Hand sanitizer hooked on the diaper bag. Spare hand sanitizer inside the purse or car. Wipes for the hands, wipes for the nose, wipes for the pacifier. Antibacterial soap in every bathroom.

“Don’t pick that up off the floor!”

“Don’t get dirty!”

Raise your hand if this is you!

That was definitely me when I was a new mom!

So many moms I know are total germaphobes. Being a Registered Nurse, I was one too. There’s a policy at the hospital I work at that states I have to carry the approved brand of hand sanitizer on me at all times while I’m clocked in. We’ve been taught that being germ free is key to not getting sick. Then, I learned that being too clean can be harmful to health. People actually have more bacterial cells than we have human cells. These bacteria keep us healthy. So if we’re focused on getting rid of bacteria, what effect does that have on our health?

Why being so clean is harmful:

When I went through the certification program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, there was a module that actually covered this topic and it was eye opening for me. The speaker referred to it as “The Farm Effect” or “Hygiene Hypothesis“. Basically, being so clean is creating more allergies, autoimmune diseases, and gut-related disorders. “The Farm Effect” shows that kids that are raised on farms have a decreased rate of allergies, autoimmune diseases and gut-related disorders.

Allergies can range from seasonal allergies to food sensitivities to anaphylactic reactions. Gut-related disorders like leaky gut lead to pretty much every disease as we know it; including mental health disorders, systemic inflammation, poor immune system, etc.

If we really think about it, when we come into contact with ‘germs’ our body learns what to do to protect the body. If we’re not coming into contact with germs, our body has no idea what to do. So we work so hard to ‘protect’ ourselves from coming into contact with germs and then when a germ is able to get into our body…our body freaks out! Which means we get super sick. It’s better to get a little at a time and build up immunity to those germs. I always like to think of my immune system as my own personal army. I want my army to be trained to fight any invaders (aka really bad germs). How do they get trained? By fighting germs that are less harmful.

If you’re the mom who’s telling your kid not to get dirty and not to play in the dirt, get this…According to this article, “a strain of bacterium in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, has been found to trigger the release of serotonin, which in turn elevates mood and decreases anxiety. And on top of that, this little bacterium has been found to improve cognitive function and possibly even treat cancer and other diseases”. What?! Now go throw your kids in the mud 🙂

Why hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap are harmful:

We’re now hearing about the ingredient Triclosan in antibacterial hand sanitizer’s and soaps that is actually really harmful to us. According to the FDA, triclosan is used not only in hand sanitizer and soap; it’s also used in clothing, kitchenware, furniture, toys and pesticide. Because we’re exposed to so much triclosan, FDA is saying that it’s contributing to the antibiotic resistance problem, thyroid issues, and possibly skin cancer and that we should just use water and regular soap to wash up.

Another scary fact is that hand sanitizer increases the rate at which our body absorbs BPA. BPA is a chemical that’s found in plastic and receipts, among other things. BPA is a endocrine disruptor which means that it totally messes up our hormone regulation system. What is hand sanitizer in? A plastic bottle!!

What you can do:
  • Support the normal function of your immune system! I no longer make my daughter wash her hands all the time (sometimes not even before she eats).
  • Eat whole foods (organic, pasture raised, grass fed, etc).
  • Use food based supplements. Here are my fave women’s multi vitamin and kids multi vitamin.
  • Exercise (go here for easy at home workouts and get 20% off).
  • Use essential oils. Learn some basics here.
  • Decrease stress and be present.

When hand washing is necessary, use soaps like these. They’re all natural, clean, and gentle on the skin. You can even use castille soap to make your own foaming hand wash. Get a glass foaming hand soap pump, fill it almost all the way to the top, add in 1/4-1/2 tsp vitamin e oil and 2 tbsp of castille soap.

A couple great books to read: Farmacology  by Dr. Daphne Miller and The Dirt Cure by Maya Shetreat-Klein MD.

Bottom line – get outside, play in the dirt and the sun, and leave the hand sanitizer at home!

Peace, love and wellbeing!



PS. You can read more about me here! And there are some affiliate links in this post 🙂