ANTIBACTERIAL cleaning products are not generally necessary as you can usually get the same effect by thorough washing, consumer group Which? has said.
Germ-killing products such as handwash and laundry cleansers are now a multimillion euro seller, but experts say they aren’t needed in many situations.
Which? asked scientists to assess five antibacterial products.
They concluded that the same effect could be achieved in many situations by a simple method such as thorough handwashing or that people were unlikely to become ill anyway.
They said that people could get the same effect in killing bacteria and viruses from 30 seconds of thorough handwashing with soap as from using Dettol and Carex handwashes.
Regarding Dettol Antibacterial Laundry Cleanser – which is used in addition to detergent – they said that while bacteria and viruses could survive on clothing there was not much evidence people got infections from clothes apart from hospital MRSA.
When it came to Fairy Eucalyptus Antibacterial Action washing-up liquid, Which? said that standard washing-up liquids would also kill bacteria and the Fairy product had only been tested by its makers against washing with water alone.
Which? said that Savlon hand wipes would probably protect against germs but it wasn’t clear to what extent, and they wouldn’t work against colds and flu.
Savlon said its claims were consistent with the legal requirements for a cosmetic rather than a medicine and were based on its two antiseptic ingredients.
Carex said that consumers did not wash their hands as frequently or as well as they should and its product was more effective and faster acting than ordinary soaps.
Fairy said the microbiological efficacy of its antibacterial washing-up liquid had been fully tested and it gave important extra protection on sponges which could harbour unwanted germs, with tests against water relevant.
Dettol said that not all soaps effectively killed bacteria, but its handwash killed 99.9pc of them. It said that washing clothes at lower temperatures saved energy but may not kill bacteria effectively, whereas its laundry cleanser killed 99.9pc.