Common IFN regulatory factor 5 (IRF5) variants associated with multiple immune-mediated diseases are a major determinant of interindividual variability in pattern recognition receptor (PRR)-induced cytokines in macrophages. PRR-initiated pathways also contribute to bacterial clearance, and dysregulation of bacterial clearance can contribute to immune-mediated diseases. However, the role of IRF5 in macrophage-mediated bacterial clearance is not well defined. Furthermore, it is unclear if macrophages from individuals who are carriers of low IRF5-expressing genetic variants associated with protection for immune-mediated diseases might be at a disadvantage in bacterial clearance. We found that IRF5 was required for optimal bacterial clearance in PRR-stimulated, M1-differentiated human macrophages. Mechanisms regulated by IRF5 included inducing reactive oxygen species through p40phox, p47phox and p67phox, NOS2, and autophagy through ATG5. Complementing these pathways in IRF5-deficient M1 macrophages restored bacterial clearance. Further, these antimicrobial pathways required the activation of IRF5-dependent MAPK, NF-κB, and Akt2 pathways. Importantly, relative to high IRF5-expressing rs2004640/rs2280714 TT/TT immune-mediated disease risk-carrier human macrophages, M1-differentiated GG/CC carrier macrophages demonstrated less reactive oxygen species, NOS2, and autophagy pathway induction and, consequently, reduced bacterial clearance. Increasing IRF5 expression to the rs2004640/rs2280714 TT/TT levels restored these antimicrobial pathways. We define mechanisms wherein common IRF5 genetic variants modulate bacterial clearance, thereby highlighting that immune-mediated disease risk IRF5 carriers might be relatively protected from microbial-associated diseases.