Cleaning with bacteria... What?

10 years ago, the thought of eating bacteria was unheard of..… today, healthy bacteria is promoted in health foods (fermented foods, yogurts, etc.) and sold separately in the form of probiotics.  This is because we now understand that not all bacteria is created equal and can most easily be categorized as harmful or helpful bacteria. The helpful bacteria is said to crowd out the harmful, giving it less room to colonize and take over the environment. 

When bacteria colonize together they form a biofilm. In nature, biofilm is a healthy part of the ecosystem, however it is not and should not be so welcome in your home.  For example the pink-orange stains you might see on your toilet or in your shower is a common form of biofilm, mostly comprised of the bacteria S. marcescens which is harmful to humans and not even bleach can break it down without harsh scrubbing. 

After scrubbing, you end up with a completely sterile surface, right?  Not so fast, similar to how antibiotics destroy both the harmful and helpful bacteria of your gut, this type of cleaning also destroys both types of bacteria, leaving the surface ripe for the recolonization of more harmful bacteria. The solution, cleaning your hard surfaces with probiotic cleaners, cleaners that after cleaning leave helpful bacteria behind to prevent and crowd out unwanted pathogens.  Interesting, right?  Two products have caught my attention, the cleaning spray and a room spray.

While we’re on the topic of bacteria, you’ll only need this one reason to break up with your kitchen sponge.  An infamous study out of Germany concluded that the average sponge could have up to 45 billion bacteria per square centimeter, far more than you’ll find on a toilet seat.  It is best to use a cloth with natural fibers, swapping it out daily and letting it thoroughly dry between uses.