"Sanitize it all" or "Bring on the dirt"

Cassie - posted on 03/05/2010 ( 40 moms have responded )

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When it comes to your children and your home/belongings, do you tend to clean and sanitize everything or not?

It seems that sanitizing and cleaning away bacteria via antibacterial cleaners has become a major part of the cleaning industry. Almost all cleaning commercials talk about the importance of sanitizing and wiping away all bacteria from the surfaces in our home that our children come in contact with.

Where do you stand on this? Are you one to buy anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners and make sure to sanitize your children's toys and everyday objects they use or do you allow them to naturally build up tolerances to these bacterias in your home?

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40 Comments

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Caitlin - posted on 04/28/2010

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Terri - your son is going to grow up to have expensive taste,. after all escargot (snails) are quite the fancy and expensive dish.. *shudder*

Sharon - posted on 04/28/2010

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I forgot to mention that he thinks all the soap in this house is antibacterial. I use the old bottles but refill from different bottles. lmao..

Sharon - posted on 04/28/2010

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My husband is a germ freak. He's convinced cats are dirty just because they ARE cats. Dogs too.

He's tried to convince me for years that cats & dogs are foul and don't belong in a home. I pointed out that he walked through the front yard with his shoes where wild birds, our dogs and mice & rats scamper SHIT, then walks into my house.

I use bleach to clean my bathrooms. One bathroom has antibacterial soap, the other does not. My kitchen dish soap is not antibacaterial.

Because of the ducks, chickens, parrots etc outside, we have LOTS of mice. We occasionally use poison to control them, mostly we use traps. But those bring disease. So after handling cages and other things where we know the mice & rats have been, I insist on HOT WATER & antibacterial soap after those things.

But just general play in the yard, no, just hot water & soap.

Terri - posted on 04/28/2010

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I was pedantic with the first baby in sterilizing his dummy if he dropped it. By baby 4 I brushed it off or rinsed in under water and that was that!

Bring on the dirt in this household!

My son was sucking on snails at 2 years of age! Now try sanitising them???

We have 4 cats and 2 dogs and the baby crawls around on the floor, putting whatever in her mouth. My kids have hardly been sick in their lives bar the odd cold.

Then there is my friend who washes their pj's every night! Sheets once a week. Sterilizes the babies bottles at 3 years of age! And puts disinfectant in their washing???

At least one of her kids is at the doctors every week! Let the kids build up a tolerance FFS!!!!

DIRT IS GOOD!!!!!

[deleted account]

I just bought one of those steam cleaner gadgets lol i'll take it out of the box too one day lol

Hannah - posted on 04/27/2010

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Bring on the dirt! I never sanitized anything. Shoot, we would loose a binky and go to the store and open the package and pluck it right in my kids mouths there. They are never sick. My house is relatively clean and always is tidy. I don't have time to worry about that stuff. I would rather enjoy my kids than worry about them getting germy, dirty, or unsanitary. Heaven forbid, I put them right in the shopping cart WITHOUT wiping the cart down. I just make sure they aren't wiping their boogies and stuff all over. Am I wrong, eh, who cares!

Caitlin - posted on 04/26/2010

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I think when you have your first kid, you always get more used to the dirt. My mom used to clean and sanitize everything when I was younger, and I was sick ALL the time. I do sweep the floor, I mop with cleaner maybe once a month, I only bother rinsing pacifiers unless they fall on the floor at the mall (then soap and water is fine). I never use hand sanitizer, I make sure hands are washed before and after eating and the only time I use lysol wipes is when someething my daughter is allergic to gets spilled on the table where we eat (like milk) and that's not for germs, that's so I don't kill her.. Our house is kept reasonably tidy, but there is dirt and dust and i'm sure a lot fo germs, but I think it's good for the immune system for them to get it on them every once in a while..

Emma - posted on 04/26/2010

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Bring on the dirt, that's how i was raised and i have an very strong immune system,

I have not been to a doctor in 10 years apart from my pregnancy check up's,

My kids have never needed a doctor except for the routine kid check ups.

I do have anti bacterial hand soap in the loo's and at the kitchen sink as that's the too times you should wash your hands clean clean lol

Nikki - posted on 04/15/2010

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From birth to 6 months I sanitized everything but after he hit 6 months it's BRING ON THE DIRT, he needs to build an immune system and he won't be if im keeping him away from everything. Im not saying I leave everything dirty but If his toys falls on the floor I brush it off and hand it back, I let him play in the sand and don't have a freak out if he eats a grain or two. I think sheltering our children from every single ounce of the world does more harm then good. Once he starts daycare he is going to be around A LOT of germs I need him to be prepared

Jackie - posted on 04/15/2010

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we bring on the dirt and deal with the tolerances. Once every 4-5 mos i do a quick lysol spray over the toy corner, but that's the extent of my sanitizing.

