Allergies and Cleanliness: How to Achieve the Right Balance
Recent research has suggested that people’s obsession with cleanliness may be to blame for the increasing rise of common allergies, prompting such occurrences as asthma, eczema and hay fever symptoms.
The science behind this assumption is the idea that our body’s mechanism and immune system has weakened because it lacks exposure to both positive and negative germs.
High standards of cleanliness are to blame, apparently. Of course, cleanliness can’t be the sole reason for the increase in allergies over the last two decades. Other factors include lack of exercise, the environment, genetics, antibiotics and our diets.
Just because cleanliness may or may not increase the presence of allergies within a household, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to stop maintaining a happy and healthy home. It simply means that you don’t overdo it with the cleaning regimes. Prioritise on kitchen and bathroom hygiene and keep the place looking tidy, but don’t relentlessly scrub each corner of the house every day of the week.
So, how can you tell if your home is too clean? And how can you achieve the right balance of cleanliness? Let’s find out.
Using a company to help with the cleaning is an option for both the busy housewife and many businesses. Whether it’s a seasonal deep clean, a regular monthly session or you’re a landlord arranging end of tenancy cleaning from Molly Maid, it’s important to provide the exact balance that you are looking for to sustain from ‘over-cleaning’. They are professionals and know exactly how to clean homes from top to bottom without increasing the risk of allergies developing. Obtaining the right proportion between cleaning and allergies is quite simple and can be achieved if you have the right team behind you.
The Science Behind the Theory
The idea that cleanliness has a direct link to allergies derived from a professor at the University of Montréal Faculty of Medicine – Guy Delespesse. He carried out a study to determine the relationship between allergies and the cleaning habits of modern society. While allergies can be caused by air pollution, stress, smoking, processed foods and family history, Professor Delespesse revealed that lack of bacteria could be a huge factor towards the recent increase in allergies.
According to the Telegraph, he said, “There is an inverse relationship between the level of hygiene and the incidence of allergies and autoimmune diseases”, stating that the more sterile the environment, the higher the risk of developing allergies or even a problem with the immune system.
Chemical Cleaning Influences
But the problem doesn’t just relate to the vigour of your cleaning regimes: the products you use are particularly important. Many cleaning products contain harsh, potentially dangerous chemicals that can trigger allergies. There may not be an immediate reaction but there will invariably be a build up of impact over a period of time that may affect people in different ways. Even if you don’t develop a visible allergy, there could still be unseen harmful impacts. Sprays can be particularly problematic as the chemicals are more likely to be ingested. According to Everyday Health, a recent study of more than 3,000 adults who did not have asthma began using cleaning sprays on a regular basis (more than once a week) and found that the cleaning solutions triggered asthmatic attacks. Glass cleaners, furniture cleaners and air fresheners are all potential candidates that could increase allergies and affect people who were never before troubled by such allergies.
There is now a wide range of eco-friendly cleaning products that are effective but don’t contain harsh chemicals. They sometimes appear to be a little more expensive than the products you are used to, but they tend to be very concentrated and are therefore often more cost effective than they initially seem. And for general dusting and light cleaning, microfibre clothe are a very effective and affordable option. If you use a cleaning company, always ask what systems and products they are using. Most will offer the option of an eco-friendly range, or would use your own much nicer products if you prefer.
Finding the right balance is crucial. It is important to allow your immune system to establish barriers and defence mechanisms against bacteria but it is also important to protect yourself from harmful germs as well. The right balance involves regular but not extensive cleaning. Keep your home clean but don’t overdo it.
Written by Patrick Vernon on behalf of Molly Maid