You may already know how important taking a daily probiotic supplement is – but did you know that you can, and should, clean your home with probiotics? The truth is, many of the most common household cleaning products may not be healthy… In fact, some contain dangerous hormone disruptors and other potentially toxic ingredients.
What if you could get your home spic and span with good bacteria?! Sounds strange, but just as probiotics can help bring your digestive system into balance, they may also be able to do the same for your home.
The power of probiotics
The fact is, the natural “good bacteria” in your gut – those billions of friendly microorganisms that live in the body – sometimes can’t manage the battle against the “bad bacteria” alone. Stress, poor diet, illness, and taking antibiotics all contribute to an imbalance of the good guys in your gut flora, allowing more of the bad guys to take hold. So delivering probiotics, packed with billions of friendly bacteria, into your gut can help to swing things back into your favor.
Studies have continued to show that harmony in the gut flora could have a direct link to the immune system, potentially helping with all sorts of illnesses, from minor allergies to obesity, the flu, autoimmune conditions, and other serious ailments.1
A new frontier
Now the use of probiotics has reached another exciting new frontier – probiotic cleaning.
Many people have come to recognize the dangers of cleaning our homes with harsh chemicals and toxins. Aside from the contact reactions they can have on eyes, skin, and airways, some studies are linking household chemicals with major illnesses. 2 Not to mention, statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that show that every day, over 300 children in the United States are treated in an emergency department as a result of being poisoned in the home – many by toxic household cleaners. 3
In response to this, some households are turning “green” – and looking to natural home cleaning products. As wonderful as this sounds, not all green products are created equally. That is, they’re not all completely effective at truly eliminating disease-causing bacteria. And, that’s where our trusty friend, the probiotic, comes in. Because probiotics don’t just fight bad bacteria internally, they fight it externally as well.
Household cleaners vs. probiotic cleaners
Those harsh chemical cleaners may be effective at wiping out bad bacteria, but they also take out the good bacteria. If a label advertises that a cleaner is antibacterial, then it means that it’ll do just that – wipe out all bacteria – the good and the bad. But this creates an imbalance, much like in your own gut, leaving the potential for an overgrowth of bad bacteria – not to mention the health risks of the chemicals you’re cleaning with.
The overuse of antibacterial cleaners may also lead to the creation of drug-resistant superbugs, organisms that build up a tolerance to the chemicals trying to eliminate them. Interestingly, the FDA has now banned consumer antibacterial soaps and body washes, because manufacturers couldn’t prove that the ingredients were safe for daily use over a long period (the ruling didn’t apply to hand sanitizers, hand wipes, or health care settings).4
The other factor to take into account here is biofilm. Biofilms are a thin collection of microorganisms that can grow on different surfaces. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has noted that biofilms account “for over 80 percent of microbial infections in the body.”5 They’re also incredibly difficult to eliminate with antimicrobials such as antibiotics, antifungals, and disinfectants, like bleach. This means that your chemical household cleaners probably aren’t even killing the bugs that really matter. However, probiotic bacterium have shown that they’re capable of working their way through that biofilm. One study concluded that probiotic cleaning is efficient in not only controlling surface microbial contamination, but also in lowering drug-resistant species.6
How to use probiotic cleaners in your home
Probiotics are being used to clean kitchens, bathrooms, furniture, and even household air – and there are some good ones currently climbing into the marketplace. If you want to go one step further, you can try making your own at home. It’s cheaper, and you know exactly what you’re using – though you’ll need to allow some time for the fermentation period.
Fermenta offers this great DIY fermented probiotic cleaner recipe:
- 1 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 an orange
- Freshly filtered water or non-chlorinated water
Combine the mixture in a mason jar, and let sit for 4-8 weeks, or until all of the alcohol smell is gone and the smell is more like orange vinegar. To use, dilute with a ratio of 1 part cleaner to 3 parts water for a spray cleaner. Or dilute at a 1:10 ratio for other cleaning tasks. In general, fermenting lemons for long periods is a popular method of getting a solid DIY probiotic cleaning product.
A probiotic future
When you look at the evidence, it’s no wonder that probiotics seem to be taking over the world. While a large amount of our cleaning products still haven’t been adequately tested for long-term side effects, scientists and medical professionals have a knowledgeable relationship with probiotics, their abilities, and their effects – not to mention their health benefits. Probiotics not only have the ability to fight bad bacteria and protect us from disease, but they’re also able to keep our health in balance.
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