Lindsay - posted on 04/15/2010

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lol at the ohio river! I was a river rat myself. It healed every bump and bruse!

LaCi - posted on 04/15/2010

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bring on the dirt! The only things I really clean regularly are the kitchen and bathroom, and only with vinegar and baking soda. I'm anti-chemical, I'm pro immune system. I was down in the dirt and grime as a kid and now I attribute my immune system to it. Probably helps that I swam in the ohio river a lot, not much telling WHAT I was exposed to there lol.

Tah - posted on 04/15/2010

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bring on the dirt...all of these antimicrobial hand soaps and cleaning products are washing away the good bacteria and helping the bad ones take over..we aren't letting our children build antibodies to things cause we are throwing everything in sanitizer every 5 minutes. thats why we have so many antibiotic resistant illnesses..we're helping these bad bacteria win..bring it on...

Joanna - posted on 04/15/2010

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I'm not the best cleaner, and my husband is an avid outdoorsman... so we've always been "dirty," so to say. We let our daughter play in puddles and in the door and touch and explore (especially on bath days), and she's rarely sick. I was never much of a sanitizer, I mean of course her bottles and pacis and stuff were santized, but I didn't scrub the floor with bleach or anything. And she didn't get sick until she was 1 (nope, not once!).

Charlie - posted on 03/06/2010

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DIRT all the way , i say if your kids not dirty at the end of the day they havent had enough fun !



I have an adult cousin who has severe immune problems due to his over protective mother and her sanitary issues.

Jessica - posted on 03/06/2010

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Bring on the dirt! :) lol, I'm pretty sure as a child I may have eaten a worm or 2..... :D I'm a neat freak but alittle dirt doesn't hurt ya either.

Isobel - posted on 03/06/2010

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Bring on the Dirt!!!! The only thing that freaks me out is raw meat and the toilet...as for the rest what doesn't kill us makes us stronger :)

Rosie - posted on 03/06/2010

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bring on the dirt!! after the initial sterilization of new bottles or toys i don't do it again, i think it's silly when they get cleaned well enough by the dishwasher or myself. i never boiled water for formula,or bought bottled nursery water, i found that to be unnecessary as well.
we've been having the stomach bug go around our house this week so i've been wiping and spraying sanitizer on everything in hopes of it not spreading. other than when they are sick, or when there is icky germy things like raw meat juices, or poop, or puke (that i just had the pleasure of cleaning) i don't use antibacterial stuff. oh, i take that back i do have antibacterial soap in the bathroom and kitchen, but i don't buy it cause it's antibacterial, i buy it cause it smells good. bath and body works really needs to make a regular hand soap line as well.

[deleted account]

I wash hands. Wipe down kitchen surfaces with antibacterial or water with a few drops of teatree, lavender and eucalyptus oil after use. Bleach the toilet once a week.... Thats about the limit of my obsessive hygiene. Obviously I wash, vacuum, mop, dust in and around to keep things tidy but I'm not freaked out by dirt.
I would be worried about trying to live life to sanatized. Children need exposure to dirt and bacteria. It's how they develop their immune systems. Out of the children I know the ones who are kept in a sanitized bubble at home are the ones who are constantly getting sick.

Sarah - posted on 03/06/2010

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Dirt for me too! hahaha.
My house isn't a filthy pig sty or anything, but i'm not much of a cleaner and i certainly don't go overboard with sanitising everything.
All the usual stuff, washing hands, making sure the bathroom and kitchen are clean......yeah. Anything else, i don't really see the need to be honest.
A bit of dirt is good for you! :)

Iris - posted on 03/06/2010

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Bring in the dirt! I do sanitize the bathrooms but that's it. I keep my house clean, but I only use anti-bacterial in the bathrooms. I always have a Purell or some other small sanitizer in my purse and I use it on us if we go to a public restrooms or the hospital. I'm all for a clean and neat house (I can't function if my house is not clean), but I don't see the need to sanitize it. Our kids immune system can't get the resistant it needs if it doesn't get in contact with some dirt and grime.
Like Lindsay, we do make sure they wash their hands when they come inside and cough on their arms.

Jodi - posted on 03/05/2010

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I'm all for bringing on the dirt. Heck, I couldn't tell you the last time I sanitised my house - cleaned it, yes, but not sanitised. Honestly, I only EVER use anti-bacterials in the toilet and bathroom. And I also have an anti-bacterial hand cleaner and cleaner in the kitchen for when I am preparing food, because I'm a bit of a food hygiene nut. I always use it before and after handling meat, LOL.

