Summary: Sodium or potassium salts of long chain fatty acids. These detergent substances are obtained by boiling natural oils or fats with caustic alkali. Sodium soaps are harder and are used as topical anti-infectives and vehicles in pills and liniments; potassium soaps are soft, used as vehicles for ointments and also as topical antimicrobials.

Top Publications

  1. Xue R, Qualls W. Larvicidal activity of synthetic disinfectants and antibacterial soaps against mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus (Diptera: Culicidae). J Med Entomol. 2013;50:137-9 pubmed
    ..000053 ppm resulted in 90% mortality of the introduced fourth instar larvae of Cx. quinquesfasicatus in the outdoor pools. In laboratory and field bioassays, the antibacterial soap resulted in significant larval mosquito mortality...
  2. Luby S, Agboatwalla M, Feikin D, Painter J, Billhimer W, Altaf A, et al. Effect of handwashing on child health: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2005;366:225-33 pubmed
    ..Handwashing with soap prevents the two clinical syndromes that cause the largest number of childhood deaths globally-namely, diarrhoea and acute lower respiratory infections. Handwashing with daily bathing also prevents impetigo. ..
  3. Luby S, Agboatwalla M, Billhimer W, Hoekstra R. Field trial of a low cost method to evaluate hand cleanliness. Trop Med Int Health. 2007;12:765-71 pubmed
    ..Developing better measures of handwashing behaviour remains an important research priority. ..
  4. Greene L, Freeman M, Akoko D, Saboori S, Moe C, Rheingans R. Impact of a school-based hygiene promotion and sanitation intervention on pupil hand contamination in Western Kenya: a cluster randomized trial. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2012;87:385-93 pubmed publisher
    ..74-2.49). Efforts to increase usage of school latrines by constructing new facilities may pose a risk to children in the absence of sufficient hygiene behavior change, daily provision of soap and water, and anal cleansing materials. ..
  5. Biran A, Schmidt W, Wright R, Jones T, Seshadri M, Isaac P, et al. The effect of a soap promotion and hygiene education campaign on handwashing behaviour in rural India: a cluster randomised trial. Trop Med Int Health. 2009;14:1303-14 pubmed publisher
    ..However, the results do not exclude that changes in knowledge and social norms may lay the foundations for behaviour change in the longer term. ..
  6. Aiello A, Larson E, Levy S. Consumer antibacterial soaps: effective or just risky?. Clin Infect Dis. 2007;45 Suppl 2:S137-47 pubmed
    Much has been written recently about the potential hazards versus benefits of antibacterial (biocide)-containing soaps. The purpose of this systematic literature review was to assess the studies that have examined the efficacy of ..
  7. Grayson M, Melvani S, Druce J, Barr I, Ballard S, Johnson P, et al. Efficacy of soap and water and alcohol-based hand-rub preparations against live H1N1 influenza virus on the hands of human volunteers. Clin Infect Dis. 2009;48:285-91 pubmed publisher
    ..Appropriate HH may be an important public health initiative to reduce pandemic and avian influenza transmission. ..
  8. Ram P, Halder A, Granger S, Jones T, Hall P, Hitchcock D, et al. Is structured observation a valid technique to measure handwashing behavior? Use of acceleration sensors embedded in soap to assess reactivity to structured observation. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2010;83:1070-6 pubmed publisher
    ..These findings call into question the validity of structured observation for measurement of handwashing behavior. ..
  9. Luby S, Kadir M, Yushuf Sharker M, Yeasmin F, Unicomb L, Sirajul Islam M. A community-randomised controlled trial promoting waterless hand sanitizer and handwashing with soap, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Trop Med Int Health. 2010;15:1508-16 pubmed publisher
    ..Future deployments of waterless hand sanitizers may improve hand hygiene more effectively by targeting settings where soap and water is unavailable. ..

More Information


  1. Oughton M, Loo V, Dendukuri N, Fenn S, Libman M. Hand hygiene with soap and water is superior to alcohol rub and antiseptic wipes for removal of Clostridium difficile. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2009;30:939-44 pubmed publisher
    ..Handwashing with soap and water showed the greatest efficacy in removing C. difficile and should be performed preferentially over the use of alcohol-based handrubs when contact with C. difficile is suspected or likely. ..
