Antibacterial Soap

Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums

Help Support Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums:

Water Boy 1

New Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2020
Messages
2
Reaction score
1
Location
Germany
Good morning, everyone,

I have a challenge. We are a small charity improving water quality in small remote villages in Uganda. We would like to introduce hand-washing into the schools that we work with. Since the water supply typically contains bacteria, we'd like to teach the villages to make their own soap from local materials, but add an antibacterial ingredient to improve hygiene. The villages are remote enough that purchasing the ingredient is impractical (nor don they have the money to buy it).

Any ideas? The materials for soap making are available in the villages. We should be able to produce things that are chlorine-based or vinegar-based. Alcohol-based might also be possible, but there is the potential for abuse if we went that route. Anyone have any experience in this area?

The Water Boy for WeDevWater.com
 

paragon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
45
Reaction score
20
Location
Hong Kong
Have you first verified that it makes a difference? My understanding is that the contact time is too short, so all you are doing is dumping an antibacterial agent into the water system.

What are the current best practices in solving this problem? You are not the first organization to help with water quality in Africa. What have the groups that went before you done that was effective in reducing actual disease? (Not in reducing bacteria on hands, which is not necessarily tied to a real world outcome.)

Note: you can make a great sanitizer by acidifying bleach, which allows you to use the bleach at a lower concentration. The agent for this can be vinegar. However, I'm not sure that fits into your plan, and it certainly can't go in soap due to instability. It would be good for rinsing dishes or hands, however. Time to kill is too slow to kill microbes on hands, but the water itself would be clean, and safe enough to drink the bit that remains in your glass after rinsing. The WHO formulation for hand sanitizer also contains just three ingredients in addition to water: alcohol (ethanol or isopropyl), glycerin, and a tiny amount of hydrogen peroxide. I'm not sure if that's useful if you have trouble getting chemicals, though.

Edit: iodophor can be made very cheaply from powdered povidone-iodine, citric acid, and water. (Vinegar could replace the citric acid if you are not making a concentrate, but the non-concentrated form has no shelf life.) I don't think the preparation is very convenient, but I thought I'd mention it. It's safe enough to put on cuts (diluted or not), and it works better when diluted a little. When diluted a lot, it is safe to get on dishes or ingest. Iodophor actually is added to soap (surgical scrub), but it would probably not be effective in soap unless the people are willing to wash their hands the way surgeons do (and they wouldn't).
 
Last edited:

Water Boy 1

New Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2020
Messages
2
Reaction score
1
Location
Germany
Have you first verified that it makes a difference? My understanding is that the contact time is too short, so all you are doing is dumping an antibacterial agent into the water system.

What are the current best practices in solving this problem? You are not the first organization to help with water quality in Africa. What have the groups that went before you done that was effective in reducing actual disease? (Not in reducing bacteria on hands, which is not necessarily tied to a real world outcome.)

Note: you can make a great sanitizer by acidifying bleach, which allows you to use the bleach at a lower concentration. The agent for this can be vinegar. However, I'm not sure that fits into your plan, and it certainly can't go in soap due to instability. It would be good for rinsing dishes or hands, however. Time to kill is too slow to kill microbes on hands, but the water itself would be clean, and safe enough to drink the bit that remains in your glass after rinsing. The WHO formulation for hand sanitizer also contains just three ingredients in addition to water: alcohol (ethanol or isopropyl), glycerin, and a tiny amount of hydrogen peroxide. I'm not sure if that's useful if you have trouble getting chemicals, though.

Edit: iodophor can be made very cheaply from powdered povidone-iodine, citric acid, and water. (Vinegar could replace the citric acid if you are not making a concentrate, but the non-concentrated form has no shelf life.) I don't think the preparation is very convenient, but I thought I'd mention it. It's safe enough to put on cuts (diluted or not), and it works better when diluted a little. When diluted a lot, it is safe to get on dishes or ingest. Iodophor actually is added to soap (surgical scrub), but it would probably not be effective in soap unless the people are willing to wash their hands the way surgeons do (and they wouldn't).
Have you first verified that it makes a difference? My understanding is that the contact time is too short, so all you are doing is dumping an antibacterial agent into the water system.

What are the current best practices in solving this problem? You are not the first organization to help with water quality in Africa. What have the groups that went before you done that was effective in reducing actual disease? (Not in reducing bacteria on hands, which is not necessarily tied to a real world outcome.)

Note: you can make a great sanitizer by acidifying bleach, which allows you to use the bleach at a lower concentration. The agent for this can be vinegar. However, I'm not sure that fits into your plan, and it certainly can't go in soap due to instability. It would be good for rinsing dishes or hands, however. Time to kill is too slow to kill microbes on hands, but the water itself would be clean, and safe enough to drink the bit that remains in your glass after rinsing. The WHO formulation for hand sanitizer also contains just three ingredients in addition to water: alcohol (ethanol or isopropyl), glycerin, and a tiny amount of hydrogen peroxide. I'm not sure if that's useful if you have trouble getting chemicals, though.

Edit: iodophor can be made very cheaply from powdered povidone-iodine, citric acid, and water. (Vinegar could replace the citric acid if you are not making a concentrate, but the non-concentrated form has no shelf life.) I don't think the preparation is very convenient, but I thought I'd mention it. It's safe enough to put on cuts (diluted or not), and it works better when diluted a little. When diluted a lot, it is safe to get on dishes or ingest. Iodophor actually is added to soap (surgical scrub), but it would probably not be effective in soap unless the people are willing to wash their hands the way surgeons do (and they wouldn't).
Thank you Paragon! We have numerous methods to improve water quality and making it bacteria-free; that's not the problem we have. It is my hope that posting in such forums as this will help us to reach groups that have dealt with the hand washing problem.

