AntiMicrobial Versus AntiBacterial Showers. What’s the Difference?

With the proliferation of products on the market, many customers are now asking what is the difference between antibacterial and antimicrobial showers? Which one is the best for my application? An easy question you may think, however some suppliers of so-called antibacterial showers struggle with the very basibacteria-in-dishc concept of what they are selling and may be best avoided as a knowledgeable potential supplier.

The terms “antibacterial” and “antimicrobial” are often used interchangeably and the two share some overlap, but that is where the similarities end. Antibacterial products kill bacteria—which is microscopic—therefore antibacterial should mean the same as antimicrobial, right? Unfortunately, that’s not how the differences actually play out.

Illnesses that come from pathogens fall under certain categories: bacterial, viral, or fungal. All of these are microbial, but only one of them is affected by antibiotics. Despite this, it can be easy to assume that proper protection can be acquired by antibacterial products alone, especially in a healthcare setting. After all, many of the common names in healthcare-acquired infections either belong to bacteria or are commonly caused by them: MRSA, strep, pneumonia, meningitis, E. coli, etc. However, antibacterial and antimicrobial products vary on many fundamental levels that can result in drastic differences in outcome.


Antibacterial and antimicrobial products are created with different goals in mind. Most antibacterial products most commonly offered by budget suppliers are surface applied and are more likely to be things like short-term use disposable products and are intended to target and kill common mild to moderate strains of bacteria. Although useful, antibacterial products often do not do anything to inhibit future growth and must be reapplied regularly.

In contrast, antimicrobial products such as Challis Ag+ showers are designed with an eye towards dealing with both surface-level bacteria and those that can thrive within the body itself. Additionally, a key part of antimicrobials is their ability to offer protection on an ongoing sustained effect basis over the broadest range of pathogens.


As mentioned above, antibacterial products only work on bacteria. Antimicrobials such as Challis Ag+ are able to address a much wider range of potential pathogens and kill viruses or fungi that they come into contact with. While this feature is not as important to the average person, it becomes highly crucial and a valuable addition in a healthcare setting. Many viruses and fungi are opportunistic and pose a heightened threat to anyone with a weakened or otherwise occupied immune system. Since this can describe a large portion of hospital patients, it is crucial that viruses and fungi are accounted for therefore the Challis Ag+ will be the natural safe choice.


One of the key methods of combating health care infections is the use of antimicrobial surfaces, such as Challis Ag+. As the name implies, these are surfaces that are designed to resist, inhibit, and/or kill pathogens that come into contact with them. Proper use of these products in showers, counters, doorknobs, bed railings, instruments, and other touch surfaces that can harbour pathogens will drastically cut down on risk to patients and staff alike.


Challis Ag+ Showers are the only units currently available with an Anti Microbial capability. Our Anti-Microbial Silver ion active ingredient is added during the manufacturing process and consequently is active throughout the unit. Alternatively, antibacterial showers, no matter what a supplier tells you, will only kill bacteria and will not kill viruses and fungi.

Basic antibacterial showers may come with an antibacterial active ingredient incorporated into the shower and some cheaper units come with an antibacterial spray applied to the outer surface.  These units will have a limited spectrum and limited lifetime and will not kill viruses and fungi. With this in mind, it always pays to ask the right questions of your supplier. If they say that their antibacterial showers will miraculously now kill viruses and fungi, they are either misleading our not understanding the basic concept of what they are selling, both of which responses should start alarm bell ringing as to their knowledge and competence.

So to ensure full protection across the broadest spectrum, from Bacteria AND Viruses & Fungi the Challis Ag+ antimicrobial will be the natural, full cover, safe choice. Providing twice as much protection as any antibacterial shower currently available on the market. For more details please visit our website