  2. Curtis V, Cairncross S. Effect of washing hands with soap on diarrhoea risk in the community: a systematic review. Lancet Infect Dis. 2003;3:275-81 pubmed
    ..More and better-designed trials are needed to measure the impact of washing hands on diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections in developing countries. ..
  3. Edmonds S, Zapka C, Kasper D, Gerber R, McCormack R, Macinga D, et al. Effectiveness of hand hygiene for removal of Clostridium difficile spores from hands. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2013;34:302-5 pubmed publisher
    ..difficile. Our data suggest that surrogate organisms were not predictive of C. difficile spore removal. Four preparations were significantly more effective than tap water at removing C. difficile. ..
  4. Pickering A, Boehm A, Mwanjali M, Davis J. Efficacy of waterless hand hygiene compared with handwashing with soap: a field study in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2010;82:270-8 pubmed publisher
    ..01). The feasibility and health impacts of promoting hand sanitizer as an alternative hand hygiene option for water-constrained environments should be assessed. ..
  5. Savolainen Kopra C, Haapakoski J, Peltola P, Ziegler T, Korpela T, Anttila P, et al. STOPFLU: is it possible to reduce the number of days off in office work by improved hand-hygiene?. Trials. 2010;11:69 pubmed publisher Identifier: NCT00821509. ..
  6. Burton M, Cobb E, Donachie P, Judah G, Curtis V, Schmidt W. The effect of handwashing with water or soap on bacterial contamination of hands. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011;8:97-104 pubmed publisher
  7. Rabier V, Bataillon S, Jolivet Gougeon A, Chapplain J, Beuchee A, Betremieux P. Hand washing soap as a source of neonatal Serratia marcescens outbreak. Acta Paediatr. 2008;97:1381-5 pubmed publisher
    ..Identification and elimination of the nosocomial source and adherence to the infection control policies are essential to succeed in the containment of a nosocomial epidemic. ..
  8. Petrisor B, Jeray K, Schemitsch E, Hanson B, Sprague S, Sanders D, et al. Fluid lavage in patients with open fracture wounds (FLOW): an international survey of 984 surgeons. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2008;9:7 pubmed publisher
    ..Our objective was to clarify current opinion with regard to the irrigation of open fracture wounds...
  9. Huber M, Holton R, Terezhalmy G. Cost analysis of hand hygiene using antimicrobial soap and water versus an alcohol-based hand rub. J Contemp Dent Pract. 2006;7:37-45 pubmed
    ..The results indicate an alcohol-based hand rub protocol is less costly and less time consuming when compared to traditional handwashing in the dental setting, creating a new paradigm for hand hygiene in the dental office. ..
  10. Todd E, Michaels B, Holah J, Smith D, Greig J, Bartleson C. Outbreaks where food workers have been implicated in the spread of foodborne disease. Part 10. Alcohol-based antiseptics for hand disinfection and a comparison of their effectiveness with soaps. J Food Prot. 2010;73:2128-40 pubmed
    ..seem to be the most effective treatment against gram-negative bacteria on lightly soiled hands, but antimicrobial soaps are as good or better when hands are more heavily contaminated...
  11. Anglen J. Comparison of soap and antibiotic solutions for irrigation of lower-limb open fracture wounds. A prospective, randomized study. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2005;87:1415-22 pubmed
    ..This study was performed to compare the efficacy of those two solutions in the treatment of open fractures in humans...
  12. Chattman M, Gerba S, Maxwell C. Occurrence of heterotrophic and coliform bacteria in liquid hand soaps from bulk refillable dispensers in public facilities. J Environ Health. 2011;73:26-9 pubmed
    ..A total of 541 samples was collected from five U.S. cities. Liquid soap from dispensers in public areas was found to contain heterotrophic and coliform bacterial numbers averaging more than 106 CFU/mL in 24.8% of the dispensers. ..
  13. Ulukanligil M, Seyrek A. Demographic and parasitic infection status of schoolchildren and sanitary conditions of schools in Sanliurfa, Turkey. BMC Public Health. 2003;3:29 pubmed
    ..infections) and school survey form (including condition of water supply, condition of latrines, presence of soaps on the basins and presence of garbage piles around to the schools) were used for demographic, parasitic and ..
  14. Schmidt W, Aunger R, Coombes Y, Maina P, Matiko C, Biran A, et al. Determinants of handwashing practices in Kenya: the role of media exposure, poverty and infrastructure. Trop Med Int Health. 2009;14:1534-41 pubmed publisher
    ..Nevertheless, the strong association of handwashing with media ownership and exposure supports the view that mass media can play a role in hygiene promotion. ..
