The previous posters are right on the money!
The following article was published in this week's Dr. Weil's bulletin about a recent study published in the August 2007, edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases:
Plain Soap as Effective, Less Risky, than Antibacterials
"Antibacterial soaps show no health benefits over plain soaps and may render some antibiotics less effective, according to analysis done at the University of Michigan.
In the first known comprehensive analysis of whether antibacterial soaps work better than plain ones, a UM School of Public Health team found that antibacterial soaps at formulations sold to the public don’t remove any more bacteria from the hands during washing than plain soaps. Also, the main active ingredient in many antibacterial soaps - triclosan - may cause some bacteria to become more resistant to drugs such as amoxicillin, by fostering mutations that help bacteria keep their cellular walls intact. The study was published in the August, 2007, edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases.
I’m very concerned about the thoughtless proliferation of antibacterial soaps, which is essentially a marketing gimmick that does consumers no good and dumps tons of mutation-promoting chemicals into the environment. The current “superbug” news - that MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphlococcus Aureus) infections may be twice as common as previously believed - may prove to be just the beginning of a long siege by antibiotic-resistant infectious agents. If consumers don’t buy antibacterial soaps, manufacturers will stop making them, so remember: Plain soap and water are all you need to stay clean. "
***Personally, I've decided to stop buying those antibacterial soaps and dishwashing liquids. But I will keep a bottle of Purell hand sanitizer in my purse for when I use public restrooms (those places are just too scary and nasty).