Kills HIV mouthwash

No agent kills all viruses and bacteria

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However, there are still exemptions for products that have been on the market for a long time. This means that in certain cases they can still be resold. The reason for this lies in the biocide directive that was in force before 2012. It did not yet regulate the approvals of the agents so strictly. However, the old substances are also to be regulated by 2024. The website of the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has a database in which you can look up all approved products.

Whether new or old substances: No agent can help against all relevant viruses and bacteria. If it contains alcohol, for example, it kills many bacteria. But it does nothing against non-enveloped viruses, which include the norovirus responsible for gastrointestinal infections. Certain disinfecting ammonium compounds can attack the cell membranes of various microbes, but are not effective against mycobacteria, which include tuberculosis pathogens.

Disinfection is no better at protecting than soap

Anyone who does a lot of cleaning with antibacterial agents in the household is no better protected against infections than someone who uses normal soaps and detergents. This was shown by a study from 2004. Researchers examined 238 households: one group used cleaning agents with antibacterial agents, another group used normal agents. The result: the people who used disinfectants got sick no less often than those who didn't (Annals of Internal Medicine: Larson et al., 2004).

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In contrast to soaps, disinfectants also kill germs that are actually good. Billions of tiny microbes populate the skin and that is neither disgusting nor dangerous, but healthy. For example, they help to maintain the skin's slightly acidic environment - an important protection against infections. In addition, there is no place for pathogens where the harmless bacteria live. "Some bacteria also produce antibiotic substances, which in turn kill pathogens," says Dieckmann. For example the bacterium Staphylococcus lugdunensis, which lives in the nose and produces the substance lugdunin. According to laboratory findings, it kills strains that are resistant to other antibiotics (Nature: Peschel et al, 2016). Microbes also play an important role in the development of the immune system - germs are therefore particularly important for children (Science: by Mutius et al, 2015). So we shouldn't strive for a completely sterile environment.

hygiene

Washing clothes properly

The rinses alone remove a lot of bacteria. If you want to be on the safe side, it is best to only destroy germs with hot water. This is more environmentally friendly and more effective than hygiene detergents.

A little more than 60 degrees Celsius is enough. Additionally, throw the laundry in the dryer or hang it up in the sun - germs don't like that. The washing machine should run through once a month. Washing at 90 degrees and the use of disinfectants is only necessary if a household member is acutely ill with a communicable disease.

Disinfect properly

In Hospitals it makes sense to use disinfectants. Special health cases can also require regular disinfection in the household. Discuss it with your doctor. He can recommend the right disinfectant to you.

For the remedies to work at all, they should not be too low in concentration. A disinfectant gel with 40 percent alcohol content will hardly have any effect.

Washing hands properly

Washing your hands with soap and lukewarm water for 30 seconds will make them clean. A guideline: Sing Happy Birthday twice in your head and your hands will be clean.

Soaps contain surfactants. They loosen fat from the skin and with it the bacteria. This procedure does not affect the skin flora in the same way as treatment with disinfectants. The combination of soaps and disinfectants is worse.

Cooking properly

Raw food should always be separated from food that still needs to be heated. Everything that is prepared at over 70 degrees is as good as germ-free afterwards. Raw animal products in particular have a higher risk of infection. This is why you shouldn't use the same knife for raw meat and salad, for example.

A conventional cleaning agent is sufficient for cleaning. It is important to change the rags and drying cloths at least once a week and to wash them at at least 60 degrees. Most of the bacteria collect in them. Also important: drying off. Pathogens reproduce well in moisture. The BfR has summarized more information on food hygiene.

Disinfectants also have long-term consequences, for example if they cause resistance. If antibacterial agents end up in the wastewater, they are greatly diluted. In this concentration they can no longer harm the germs. The bacteria, however, form defense mechanisms against the agents. Then they multiply and pass on their resistance. Sometimes there is also cross-resistance to antibiotics, which attack the bacterium in the same way as the disinfectant. By using antibacterial substances on a large scale, we create more dangerous, difficult-to-defeat germs - instead of protecting ourselves (Microbiology: Mc Cay et al, 2010).

As soon as the funds end up in the drain, they also hinder sewage treatment plants that use bacteria as cleaning aids. Researchers were able to detect residues of triclosan and chlorine furnace in bodies of water, sewage sludge and fish (Federal Environment Agency: RĂ¼del et al, 2004 and University of Stuttgart: Kuch et al., 2003).

Cleanliness in and of itself is not a bad thing. A lack of hygiene can have consequences, especially in the kitchen: every year, more than 100,000 illnesses are reported in Germany that are caused by microorganisms, especially bacteria, viruses or parasites, in food. But disinfectants are not the way to change that. In everyday life, normal soaps, cleaning agents and detergents are completely sufficient.