  15. Aunger R, Schmidt W, Ranpura A, Coombes Y, Maina P, Matiko C, et al. Three kinds of psychological determinants for hand-washing behaviour in Kenya. Soc Sci Med. 2010;70:383-391 pubmed publisher
    ..We suggest that those developing hygiene promotion programmes should consider the possible existence of multiple types of strategies for increasing hand-washing behaviour. ..
  16. Bode L, Kluytmans J, Wertheim H, Bogaers D, Vandenbroucke Grauls C, Roosendaal R, et al. Preventing surgical-site infections in nasal carriers of Staphylococcus aureus. N Engl J Med. 2010;362:9-17 pubmed publisher
    ..Nasal carriers of Staphylococcus aureus are at increased risk for health care-associated infections with this organism. Decolonization of nasal and extranasal sites on hospital admission may reduce this risk...
  17. Goiato M, Pesqueira A, dos Santos D, Zavanelli A, Ribeiro P. Color stability comparison of silicone facial prostheses following disinfection. J Prosthodont. 2009;18:242-4 pubmed publisher
    ..Disinfection with Efferdent did not statistically influence the mean color values. The factors of storage time and disinfection statistically influenced color stability; disinfection acts as a bleaching agent in silicone materials. ..
  18. Buffet Bataillon S, Rabier V, Betremieux P, Beuchee A, Bauer M, Pladys P, et al. Outbreak of Serratia marcescens in a neonatal intensive care unit: contaminated unmedicated liquid soap and risk factors. J Hosp Infect. 2009;72:17-22 pubmed publisher
    ..Prompt intervention and strict adherence to alcoholic hand disinfection were the key factors that led to the successful control of this outbreak...
  19. Dizon M, Galzote C, Estanislao R, Mathew N, Sarkar R. Tolerance of baby cleansers in infants: a randomized controlled trial. Indian Pediatr. 2010;47:959-63 pubmed
    ..Parents did not report any side-effects. All the three studied interventions used as whole body cleansers were efficacious and well tolerated by infants. ..
  20. Fuls J, Rodgers N, Fischler G, Howard J, Patel M, Weidner P, et al. Alternative hand contamination technique to compare the activities of antimicrobial and nonantimicrobial soaps under different test conditions. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008;74:3739-44 pubmed publisher
    Antimicrobial hand soaps provide a greater bacterial reduction than nonantimicrobial soaps. However, the link between greater bacterial reduction and a reduction of disease has not been definitively demonstrated...
  21. Garbutt C, Simmons G, Patrick D, Miller T. The public hand hygiene practices of New Zealanders: a national survey. N Z Med J. 2007;120:U2810 pubmed
    ..Future hand hygiene promotion should focus on males; on achieving adequate hand washing (using soap) and drying times; and on promoting drying times appropriate to the chosen method. ..
  22. Bowen A, Ma H, Ou J, Billhimer W, Long T, Mintz E, et al. A cluster-randomized controlled trial evaluating the effect of a handwashing-promotion program in Chinese primary schools. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2007;76:1166-73 pubmed
    ..2 days (P = 0.03) of absence per 100 student-weeks. Provision of a large-scale handwashing promotion program and soap was associated with significantly reduced absenteeism. Similar programs could improve the health of children worldwide. ..
  23. Vernon M, Hayden M, Trick W, Hayes R, Blom D, Weinstein R. Chlorhexidine gluconate to cleanse patients in a medical intensive care unit: the effectiveness of source control to reduce the bioburden of vancomycin-resistant enterococci. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:306-12 pubmed
    ..Cleansing patients with chlorhexidine-saturated cloths is a simple, effective strategy to reduce VRE contamination of patients' skin, the environment, and health care workers' hands and to decrease patient acquisition of VRE. ..
  24. Pesqueira A, Goiato M, dos Santos D, Haddad M, Ribeiro P, Coelho Sinhoreti M, et al. Effect of disinfection and accelerated aging on color stability of colorless and pigmented facial silicone. J Prosthodont. 2011;20:305-9 pubmed publisher
    ..The ceramic pigment presented greater color stability regardless of disinfection and period. On the other hand, the makeup pigment exhibited the highest values of chromatic alteration. ..
