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Antibacterial Cleaners Are More Harmful Than Good

By Sherri Z. Jones

When I was growing up, we cleaned everything with hot, soapy water. When we cleaned the bathroom, the kitchen, anything. We got a bucket of hot water, poured some dish soap in it, enough to get some suds going, and we cleaned. No problems. No one got violently ill as a result.

Today, we have antibacterial soaps and sprays. They all seem to have that orangish iodine color to them. Maybe we associate that color with disinfectants. I don't know. When we are done in the kitchen out comes the spray bottle and all the counters get sprayed down and wiped clean. You can stand back and see the shine. What you can't see are the millions of bacteria that you have just killed. The claim is that the antibacterial sprays will kill 99.9% of the bacteria. Well, that leaves.1% of the bacteria that wasn't killed. Hmmm, what happened? You want to kill ALL of the bacteria don't you?

What happened is what is known simply as survival of the fittest. Only the strongest of the bacteria survived. In the 1950's we started to see the effects of penicillin lessen. The "bugs" were starting to build an immunity to the penicillin. When you use antibacterial sprays and soaps you are putting yourself in a similar situation. You are breeding a stronger organism. Over exposure of any antibacterial agent to the bacteria themselves allow this resistance to happen.

So, the next time you pull out that spray bottle, you may want to ask yourself what kind of bacteria you want on your countertops. after all, the bacteria will always be there. You can do nothing about that. You just need to decide if you want normal bacteria... or genetically superior bacteria. This is why I still use hot soapy water. It works just fine.

About The Author

Sherri Z. Jones is co-owner of


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