My step-son's mother is a clean freak and anti-bacterial freak, and I SWEAR he was sick constantly as a toddler. Ear infections, fevers, you name it. I'd say he was on antibiotics at least once a month in those toddler years (not a fan of those either) because he was ALWAYS sick. He had meningitis last year, and I truly believe it developed from a virus because his immune system couldn't control it, so it went to his brain. My two kids, on the other hand, are hardly ever sick. Sure, they get the sniffles here and there, but my daughter has only ever needed antibiotics twice in her 5 years. Any other illness and her immune system has been able to fight it off in a matter of a day or two, so most the time I don't even bother with a doctor.

Lindsay - posted on 03/05/2010

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I'm a clean freak as far as thngs being tidy and uncluttered but I rarely sanitize. I have a bottle of lysol in the house that I've probably had for over a year. I only use it when someone in the house is actually very sick. I do keep a bottle of germ x in my purse in case we are out and a restroom is out of soap or something but again, it doesn't deplete very quickly. I'm a firm believer of germ exposure being more beneficial than harmful in moderation. I do still make sure the kids wash their hands when coming inside from playing and before meals. We also stress the coughing and sneezing in the arm. Kids should be exposed to things but they should also be taught proper habits to reduce the spread of them! =)

Esther - posted on 03/05/2010

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I'm the least germophobic person you'll ever meet. I NEVER worry about sanitizing anything. I'm all about bringing on the dirt and letting them build up their immune system. And my son is still alive. Here's an interesting article on just this subject that I read in the NY Times a while ago: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/27/health...

[deleted account]

BRING ON THE DIRT! I'm a clean freak! I even own my own cleaning company but we need some germs.......I keep a clean, tidy home but I don't feel the need to sterilize everything! Germs and dirt are good in moderation! LOL! We need to build up our immune systems!

Jocelyn - posted on 03/05/2010

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Bring on the dirt! I have a tiny little lysol spray that I've used once. I keep a fairly clean house (I dust, wash the kitchen floor on occasion lol) but I use all natural cleaning stuff (vinegar, orange oil, baking soda). I wash bottles is soap and hot water. The 5-second rule is worshiped in our house :P Conner is hardly ever sick, and Brooklynn has yet to get sick at all (but she's only 5months lol). I use hand sanitizer at work (handling money is gross lol) but our soap at home is just soap. Conner eats so much crap off the floor, I don't even bat an eye anymore :S
Society is way too obsessed with germs. We need to let our kids develop natural resistance.
Oh and btw, the things that you can use baking soda for is amazing!!! For example, I keep one in our bathroom and use it for scrubbing the sink/tub/toilet, an exfoliator for my face and cradle cap, on my toothbrush paired with toothpaste, and in the garbage can :)

Amie - posted on 03/05/2010

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In fact, not even half an hour ago my daughter had some for snack when she fell face first in the forest path. Yummy!


LOL! Our boy took a header today after school. Came inside with a giant goose egg on his head, covered in mud. His hair, his eyes, his nose, his mouth, etc. Mud pie snack, nothing like it.

Amie - posted on 03/05/2010

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The only room I clean with sanitizer is the bathroom. The floor, counter top, toilet and tub. Everything else in my house gets cleaned with hot water and vim. I love vim products, they smell good and work. I have a few green ones I've tried but they all make me gag. They work but smell like poo.

We do have hand sanitizer in our mini van though for when we're traveling. It's not always easy to find a bathroom in time for a kid to pee, so they hop out go pee in the ditch or a bush and use the sanitizer after wards.

They're not overly sick kids either. I can count on one hand the number of times both of my kids have been sick all this school year. My parents raised me much the same way and maybe once a year I get really sick. What sucks about that though is that when everyone around me is sick, I'm the one taking care of them all. =| I swear to god it's never just one of them, it's always at least 2 of them at once plus my husband. He catches whatever the kids have about 90% of the time.

Johnny - posted on 03/05/2010

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I am a neat freak, but I do not santize anything (except the bathroom & kitchen counters). I really think that the anti-bacterial push has been effecting our health negatively. I say, bring on the dirt. In fact, not even half an hour ago my daughter had some for snack when she fell face first in the forest path. Yummy!

Jess - posted on 03/05/2010

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I think I sit somewhere in the middle to be honest. Im not afraid to sucking the dirt of my daughter dummy but I do steam sterilize them once a week. I sterilize her bottles to get rid of the milk smell.... it makes me gag ! I use antibacterial spray cleaners to clean down my benches in the kitchen, because food posioning is serious and its a nasty thing to get, It can kill you ! We have antibacterial hand wash in our bathroom and kitchen sink. Just to stop the spread of nasties. My partner got Gastro a little while ago and it wasn't spread due to good handwashing and lots of Glen 20 !