  25. Luby S, Halder A, Huda T, Unicomb L, Johnston R. The effect of handwashing at recommended times with water alone and with soap on child diarrhea in rural Bangladesh: an observational study. PLoS Med. 2011;8:e1001052 pubmed publisher
    ..These observations suggest that handwashing before preparing food is a particularly important opportunity to prevent childhood diarrhea, and that handwashing with water alone can significantly reduce childhood diarrhea. ..
  26. Hoque B. Handwashing practices and challenges in Bangladesh. Int J Environ Health Res. 2003;13 Suppl 1:S81-7 pubmed
    ..Although handwashing messages have been revised by most of the main programmes after these studies, there is scope for further improvement, as well as evaluation of their impact. ..
  27. Paulmann D, Becker B, Bischoff B, Steinmann E, Steinmann J. Comparison of virucidal activity of alcohol-based hand sanitizers versus antimicrobial hand soaps in vitro and in vivo. J Hosp Infect. 2012;82:277-80 pubmed publisher
    Three ethanol-based sanitizers were compared with three antimicrobial liquid soaps for their efficacy to inactivate polio-, adeno-, vaccinia- and bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) as well as feline calicivirus (FCV) and murine ..
  28. Weber D, Sickbert Bennett E, Gergen M, Rutala W. Efficacy of selected hand hygiene agents used to remove Bacillus atrophaeus (a surrogate of Bacillus anthracis) from contaminated hands. JAMA. 2003;289:1274-7 pubmed
  29. Boyce J, Pittet D. Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings. Recommendations of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee and the HICPAC/SHEA/APIC/IDSA Hand Hygiene Task Force. Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America/Association for. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2002;51:1-45, quiz CE1-4 pubmed
    ..Recommendations concerning related issues (e.g., the use of surgical hand antiseptics, hand lotions or creams, and wearing of artificial fingernails) are also included. ..
  30. Perencevich E, Wong M, Harris A. National and regional assessment of the antibacterial soap market: a step toward determining the impact of prevalent antibacterial soaps. Am J Infect Control. 2001;29:281-3 pubmed
    Consumer antibacterial soaps contain triclosan or triclocarban...
  31. Luby S, Agboatwalla M, Raza A, Sobel J, Mintz E, Baier K, et al. Microbiologic effectiveness of hand washing with soap in an urban squatter settlement, Karachi, Pakistan. Epidemiol Infect. 2001;127:237-44 pubmed
    ..26). Providing soap and promoting hand washing measurably improved mothers' hand cleanliness even when used with contaminated water. ..
  32. Gibson L, Rose J, Haas C, Gerba C, Rusin P. Quantitative assessment of risk reduction from hand washing with antibacterial soaps. J Appl Microbiol. 2002;92 Suppl:136S-43S pubmed
    ..Quantitative risk assessment is a valuable tool in the evaluation of household sanitizing agents and low risk outcomes. ..
  33. Rönner A, Berland C, Runeman B, Kaijser B. The hygienic effectiveness of 2 different skin cleansing procedures. J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs. 2010;37:260-4 pubmed publisher
    ..Both washing procedures resulted in a low level of residual bacteria on the skin. No-rinse cleansers can be safely used as an alternative to soap and water washing of fragile skin. ..
  34. Luby S, Halder A, Tronchet C, Akhter S, Bhuiya A, Johnston R. Household characteristics associated with handwashing with soap in rural Bangladesh. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2009;81:882-7 pubmed publisher
    ..3, 3.4) were associated with washing both hands with soap after fecal contact. Interventions that improve the presence of water and soap at the designated place to wash hands would be expected to improve handwashing behavior and health. ..
  35. Saisuburamaniyan N, Krithika L, Dileena K, Sivasubramanian S, Puvanakrishnan R. Lipase assay in soils by copper soap colorimetry. Anal Biochem. 2004;330:70-3 pubmed
    ..This assay is sensitive and it could be adopted to screen for lipase producers from enriched soils and oil-contaminated soils before resorting to isolation of the microbes by classical screening methods. ..
