New research from the University of Adelaide shows the use of antibacterial soap could be cheaper, more effective and less risky than bleach.
A study by the University’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (CPPS) found people were less likely to have serious infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus when using antibacterial mouthwash than using regular bleach.
The study, which was published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, found the most common bacteria in the mouth was Pseudomyrmex, a Gram-negative bacteria found in warm water and fresh air.
The researchers say the results suggest people using antibacterials for cleaning their mouth and nasal passages may not need to have their nasal passages cleaned by regular hand washing.
The team says a simple bleach solution can be made to last for about five to seven days in the home.
But the study authors warn that people should also consider how the antimicrobial is applied.
The paper says antibacterial treatment may be more effective if used over a longer period of time.
The results could have implications for the industry.
A spokeswoman for the Australian Bureau of Statistics said the ABS did not provide statistics on the effectiveness of antibacterial use, and the ABS does not comment on studies.
The ABS said the use and shelf life of antimicrobial products varied.
“As part of the national approach to preventing the spread of infection, it is important that people are provided with information about the risks and benefits of using antimicrobial agents,” she said.
The ABC has contacted the Australian College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons for comment.