It’s now generally accepted that probiotics, which are usually taken to aid digestion, are good for us. Gradually, the world over, we have realised that we need bacteria to live, as they help us eat, prevent infection and generally protect us from the environment. However, still, when the word ‘bacteria’ is mentioned, it is natural for us to think of this micro-organism being harmful. But that is far from the truth!
The case of probiotics
Let’s take the case of the common household disinfectant that claims to kill 99.9% of all known germs. Here’s the real question – what is this doing to us? Our interaction with our environment is important, and slowly we’re learning to embrace Mother Nature instead of fighting her, and this is exactly the case with how we clean. Killing all bacteria does not aid in us being clean and healthy.
The rapid increase of hospital acquired infections and allergies tells us that something is very wrong. The use of stronger drugs and chemicals to provide infection control is simply not working. The ideal scenario would be a way to reduce the bad bacteria and encourage the good bacteria, and that is the proposition now being offered to us by using probiotic cleaning. But, it isn’t straight forward. It’s imperative that two things are understood when it comes to probiotic cleaning:
1) All bacteria are not created equal and therefore specific types need to be used to do certain jobs, and they must be benign to the environment and friendly to us.
2) The concentration of the bacteria must be sufficient to do the job.
Any company that cannot demonstrate both these points is highly likely to be selling un-researched, ineffective products. Normally, these will be at an exceedingly cheap price - it’s cheap for a reason.
Are they green?
I do not wish to talk about which chemical is green or not – since the topic has as many opinions as the rainbow has colours. So let’s approach it in another way. Our probiotic cleaners are not chemicals, they are non-toxic, non-hazardous and are eco-benign at all times and don’t even need gloves when being used – unlike almost all other cleaning fluids in the market.
Let’s dispel another myth, in the good old days, the ‘eco-friendly’ cleaning chemicals were generally a shadow of their conventional brethren when it came to cleaning power – those days are now gone. The performance of a quality probiotic cleaning fluid will match, and in most cases exceed, the performance of a like-for-like conventional product – and we can prove it. The idea behind probiotics is not a new one, but the ability to tailor cleaning products has only become a commercial reality in the last 10 years or so and has mainly been seen as a niche market and has had the price to match.
As many of these products currently need to be imported from thousands of kilometres away, it does question the overall green credentials of any product that must be transported over a considerable distance to market. Our newly commissioned production facility in Qatar goes a long way to readdressing this problem.
Is probiotic cleaning really good?
Rather than the usual sales pitch – here are some facts. A study, Hard Surface Biocontrol in Hospitals Using Microbial Based Cleaning Products Trials, published in September 2014 showed how the University of Ferrara in Italy carried out research over a one-year period taking over 20,000 samples in three different hospitals. It showed reduction in pathogens (bad bacteria) by over 60 per cent after two months of using probiotic cleaning liquids. This also showed a significant reduction in hospital acquired infections and the appropriate reduction in drugs costs for treatment. There are many such trials that are freely accessible on the internet, relating to allergies, hospitals, animal husbandry etc.
The National Exhibition Centre in the United Kingdom has used a high-quality probiotic exterior cleaner that has extended the outside cleaning cycle from less than one year to three years and counting. There was the added benefit that the probiotics helped to improve the clarity of the water in the ponds and fountains at the NEC.
The use of such cleaning liquids is still being explored but the usage of such products is not just limited to humans – animals can benefit too. Farms in Belgium and the Netherlands are currently using probiotics to clean poultry and livestock with the dramatic reduction in the use of antibiotics and better health of the animals. We have developed a specialist product for air conditioners that keeps the air healthy, prevents mould growth and treats the water condensate to help remove the green slime build up in the piping. We use this in connection with Deionized water pole cleaning of windows and facades. It is very cost effective and a world first. We even have a range for shipping and oil rigs as well as land remediation in the event of oil pollution.
The list seems endless. The future is bright, clean and green. All this from the oldest, smallest animals on earth ever present. All that is needed is to know where to look – and that help comes from Mother Nature.
About the Author: Douglas M. Barker is the CEO and Stuart Wright is the Managing Director of Clearafin, which has now relocated its Head Office to Doha, Qatar. Clearafin is a specialist company holding unique agencies from world class companies. But that’s not all, with decades of experience they take these products and evolve them into the exclusive offerings that are consistently evolving. They offer cutting-edge environmental solutions for the 21st century – with a little help from Mother Nature.