin, the soap goes off along with all the bacteria, germs, and viruses that your skin has accumulated throughout the day.

With that being said, bacteria will only make you sick if they find a way to penetrate your skin or any other via (such as your mouth or eyes). So, since the soap you can find in store dries out your skin, it will be easier for these damaging agents to penetrate the skin’s layers. 

Which soap kills most bacteria?

Washing our hands has become a prominent part of our lives due to the ongoing COVID-9 pandemic. However, it’s a habit that most of us must adapt to avoid colds, the flu, and many other diseases. If you wash your hands for about 20 seconds a few times a day, you’ll reduce the illness risk by a considerable percentage. However, how can you be sure that the soap you’re using is the best option for killing germs and bacteria?

For this section, we’ll present the best soaps based on their effect on bacteria. This way, it’ll be easier for you to choose what option you have at home.

  1. Traditional soap

As mentioned, the commercial soap found in most shops is the best option to get rid of bacteria. Although it doesn’t necessarily kill bacteria, it will bind together with them and will scare them away out of your skin as you damp your hands or any other body part, for instance.

So, even though commercial soap does NOT kill bacteria, it’s the best option to get all these harmful agents out of your hands. It’s also more affordable than most options in the market.

  1. Antibacterial soap

We’ve mentioned already that there is no proof that none of the components found in antibacterial soap do kill bacteria. Thus, it’s no better than standard soap in this regard. However, certain antibacterial soaps certainly are efficient in their primary purpose, although you’d need to have them for about two minutes in your hands to truly “kill” the bacteria.

Therefore, traditional soap and antibacterial soap are the same options with different names and prices.

  1. Hand sanitizers

Although this option isn’t necessarily soap, it’s actually the best option for killing bacteria at the moment. Since these products are based on rubbing alcohol (known for being the best at killing germs and bacteria), it’s easier for them to kill bacteria as long as you use a considerable quantity to keep your hands damp for about thirty seconds.

What can I use instead of antibacterial soap?

An excellent option to use instead of antibacterial soap is hand sanitizer, for the reasons explained above.

Still, it’s recommended to use standard soap in most households unless otherwise advised by a professional. If you’re going to be outside your home, it’s also advised to carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to keep your hands clean from the bacteria you acquire from all the objects you touch throughout the day. 

But I would strongly suggest limiting the amount of time you use a sanitizer. The reason is, they might also kill the good type of bacteria that are living on your skin and, in fact, protects your skin. 

How do you make homemade hand sanitizer?

Since washing your hands is necessary more than ever, most people prefer DIY options instead of commercial ones. We’re describing two recipes in this article, and the first one is for homemade hand sanitizer. As it’s the best and most accessible option to kill any bacteria that your hands may carry, making one yourself can give you more sense of security as you know all the ingredients it contains.

Ingredients and utensils

The following recipe only requires minimum effort and takes less than five minutes to complete. Plus, the ingredients and tools you’ll need either have them at home or can purchase them at any local store for an affordable price.

Although the ingredients are different, you’ll need the same tools to complete each recipe, which include a measuring cup and measuring spoons, as well as a whisk. If you prefer the WHO formulation, try to find an empty spray bottle. If you prefer the gel formulation, you’ll need an empty lotion; alternatively, you can use a sanitizer container.


There are two possible options here: you can follow the WHO formulation or opt for the gel formulation. Both options are good, and we’ll explain how to make each one separately.

WHO formulation

The following ingredients are those listed in the hand sanitizer formulation provided by the World Health Organization. 

  1. 99% Isopropyl Alcohol: 1 Cup
  2. 3% Hydrogen Peroxide: 1 Tablespoon
  3. 98% Glycerin: 1 Teaspoon
  4. Sterile distilled water or boiled cold water (either option works wonderfully): ¼ a cup or 65ml
  • Pour the alcohol in a container – You can use a pouring spout to ease the process. Please try to use 99% alcohol; otherwise, your product will not comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s regulations for hand sanitizers.
  • Pour the hydrogen peroxide into the container.
  • Now, add the glycerin and mix – Glycerin has a different composition than alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. it’s thicker than them, so you’ll need to stir them all together to make sure they bind with each other. You can help yourself with any utensil you have near, but make sure it’s clean.
  • Add the water – Once the previous ingredients are well-mixed, it’s time to add the water. You’ll need ¼ of a cup of either of the options mentioned above (distilled water or boiled cold water). Once you’re finished, stir again until well-mixed.
  • use some of the extra alcohol you have to sanitize the spry bottles. Let the alcohol sit on the container and wait for a while until it has evaporated. Once it’s dry, put the newly made sanitizer in the container.
  • You can now label your bottles, so everyone knows what’s inside the container. Now you can go around the city not worrying about the germs remaining in your hands when you come home.

Gel Formulation

The following ingredients are meant to be used for the gel presentation.

