Triclosan | Uses, Benefits, and Chemical Safety Facts


Triclosan is an antibacterial and anti-fungal agent that slows or stops the growth of germs such as bacteria and mildew.

In September 2016, FDA issued a new rule on the use of triclosan in consumer antiseptic hand and body wash/soap products.

Uses & Benefits

For more than 40 years, triclosan has been safely used as a material preservative in many commercial and institutional cleaning and personal hygiene products to prevent bacterial contamination of the product.

Safety Information

Triclosan has been used in consumer products for decades and has been extensively reviewed and permitted for use by regulatory agencies around the world. A variety of scientific studies conducted over the years support the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial ingredients.

In September 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new rule stating that over-the-counter consumer antiseptic wash products (antibacterial soaps) containing specific ingredients, including triclosan, can no longer be marketed because manufacturers did not demonstrate the efficacy of these ingredients in such products. The rule applies only to consumer antiseptic wash products/soaps that are intended for use as either a hand or body wash and does not affect consumer hand sanitizers or wipes, or antiseptic products used in healthcare and food handler settings.

FDA also cited concern that triclosan might contribute to development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. There, however, is an abundance of published studies finding that the use of antibacterial wash products in the home environment does not contribute to antibiotic or antibacterial resistance.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the use of triclosan as a pesticide when it is incorporated into inanimate materials to protect the article itself or to provide a public health benefit. EPA is in the process of updating its assessment of the effects of triclosan when it is used in pesticides. None of the EPA-regulated uses are affected by the FDA rule.

Answering Questions

For answers to questions and information about the safety and effectiveness of anti-bacterial ingredients like triclosan in soaps and other cleansing products, visit