But at the same time, if my daughter wants to eat dirt... well its a learning experience isn't it ! My house is clean, but its certainly not sterile. I focus on what I think is the most "at risk" area's and am lax with pretty much everything else ! My daughter has make out session's with my parents dog.... Its good for her immune system and her bond with the dog !!!

Krista - posted on 03/05/2010

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Heh -- Erin mentioning the dog reminds me of something I did when I was a kid. I'm sure I couldn't have been more than three years old, but mom had left me in the living room with a small bowl of cheezies (what you Yanks would call "cheese puffs", I believe). Anyhoodle, our terrier mix, Ivy was in the room with me, and being the generous child that I was, I decided to share my snack with the dog. So, I'd hand a cheezie to Ivy, she'd bite off half of it, and I'd pop the other into my mouth. This went on for quite awhile.

I'm surprised neither of us got sick, frankly.

Dana - posted on 03/05/2010

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We don't have anti-bacterial anything in the house. The farthest I go is taking shoes off on the porch so no dirt or germs are brought in on them. I do use the wipes at the store to clean the cart off.

I too think we over sanitize everything. Anti-bacterial crap is bad for us, our sewers and I'm sure our water.

Erin - posted on 03/05/2010

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Bring on the dirt! I am about as far from a germophobe as you can get. I make sure her bottles, sippies and dummies are clean and sterilised (obviously), and I wipe the kitchen down with anti-bacterial wipes after cooking and her highchair after meals (as well as all the normal weekly housework ofcourse). But otherwise I just let her be a kid. She kisses the dog on the mouth for god's sakes =| Sterilising her toys isn't going to help much with that.

Mary - posted on 03/05/2010

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Dirt all the way!

I don't even have hand sanitizer in my house...just plain old soap and water. I only use that at work (and then, I practically swim in it).



My daughter is 15 months old. She has had one ear infection related to teething, and we all caught a stomach bug when we went to my sister's for Xmas, that they had all had. Other than that, she's not even had a sniffle. I can't remember the last time I needed to take antibiotics...it's been years.



We over-sanitize, and over-prescribe antibiotics. It's a big part of the reason that superbugs like MRSA and VRE have evolved.

JL - posted on 03/05/2010

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I buy antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer and lysol but I only lysol things down maybe once every two weeks. I only use hand sanitizer on the kids when we go to the hospital, to play areas, when they just touch something gross like a trashcan, and right before they eat when we are out. At home I don't sanitize their hands or constantly have them washing their hands. I mean come on they pick their noses and eat their boogers.



I don't sanitize the kid toys daily or everyday objects. I just let my kids build up natural tolerances to the bacterias in my home. I keep things clean due to my OCD cleanilness but I don't spend my time bleaching down my house from top to bottom on a daily basis.



I am not a germ a phobe and I don't freak out about my kids touching things. As much stuff as they have licked and touched since they were babies it is a wonder they are not completely diseased. I survived childhood without being sprayed down with sanitizer and I am sure they will be Ok if I don't sanitize their whole world. Plus who has the time to do that much sanitizing.

[deleted account]

I'm with you Cassie! A house can be too clean.

I'm not saying I live in a pigsty. It is reasonably clean. I wipe down the kitchen and bathroom daily with lysol or greenworks (whatever I had a coupon for). Ideally I tend to the floors and change bedsheets once a week. If my baby has been sick, I will wipe down her favorite toys. But I feel like all those things are important to do if you don't want a stinky, embarrassing house. I am not one of those that vacuums daily or wipes down the table 3x a day.

Krista - posted on 03/05/2010

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I keep things clean and tidy, and I did sanitize his rattles and teethers before first use (goodness only knows what kind of chemical shit was left over on them from the factory). But he's crawling around on the floor all the time, and if I tried to keep him from putting his hands in his mouth, or if I sanitized his toys every time he dropped them on the floor, I'd drive myself nuts. So, I just try to keep things reasonably clean, use my common sense, and hope for the best. It helps that he's almost absurdly robust and healthy. If he was delicate, I might be more vigilant about things.

Cassie - posted on 03/05/2010

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We tend to believe in "bring on the dirt." ;) I am honestly a neat freak and like to keep my home as clean as possible but I do not sanitize all surfaces of our home nor do I sanitize my daughter's toys after initially cleaning them when purchased. I will use disinfectant when raw meat has touched the counters or if the floors seem incredibly filthy but other than that, I am a simple soap and water kind of cleaner.



I think a lot of the bugs and viruses that we have always had around have begun mutating because of the overuse of antibacterial products. I also believe our bodies need to be exposed to these types of bacterias and germs to build up a resistance.

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