Can Washing your Hands Lead to Infertility?

According to an article published in the December 2007 Journal Endocrinology it can.

You see, an ingredient within many antibacterial soaps has been shown to interfere with our endocrine system. This ingredient you ask? Triclocarbon (or triclosan, and in some products referred to as microban), a common ingredient in many products. By some accounts Triclosan is found in75 percent of liquid soaps and 30 percent of bar soaps, as well as in toothpastes, acne creams, deodorants and lotions. It can also be incorporated into a wide range of consumer products like toys, cutting boards, toothbrush handles, hot tubs and athletic clothing.

In a study on human cells in the lab, triclosan seemed to increase gene expression that was normally regulated by testosterone. In rat studies organs that are dependent on testosterone (like the prostate) were enlarged. Both studies were done by The University California-Davis, and researchers concluded that unlike normal endocrine disruptors that bind to cell receptors, Triclosan actually amplifies the response of our naturally occurring hormones. This can lead to depression of  natural estrogen and androgen production.

Another study done by a molecular biologist at British Columbia’s University of Victoria, found that while triclosan isn’t in fact lethal in small doses, it can also affect the thyroid.

My advice: wash your hands with regular soap. Antibacterial soaps haven’t proven to be any more effective.

This post is linked to Katie’s Spring Cleaning Carnival (to which I am very late – it went up yesterday!) so if you’d like to read many other reasons why NOT to use antibacterial soaps, head over there to check them out by clicking on the picture above.

Also on the same note, if you haven’t read last weeks guest post “Sterilizing Life”, you should!

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

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About Donielle

Donielle is an amateur herbalist and natural momma to two littles (with another babe in heaven) after dealing with being less than fertile. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health.


  1. Great post. I had no idea that 1. triclosan was linked to infertility or that 2 it could be found in so many products. I was thinking it was just in the actual antibacterial soap. Thanks for the fantastic writing and research references.

  2. Very scary stuff. The more I read bits of information like this, the more I really dislike all those people who say “It’s just a few chemicals and there is no evidence of harm!” Seriously, are they BLIND?

  3. Man, it sure seems like all household products and foods are conspiring against me in my quest to have babies. Thanks for enlightening me! Yet another thing to chuck into the garbage.

  4. I did know this, a few months ago my RE ( reproductive endocrinologist) had a hand out for all his patients. I am glad you did a post about it.

  5. I never linked it in my mind to infertility… that’s interesting. I knew it could create super germs and that’s why I stopped buying antibacterial soap, except for the gel when I’m out and about and can’t wash. Still using up and weeding out a lot of my chemical laden personal care products (sigh) feels like I’ll never get there.

  6. Wow – so many things to consider with regards to infertility (something I struggle with). Thanks for sharing!

  7. Wow, I had no idea it was linked to infertility! I’ve long hated it for other reasons. It’s just so unnecessary to treat our homes like a surgical theater. But it’s so hard to find non-antibacterial liquid soap. I’ve found that dish soap is cheap and works a treat.

  8. Wow, yet aNOther reason to avoid the junk. Thanks for linking up – you don’t even lose points for coming in the next day. :) Katie (I stumbled ya)


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