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!

Donielle Baker

Donielle Baker

owner and editor of Natural Fertility and Wellness at Natural Fertility and Wellness
I believe women can learn how to heal their bodies & balance their hormones through natural methods. An advocate for natural health, I have a passion for nourishing/real food nutrition and natural living. My personal background includes both infertility and miscarriage and I started Natural Fertility and Wellness in 2008 in order to share all of the information I found helpful in my journey to heal from PCOS and overcome infertility.
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
Many of the links on this site are affiliate links, which mean that the owner of the site may earn a small commission from your purchase through the company. We will not recommend a company that we do not purchase from ourselves and we thank you for your support. No contributor or author on this site is a medical doctor and the statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Read our privacy policy and full disclosure here.


  1. Simple in France

    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. Kate

    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. Kathleen Quiring

    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. Celia

    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. Deanna

    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. Lenetta @ Nettacow

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

  7. Lauren @ Hobo Mama

    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. Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

    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)

Fix your fertility naturally

Fix Your Fertility ebook
empowered charting ebook