Soap companies don't seem to think soap really gets people, or dishes, clean. About half the liquid soaps they sell in the United States are fortified with bacteria-killing chemicals.
Soap companies say an abundance of evidence shows that these products kill more germs than ordinary soap does. That's debatable, but it's not even the point. There's no benefit to killing germs unless the result is less illness. And there is no good evidence that antimicrobials protect people's health. And increasing evidence suggests they may help make germs more powerful.
Over the next year, soapmakers will have to either prove their germ-killing products are safe and effective or else take them off the market, the Food and Drug Administration has ruled. This mandate comes decades later than it should have; the FDA first drafted the order 35 years ago. It took a lawsuit from the Natural Resources Defense Council to force the agency's hand. Still, it is the right move.