Choosing safer soap

This article was originally published in January 2017

CleanWell Hand Sanitizing Wipes, CleanWell Sanitizing Orange Vanilla Spray, Dr. Bronner's Organic Lavender Hand Sanitizing Spray, and Moon Valley Organic Mint Lavender Hand Soap

Last year when the Food and Drug Administration banned triclosan and 17 other antibacterial ingredients from hand and body washes, there was no panic at PCC. We long have recognized the potential negative effects of these chemicals harmful to human health and the environment — even before the ban, they weren’t allowed in products at our stores. Instead, the products on our shelves offer safe antibacterials from plants.

Alcohol, botanicals and essential oils all can fight microbes. The chemical compounds in essential oils, such as terpenes, ketones and phenols, have been studied as antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral. Some even contain properties to encourage new cell growth while repairing skin damage. Tea tree is an essential oil known for its antifungal properties, but other essential oils — lavender, bergamot, peppermint — contain antibacterial compounds as well.

Three of our favorite cleansers at PCC

  1. CleanWell Hand Sanitizing Wipes and CleanWell Sanitizing Orange Vanilla Spray: These products were developed by a scientist and a family whose son has a rare immune disorder. While seeking to protect their vulnerable son, CleanWell soaps and sanitizers were developed. They’re free of any harsh chemicals and alcohol-free. Ingredients include soothing aloe vera, the potent antibacterial Thymus Vulgaius, and oregano and other essential oils.
  2. Dr. Bronner’s Organic Lavender Hand Sanitizing Spray: Dr. Bronner’s, a family-owned natural products company, pioneered clean, organic soaps and continues to stand for fair trade and workers’ rights. The simplicity of Dr. Bronner’s Sanitizing Spray appeals to a broad spectrum of customers.
  3. Moon Valley Organic Mint Lavender Hand Soap: This family-owned, B-Corp company near Arlington, Washington, supports the surrounding organic farms when making their lovely body care products. This foaming hand soap has antibacterial essential oils. Look for more antimicrobial formulas in Moon Valley’s other foaming liquid soaps and bar soaps.

An FDA advisory committee found that using antibacterial soaps provides no benefits over plain soap and water.

Also in this issue

PCC Board of Trustees report, January 2017

November board meeting, 2017–2018 Board of Trustees applicant slate, Next board meeting, and more

Letters to the editor, January 2017

Animal welfare, Pure éire Dairy, Organic Farm School, and more

Organic standards updates

The National Organic Standards Board considers and makes recommendations on a wide range of issues involving the production, handling and processing of organic products. Read about its recent decisions regarding hydroponics, carrageenan, xanthan gum, beta carotene and marine algae.