What troubling times we are living through. No, we are not talking about the pandemic. We are talking about our utter shock at realising how many grown adults need to be taught how to properly wash their hands. While you might be getting enough reminders on hand hygiene, we thought we would clear out some confusion around how to keep your home clean.
Know your basics
During this time of extreme panic, we see people reaching out for harsh chemical cleaners. Antibacterial products do not kill viruses. Antibacterial hand soaps or cleaning products will not protect you against the Coronavirus. You can take a breather and stop panic-buying antibacterial soaps, cleaners and wipes. They will do more harm than good.
Does alcohol kill harmful germs?
Yes, hand sanitisers with over 60% alcohol-content are effective in killing some, but not all, bacteria, fungi and viruses. However, washing your hands with soap and water is more effective. Now that we are staying indoors in lockdown, there isn't a reason to use on-the-go sanitisers. We were having sleepless nights worrying about the mountains of hand sanitiser plastic bottles that will soon land in our oceans. Did you hear that the FDA issued a warning to hand-sanitiser manufacturer Purell to stop making false claims that their product prevents the spread of infectious diseases?
Is all bacteria harmful?
Bacteria have a bad reputation and probably need help with rebranding - or perhaps a new publicist. We are surrounded by trillions of microorganisms that co-exist with us in a symbiotic relationship. This includes bacteria that live on our skin and in our bodies. Not only are the majority of microbes harmless, they are actually essential as they aid in breaking down food and more importantly, protect our bodies from getting invaded by harmful pathogens. Healthy microbes in the gut will boost the body's natural defence and immunity.
Studies suggest that the rise of chronic illnesses, autoimmune diseases, and allergies can be attributed to our need to constantly clean with harmful chemicals and pesticides. Toxic chemicals that claim to kill 99.99% of germs will most certainly kill the beneficial microbes. In reality, killing 99.99% of anything is a marketing ploy to play on people's fears.
Soap and non-toxic surfactants (fancy word for soap) used in our non-toxic cleaning products are more effective as they actually break down the cell membrane of harmful bacteria.
RISE OF THE SUBERBUG
Chemical anti-bacterial agents can cause human resistance to antibiotics and give rise to bacteria that can resist many antibiotics. This means, if you ever need to use an antibiotic to treat a bacterial infection, it will not be as effective. Excessive exposure to antibacterials should be avoided for the same reason you wouldn't routinely pop antibiotic pills when you feel well. In fact, a few years ago, the United States banned antibacterial hand soaps and the use of chemical disinfectants in other products such as wipes and sanitisers is under review. No such ban currently exists in the UK.
Mind blowing fact: You can spend hours wiping down your kitchen surfaces with harsh antibacterial chemicals, but in the end, it is a pointless exercise as the bacteria will simply recolonise and repopulate from a single cell, just 20-minutes later.
Are the pesticides in cleaning products harmful?
Triclosan, triclocarban and benzalkonium chloride are common chemical antibacterial agents or pesticides found in hand soaps and cleaning products. These chemicals are also linked to significant health issues such as hormonal imbalance, endocrine disruptions and obesity in children (Harvard Medical School).
Triclosan is present, not just in antibacterial soaps and cleaning products, but also in wipes, bin liners, kitchenware, kids toys and active-wear that claims to kill bacteria and odour. The current hypothesis is that over time, our exposure to these chemicals is a lot more than we originally thought. Remember, when antibacterial products are washed down the sink, the chemicals pollute our water-ways, not only impacting marine life but eventually finding their way back up our food chain.
Trust the experts - How to clean your hands properly?
The NHS recommends washing hands frequently with regular soap and water. Soap, when used correctly with water, will wash dirt, bacteria and viruses off your hands, lowering the risk of illness. Keep your surfaces clean with our non-toxic spray cleaners made with ingredients that are safe for humans. Avoid anti-bacterial products unless prescribed by a doctor for a medical reason.
Stay safe x