This is not an excuse to stop cleaning altogether, but experts are finding out that it is possible to over-clean your home. Dr. Nancy Snyderman explained to NBC’s Brian Williams that cleaning too much could remove vital germs from your home leading to a lifetime of allergies. This is especially the case for children who are over-protected from germs at home — when they get out more, their bodies do not know how to react normally.
The Too-Clean Theory
Our idea of being too clean originates from the “hygiene hypothesis” developed by Professor David Strachan in 1989. His theory was that a rise in allergies and childhood infections came down to children being kept too safe from household germs. It is thought that exposure to good and bad germs in our first few years is actually good for us and especially our immune systems. Our bodies need to have a good balance between these germs to have a healthy lifestyle. It is most important of all for this balance to be maintained in our guts and on our skin.
Are Modern Cleaning Products Harmful?
It is impossible to clean to such an extent that all germs are killed. Furthermore, modern hygiene standards have helped produce the healthiest generations of our species and have helped us live longer than ever before on average. This means Professor Strachan’s theory might not be completely correct. What we do know, however, is that some cleaning products are harmful to us. America currently allows more toxic substances than many other countries in its cleaning products including formaldehyde, ammonia, and sodium lauryl sulphate. These cause more problems to our health—and especially those of our children and pets—than over-cleaning. It is therefore recommended that you examine cleaning labels clearly, avoid these substances, and look to alternative ways of cleaning your home.
Safer Alternatives for Cleaning Your Home
Safe cleaning products do exist – ones that can be ingested and are environmentally friendly. These include such basic products as lemon juice, warm water, bicarbonate of soda, and white vinegar. All are used in cooking and baking, so are totally fine. With a combination of these you can wipe down surfaces, clean fabrics, and even clean a dirty oven or unblock a sink. Therefore, it’s vital to continue to keep to modern hygiene standards while not being afraid to let your kids explore and get a bit mucky.
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