Antibacterial liquid soap is a form of liquid soap which includes ingredients which are designed to fight bacteria. The efficacy of the soap can vary, depending on the ingredients and how it is used, with some killing up to 99% of bacteria, while others tend to be less robust. Many drug stores and markets carry antibacterial liquid soap, and it is also possible to obtain it from medical suppliers, or to make it at home, for people who are comfortable and familiar with soap making.
People use antibacterial liquid soap on their hands and bodies because they are concerned about the spread of bacteria, or because they want to prevent bacterial infections. In the case of handwashing, the soap reduces the number of bacteria on the hands, making it difficult to spread bacteria through direct contact or the handling of shared objects like doorknobs. On the body, antibacterial liquid soap can prevent Staphylococcus infections of the skin, and it is sometimes used to manage skin conditions like acne and sunburn.
Many hospitals utilize antibacterial liquid soap for handwashing because of the large numbers of germs which are naturally present, and increased concerns about the risk of spreading disease. Staff typically wash their hands between patients, and after performing tasks which might expose the hands to new bacteria. Schools and other facilities with large numbers of people sharing a space may also stock antibacterial liquid soap in the bathrooms to keep bacterial populations to a minimum.
Some people like to use antibacterial products at home because they are concerned about cleanliness. In fact, the members of a shared household tend to have the same bacteria, so the spread of bacteria is not a major risk unless someone comes home with a bacterial infection which could be spread to other members of the household. For management of skin conditions, however, antibacterial soap can be extremely useful.
The widespread use of antibacterial products has raised some concerns among medical researchers. Some people fear that frequent use breeds resistant bacteria, by killing off organisms which are vulnerable and allowing more virulent organisms to flourish. For this reason, it can be a good idea to change brands frequently so that the bacteria in an area do not become accustomed to a particular type of soap, and to remember to wash thoroughly with running water for at least 30 seconds. For people who don't feel like timing their handwashing, one recitation of the alphabet usually lasts around 30 seconds.