  1. 91% Isopropyl Alcohol: 1 Cup
  2. Aloe Vera Gel (commercial or natural): ½ a cup
  3. Tea tree oil or any other antibacterial essential oil you prefer: 15 drops
  • use a pouring spout to pour the alcohol into a container – For this presentation, it’s necessary to use 91% isopropyl alcohol – otherwise, it will end up being weaker. In addition, it won’t meet the CDC’s standards. 
  • Pour the aloe vera gel – You can use the commercial version or the gel taken from the plan if you’d like to keep things as natural as possible. Natural aloe vera gel won’t go bad in this recipe as alcohol is an excellent preservative. However, if you use the natural option, you’ll end up making a stickier gel, and therefore, you’ll need to rub your hands more than usual so they can absorb the whole thing.
  • Essential oil – The next step requires you to add the optimal amount of essential oil, which we already mentioned earlier: 15 drops. If you’d like a powerful antibacterial, you can use tea tree oil, but we’re aware that the smell is not attractive for everyone. If you don’t like it, you can use any other essential oil type, such as eucalyptus.
  • Whisk all the ingredients – Stirring won’t mix all the ingredients together as aloe vera gel is extremely think. So instead, use a whisk to beat all the ingredients until you’ve created a homogenous gel.
  • Sanitize your containers by using alcohol and pouring the antibacterial gel into them. Now you’re ready to go!

What ingredient makes soap antibacterial?

In the past, it was believed that triclosan was the active agent that prevented the growth of bacteria and, sometimes, fungi. However, according to recent studies, antibacterial soap has been disregarded as an effective option to kill bacteria than plain soap. The U.S Food and Drug Administration prohibited the usage of this ingredient and triclocarban (another common component found in antibacterial soap, which was also associated with antibacterial properties) and many other components due to lack of evidence regarding their effectiveness.

Although many sources have recommended antibacterial soap to prevent COVID-19, there is no proof that its components provide a better effect than plain soap. Ironically, early research has found evidence that using commercial antibacterial soap can be prejudicial to health.

Nowadays, there are many alternatives to antibacterial soap that you can use if you’d like to prevent skin dryness and to spend too much money on a product that doesn’t actually work.

How do you make antibacterial hand soap? 

Commercial antibacterial hand soap has been proved to be ineffective. However, natural options are actually effective as they contain ingredients that are better for your skin and keep your hands safe from germs in the long term. Here’s a recipe you can follow to make your own antibacterial hand soap in five minutes.


  • Green soap – Green soap is used in medical facilities and tattoo studios, to mention a few examples. It has excellent sanitizing and cleaning properties. Plus, it’s oil-based and is environmentally friendly.
  • Distilled water – Don’t worry if you don’t have distilled water nearby. Alternatively, you can use boiled cold water.
  • Neem oil – Neem oil is an excellent moisturizer, but it can be expensive. So, you can replace it with olive or coconut oil.
  • Optiphen Plus – You need a preservative for the antibacterial hand soap as the recipe contains water. This paraben-free option will keep the new hand soap as good as new for a long time. Still, it’s an optional ingredient, but you can use other means to extend the antibacterial hand soap’s life.
  • Essential oil – Tea tree and lemon are excellent options as they have antibacterial properties.  Grapefruit’s good too, but you’re free to choose any other scent you like.
  • Soap dispenser – You’ll store the antibacterial soap here.
  • OPTIONAL: Vitamin E Oil – If you’d like the soap to have an even greater effect on your skin, you can add this too.


This recipe will only take you a few minutes to complete. Plus, all the ingredients are affordable, and you can find them easily at any local pharmacy. 

  • Find a tall mixing bowl, and pour the water you’ve got at hand (distilled or cold boiled water).
  • Put all the ingredients together in the bowl, and use a whisker to mix. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender with the whip attachment. Do this for a couple of minutes. 
  • It’ll result in a foamy compound, but if you let it sit for a while, it will disappear.
  • Once the foam has dispersed, you can pour the hand-made antibacterial soap into a soap dispenser. You’re done! Place it anywhere you find convenient. 

Is natural soap safer than antibacterial soap?

We’ve already discussed how antibacterial soap does practically nothing to your skin and might be the cause of dryness. On the other hand, natural soap is an excellent option as it contains several ingredients that help moisturize your skin and keep them healthy.

Furthermore, some of the ingredients found in antibacterial soap are excellent for sanitizing and cleaning, especially green soap. 

If we take this information into account, we can conclude that natural soap is safer than antibacterial soap. It’s also a less expensive option; plus, it only takes five minutes of your day to make it, regardless of the quantity you need. 

Many studies have evidenced that antibacterial soap is no different than plain soap in any aspect. Hence, the recipes found in this article are excellent to keep your hands safe from all the germs and bacteria we come in contact with every day.

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