But you are correct, the contact time is the issue. Chlorine is great, but contact time is 1/2 hour. Most alcohol-based cleansers are much faster, but wouldn't really be practical for soap.

I'll have a look at the WHO hand sanitizer link. Maybe I can adapt something from that. I know we can produce ethanol locally, but there's a risk with that, because the same equipment can be used for other purposes and alcoholism is a problem.

Bleach we commonly produce, so if you have a link for what concentration we need, I can work from that.

Our actual impetus came from a nephrologist, recognizing the same issue as you did, no one is going to wash their hands as long as a surgeon does. Nevertheless, to quote Vince Lombardi “Gentlemen, we will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall catch excellence.” While searching for a final solution, I am hopeful we can obtain an improvement.

At this stage, I want to try for a couple of alternatives and then see what the local market has. Thanks for posting. It's a good starting point.
 

shunt2011

Moderator Emeritus
Moderator Emeritus
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
15,449
Reaction score
9,764
Location
Michigan
All soap is antibacterial pretty much. It cleans. It would be more important to make the soap with non contaminated water to begin with.
 

IrishLass

Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
17,494
Reaction score
11,372
Location
Right here, silly!
There's really no need to add an antibacterial agent to lye-based soap. The pH alone is naturally very inhospitable to bacteria. Plus, adding a chemical anti-bacterial agent opens up the Panda's box of creating even more resistant bacteria, making for a bigger problem. According to the Center For Disease Control here in the US, studies show that antibacterial soaps are no more effective than regular soap and water at ridding ones skin of disease-causing germs see https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-handwashing.html As a result of the studies, the FDA here in the US has (so far) banned at least 19 anti-bacterial agents from being used in products available for use by the general public here, such as soaps.


IrishLass :)
 

Nona'sFarm

Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
375
Reaction score
493
Location
Aylett, VA, USA
There's really no need to add an antibacterial agent to lye-based soap. T
Water Boy 1, that being said do you need a recipe for soap? If so, what do you have available to make soap? Common ingredients used in the US are lard, coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil, lye, distilled water. Basically one needs lye, water, and oil or fat. Different ratios of the fats/oils, combined with the correct amounts of lye and water will produce soap with attributes from extremely cleansing to extremely moisturizing.
 

paragon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
45
Reaction score
20
Location
Hong Kong
@Water Boy 1 Since my uses are different than yours, the best I can do is help you look up what you need. For bleach based sanitizers, first figure out what you want to do with it. You can't put it in soap, but can you wash down places that pathogens are transmitted? Next, you want to google that term along with "hypochlorite concentration". In the US I would google something like: "tinea pedis gym OR furniture hypochlorite concentration OR disinfection". Look for publications from universities and government agencies, as well as academic publications. You can read most academic publications for free on the author's web site, lib-gen or sci-hub. (Because many scientists HATE the for-profit journals, they pirate their own work and the work of their peers.) Once you have some research, look for a recommendation that reduces microbe populations below the level that is likely to infect in the time you are willing to keep contact. What is the concentration of hypochlorite/hypochlorous acid in PPM? You can make that concentration with bleach, then adjust the pH to 5.5-6 so most of the ions are converted to hypochlorous acid, which is a much more potent biocide. Or if corrosion is a big concern, skip this step but find research that specifically tests hypochlorite (the ion that exists in basic solutions). It will require a higher concentration.

There's not as much research on this, but a surfactant will help the disinfectant remain in more intimate contact with the surface.

And librarians are really good at this stuff. They can help you find the right questions to ask to get the answers you need.

Food for thought: sometimes a technological intervention isn't as powerful as a social or psychological one. You can provide the tools, but getting people to use them may be the bigger part of the battle, unless they are already on exactly the same page as you.
 

lisa10001

New Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2020
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
I wonder about this too. Many years ago, I had a dermatologist recommend the use of an antibacterial soap - like dial - to help control a Body Odor issue.

So, I really would like to have this option in my soaps. Everything I've read so far indicates that it isn't possible. I read a few things suggesting tea tree oil might help.

I have a few male customers that are hesitant to use the homemade soaps for the same reason.

What are your thoughts?
 

shunt2011

Moderator Emeritus
Moderator Emeritus
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
15,449
Reaction score
9,764
Location
Michigan
I make an Anise soap for a customer who suffers severe body odor issues who swears it is the only thing that helps. Can’t speak first hand but he buys 6-10 bars at a time.
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
13,681
Reaction score
20,157
Location
USA
Anise certainly works for that strong fishy odor that lingers on my hands after a day of fishing. I add anise to a little bottle of liquid soap and put that in my tackle box. Based on that, I can see how it might work well for other body odor issues.
 

Relle

Administrator & Bunny Fanatic
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Sep 23, 2010
Messages
12,170
Reaction score
4,243
Anise certainly works for that strong fishy odor that lingers on my hands after a day of fishing. I add anise to a little bottle of liquid soap and put that in my tackle box. Based on that, I can see how it might work well for other body odor issues.
Dh is an avid fisherman, I tell him that tip re the liquid soap/anise. As long as he doesn't use all my anise as I can't get the same one anymore that I like.
 
Top