We can’t disinfect the whole world, and yet some of us try to. Every surface we touch is populated with microbes and germs, but are they all really bad for us?
When we are somewhere like the grocery store, hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes makes sense. Who knows whether someone picked up a leaky container of raw chicken and left some juice on the handle. Or maybe that person has a cold or flu. In these situations, staying ahead of the germs by preventing them with chemicals is the best route to take. But in other scenarios, it is possible to overdo it, and be “too clean.”
Research has shown that with the increased use and development of antibacterial hand sanitizer and super powered home cleaning products has led to weakened immune systems and an explosion in childhood allergies and asthma. From 1997 to 2007, there was a nearly 20% increase in food allergies in kids. While kids that are exposed to more germs and microbes have been shown to have significantly lower rates of childhood allergies and asthma. For example, children who are more exposed to dirt and microbes, perhaps someone living on a farm or in a more rural area, are likely to have stronger immune systems.
So, how clean should we be? The most important aspect of home cleanliness is to be clean where it counts. The bathroom and the kitchen are the two areas of the home that are most likely to be populated with the bad kinds of germs. The microbes found in feces and raw meat (especially chicken), as well as unwashed produce, are some of the most harmful to our health. As a result, it is best to put the majority of our cleaning efforts towards these spaces.
In the bathroom, it is important to regularly wipe down or clean commonly touched spots, like toilet seats, toilet flusher, faucet handles, doorknobs, and light switches. In the kitchen, it’s important to fully scrub down cutting boards and countertops, and to regularly disinfect the sink and drain.
Although we may think we need to keep the floor squeaky clean, it might just not be the daily priority. And although we may want to disinfect the whole world, it may not actually be beneficial. Rather our focus should be on problem areas and situations. Anywhere you can get in contact with food or bathroom situations should be promptly treated as moments to disinfect. But our daily interactions with germs in the world should not be totally avoided, since they are proven to be more beneficial than harmful to our immune systems.
Here are some of our favorite eco-friendly cleaning solutions:
Or you can even make your own eco friendly bleach or vinegar cleaning solution.