Antibacterial cleaners are no longer always necessary… The internationally renowned Robert Koch Institute in Berlin recently added probiotic surface cleaning to its new official recommendations for hospital hygiene and infection control. This exciting news shows that the benefits of probiotic cleaning over antibacterial cleaning are becoming more widely understood...
Institute Replaces Antibacterial with Probiotic Cleaning
The Robert Koch Institute recommendation to replace antibacterial cleaning chemicals for hygiene says:
“The use of probiotics on surfaces in medical facilities is an interesting approach because probiotic bacteria form a long-term stable microbiome, while the success of disinfection only lasts for a short time.”
The recommendation also refers to a study showing a 50% reduction in hospital acquired infections when using probiotic surface cleaning. With such impressive hygiene benefits, it was only a matter of time before the positives of probiotic cleaning became more widely known!
You can read more in the European Cleaning Journal HERE.
Probiotic vs Antibacterial Cleaners
Probiotic and antibacterial cleaning products work in different ways and have different impacts on health and the environment.
Way back in 2005, Professor Mark Spigelman from University College London Centre for Infectious Diseases and International Health suggested using probiotic cleaning as a weapon against the ‘superbug’ MRSA. He wrote that advanced antibiotics and anti-bacterial cleaners were killing off harmless bacteria, leaving space for other bacteria, including MRSA to settle:
“Probiotics suggested as weapon against MRSA. Professor Mark Spigelman from University College London recently proposed in the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons that washing hands with antibiotics may be killing off harmless bacteria, leaving space for other bacteria, such as MRSA strains to settle. “It must be remembered,” writes Spigelman, “that after almost 40 years, MRSA has not become widespread except in hospitals where we use the most advanced antibiotics and most rigorous antiseptic measures.” He supports research to investigate whether probiotic cleaning techniques (saturating the skin with “good” bacteria)–including the use of yogurt instead of antiseptic soaps would offer better protection against deadly germs.”
And Professor Spigelman’s words are still true today…
How do Antibacterial Cleaners Work?
Antibacterial cleaning products are designed to destroy or deactivate a wide range of microorganisms, including helpful and harmful bacteria. They typically contain chemical agents, such as disinfectants or sanitisers. This means that although they usually work quickly, the way they work can have serious consequences:
- Potential for resistance: The overuse and misuse of antibacterial products contributes to the development of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria. This is why antibiotics no longer always work and why people and pets can develop recurrent and resistant infections.
- Environmental concerns: Antibacterial agents negatively impact the environment. Chemicals reduce the quality of indoor air and most are lethal to aquatic life when they enter the water systems. Some persist in the environment and accumulate in living organisms, causing harm to wildlife and ecosystems.
- Elimination of beneficial bacteria: Antibacterial products indiscriminately kill both harmful and beneficial bacteria, which disrupts the natural microbial balance in an environment. This ‘nuclear bomb’ approach can lead to quick re-contamination by pathogens, sometimes in as little as twenty minutes. Disrupting the natural microbial balance in this way can lead to unintended consequences for health; good bacteria are essential for healthy immunity, good digestion and skin function.
- Allergies and respiratory irritation: Some people and pets are sensitive or allergic to certain chemical ingredients, which can lead to skin irritation, respiratory problems, or other allergic reactions.
- Harmful chemical ingredients: Long term exposure to some chemicals in antibacterial cleaners (such as Triclosan) is linked to potential health risks. Links to chronic illness, cancer, obesity, hormonal disruption and reduced fertility are well documented.
How do Probiotic Cleaners Work?
Our Provilan probiotic cleaning products contain plant-sourced beneficial bacteria (probiotics) that clean and maintain a healthy environment. The probiotics are naturally sourced from plants. They work in a fundamentally different way compared to antibacterial cleaners:
- Do not contribute to antibiotic resistance: Probiotics are live microorganisms that do not have a direct killing action and do not push harmful bacteria to mutate and develop resistance. Instead, they help to restore or maintain the natural balance of bacteria in an area. They promote the growth of “good” bacteria, which outcompete harmful bacteria for food and space, until no further pathogenic activity can occur. This helps to prevent the spread of infections and reduce the risk of diseases associated with harmful bacteria.
- Microbial balance restoration: Probiotics promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and help to restore or maintain a healthy microbial balance (the microbiome). This helps to create an environment where the overall diversity and population of microorganisms is more balanced. This balance helps to prevent the dominance of specific pathogens that are more prone to developing resistance.
- Eco-friendly and biodegradable: Our Provilan probiotic cleaning products use non-toxic ingredients and contribute to the overall reduction of chemical pollution. They are safe for indoor air quality and for aquatic life, are biodegradable and break down naturally. Unlike synthetic chemicals, they do not persist forever in the environment. They can even have a positive ecological impact because they support healthy microbial balance and contribute to the preservation of microbial diversity.
- Improved indoor air quality: Probiotic cleaners help to improve indoor air quality by reducing the levels of allergens and irritants. They break down organic matter, including dust mite faeces, pet dander, and other common allergens. This is beneficial for individuals with allergies, asthma, or respiratory sensitivities.
- Enhanced odour control: Probiotic cleaners can help control unpleasant odours by consuming organic matter that serves as a breeding ground for odour-causing bacteria. By breaking down these organic substances, probiotics eliminate the source of odours rather than masking them with chemical air fresheners.
A Combined Probiotic and Antibacterial Approach?
Although we are a strong advocate of ‘probiotic only’ cleaning, sometimes a combination of both approaches may be necessary. For example, commercial kennel cleaning may legally require a weekly antibacterial clean for targeted disinfection, but probiotic cleaners can then be used for routine maintenance.
Even using probiotics part of the time reduces chemical exposure for the people using them, pets and the local environment.
Further Reading on Antibacterial vs Probiotic Cleaning
Check out the links below for more scientific papers on the benefits of probiotic surface cleaning 👇
Follow the links below to find out more about the negative health and environmental issues around chemical cleaners 👇
⚠ Report on the negative effects of QUATs used in cleaning products
⚠ Cleaning products and child asthma link
⚠ Antimicrobial resistance caused by cleaning chemicals
⚠ Home cleaning products linked to child obesity due to gut microbiome disruption
⚠ Floor cleaner pollution same level as roads
⚠ Newspaper report on indoor air pollution and cleaning chemicals
⚠ Dangers of home cleaning products
Start Your Healthy Cleaning Journey Today…
Now is the time to improve hygiene and reduce your exposure to harsh chemicals linked to ill-health. There’s no reason to keep using chemical cleaners now that you no longer have to! Shop our range today and get started on your journey to sustainable, healthier, eco-friendly cleaning:
Our Provilan probiotic cleaning ranges with multiple diverse and complementary probiotic strains, are ready and available for you. There are three ranges for home, commercial and fitness centre use.