  36. Vernin A. [Soap and soap factories in Nyons in the 18th century]. Provence Hist. 2002;52:209-32 pubmed
  37. Seebacher C, Abeck D, Brasch J, Cornely O, Daeschlein G, Effendy I, et al. Tinea capitis. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2006;4:1085-91 pubmed
  38. Dubois A, Sinkala M, Kalluri P, Makasa Chikoya M, Quick R. Epidemic cholera in urban Zambia: hand soap and dried fish as protective factors. Epidemiol Infect. 2006;134:1226-30 pubmed
  39. Schmelzer M, Schiller L, Meyer R, Rugari S, Case P. Safety and effectiveness of large-volume enema solutions. Appl Nurs Res. 2004;17:265-74 pubmed
    ..Before recommending changes in nursing practice, further research is needed to determine the mechanism for the surface epithelium damage and to determine if this damage produces a stronger defecation stimulus and discomfort. ..
  40. Johnson A. Soap opera and winter itch: synthetic detergent bars (syndets) provide superior mildness compared with soaps. Skinmed. 2004;3:251; author reply 251-3 pubmed
  41. Kraiss H, Cullen E. Efficacy and nontarget effects of reduced-risk insecticides on Aphis glycines (Hemiptera: Aphididae) and its biological control agent Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). J Econ Entomol. 2008;101:391-8 pubmed
    ..axyridis. Additional studies will be necessary to elucidate the efficacy of these insecticides under field conditions. ..
  42. Shea A, Shaw S. Evaluation of an educational campaign to increase hand hygiene at a small animal veterinary teaching hospital. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2012;240:61-4 pubmed publisher
    ..Initial low rates of proper hand hygiene practices at baseline were improved substantially 2 months after implementing a low-cost multimodal educational campaign. ..
  43. Russo E, Sheth A, Menon M, Wannemuehler K, Weinger M, Kudzala A, et al. Water treatment and handwashing behaviors among non-pregnant friends and relatives of participants in an antenatal hygiene promotion program in Malawi. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2012;86:860-5 pubmed publisher
  44. Zachariae C. [Picture of the month: skin irritation]. Ugeskr Laeger. 2003;165:1786 pubmed
  45. Yazar K, Johnsson S, Lind M, Boman A, Liden C. Preservatives and fragrances in selected consumer-available cosmetics and detergents. Contact Dermatitis. 2011;64:265-72 pubmed publisher
    ..The product types studied were shampoos, hair conditioners, liquid soaps, wet tissues, washing-up liquids, and multi-purpose cleaners...
  46. Takeshita A. [Hygiene of handwashing]. Shokuhin Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2008;49:J-231-5 pubmed
  47. Rossato M, Unfer B, May L, Braun K. Analysis of the effectiveness of different hygiene procedures used in dental prostheses. Oral Health Prev Dent. 2011;9:221-7 pubmed
    ..Corega Tabs® must be used for 30 min of immersion to have a cleaning effectiveness similar to that of alkaline hypochlorite. ..
  48. Wolf R, Orion E, Parish L. A scientific soap opera and winter itch. Skinmed. 2004;3:9-10 pubmed
  49. Ojajarvi J. Alcohol handrubs v soap. Finnish experience shows that alcohol rubs are good for hands. BMJ. 2003;326:50 pubmed
  50. Wang P, Li J, Tian H, Ding X. Investigation of parabens in commercial cosmetics for children in Beijing, China. J Cosmet Sci. 2013;64:67-72 pubmed
    ..02% to 0.75%; 18 samples contained one kind of paraben with concentrations ranging from 0.002% to 0.06%. In this study, the contents of parabens in the 105 samples were all below the restricted levels. ..
  51. Burrowes V, Perin J, Monira S, Sack D, Rashid M, Mahamud T, et al. Risk Factors for Household Transmission of Vibrio cholerae in Dhaka, Bangladesh (CHoBI7 Trial). Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2017;96:1382-1387 pubmed publisher
    ..These findings emphasize the need for water treatment interventions targeting this high risk population. ..
  52. Racicot M, Kocher A, Beauchamp G, Letellier A, Vaillancourt J. Assessing most practical and effective protocols to sanitize hands of poultry catching crew members. Prev Vet Med. 2013;111:92-9 pubmed publisher
    ..This can be done by using a degreasing cream or water and soap. Based on the survey, catching crew members preferred using warm water and soap compared to a degreasing cream...
  53. Rastogi S, Zachariae C, Johansen J, Devantier C, Menne T. Determination of methyldibromoglutaronitrile in cosmetic products by high-performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. Method validation. J Chromatogr A. 2004;1031:315-7 pubmed
    ..The method is suitable for compliance testing of cosmetic products as well as for the research to support clinical and epidemiological studies. ..