Chemical-only cleaners are formulated with caustic harmful agents. These are often mixtures of ammonia compounds and formaldehyde that can result in respiratory disorders, bacterial resistance and death. There are environmental consequences that impact the anatomy and physiology of terrestrial and aquatic organisms, soil and aquatic habitats. Beyond that, the potential induction of antibiotic resistance represents a highly undesirable side-effect of chemical cleaning because it allows re-infection on surfaces within as little as 30 minutes.(Martínez-Peña et al., 2013; Bello et al., 2009)
To understand how any cleaning product works, it is important to know that dirt is composed of layers of fine film made up of grease, oils, fats, bacteria, germs, dust mites, non-organic material and organic microorganisms. These films are bonded to each other and to surfaces by amino and fatty acids. Conventional chemical cleaners remove only the top layers of the film; the base layers are left to collect ‘bad germs’ within minutes, resulting in spaces that are never truly clean or safe.
Thanks to increasing consumer demand for safer, more effective cleaning products, there are now alternatives to traditional disinfectants. Once such option is microbial cleaners.
The overall rationale for using microbes is similar for all types of products. Spores germinate on surfaces, producing specific enzymes that safely degrade dirt, food residues, grease and other objectionable matter (or soil) and bad odors. The enzymes are like ‘knives and forks’ cutting up the bacteria and germs into little pieces for the microbes to digest in the same way that food is broken down in the stomach into harmless fatty acids.
Microbial enzymes clean more effectively because they digest the host material where dangerous germs and odor-causing bacteria live and they leave the beneficial bacteria untouched. Microbes remain on surfaces for days, preventing harmful germs from growing back. Traditional cleaners, in contrast, only emulsify (mix together) these films, which means harmful bacteria can reappear within 30 minutes.
Microbial cleaners are also safer than their conventional counterparts because they use simple and organic ingredients like corn, baking soda and sugar, along with a microbial/ enzyme blend that is naturally existing and not modified or manipulated in any way. Unlike abrasive chemical cleaners, they are non-corrosive to surfaces and machinery.
More importantly, there are no side effects to their use, whereas most conventional chemical cleaning products contain corrosive ingredients that can irritate eyes, skin and the mucous membrane and cause allergic reactions. In addition, long-term exposure can increase the risk for dermatitis and asthma, birth defects, lung disease and cancer.