THE OWL COMMUNITY NETWORK
The new science of cleaning with microbes instead of
chemical cleaners and air fresheners
THE CHALLENGE OF CHEMICAL CLEANERS
By poisoning the environment with harmful chemicals and indiscriminately eliminating good germs, we are not only contributing to rising levels of asthma, allergies and migraines but to obesity, negative effects on growth, brain development, intelligence and coordination that will last far into the future. (Royal College of Medicine, 2016)
- Under the guise of protecting trade secrets, the major brands of household cleaners and air fresheners have for decades added more powerful toxic chemicals to their products without adequately warning of the health risks.
A study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Clinical Care Medicine (1) is believed to be the first to assess occupational and domestic cleaning product exposure as it relates to the decline of lung function. It theorized that irritating chemical agents in cleaners and air fresheners, cause immunological changes that were unknown in the past.
- Scientific evidence related to the negative health effects of chemicals like LIMONENE (used to create lemon-like smells) has sparked public debate over whether these kinds of products are safe for use in the home. When used, LIMONENE produces another chemical, FORMALDEHYDE, which since 2011, has been listed as a human carcinogen. Yet, LIMONENE based products have remained on the market (Secret ingredients in Mr. Muscle, Glade and Toilet Duck unveiled over consumer health fears, The Telegraph, January 24, 2017)
 American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (2018) 197(5) 14-24
SWAPPING SCIENCE FOR CHEMICALS
- 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, nonorganic material and organic microorganisms. These layers 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.
MICROBIAL CLEANERS EXPLAINED
- The overall rationale for using microbes to clean is essentially the same regardless of where they are applied (e.g., countertops, bathtubs, ovens). Spores germinate on surfaces, producing specific enzymes that safely degrade dirt, food residue, 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.
WHY MICROBIAL CLEANERS ARE BETTER
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.
GOALS OF THE OWL COMMUNITY NETWORK
- Deliver 100% organic cleaners based on scientific evidence
- Empower people
- Educate consumers about the new science of cleaning with microbes
- Provide the right incentives to deal with environmental problems
- Teach children how to turn food waste into organic compost with microbes
- Improve the quality of air in buildings
- Invest with professional partners dedicated to making a difference
- Promote transparency, honesty and environmental regulations in the cleaning industry
- Ameliorate the negative societal impacts from killing the germs that protect us
- Reduce the carbon footprint of people, office buildings and homes
- Become the spokes “owl” for chemical-free cleaning and climate change