Are you a Dettol-wielding cleaning fanatic? Despite your best intentions, you might actually be making your kids sick!

Walk into any school today and you’d be hard-pressed to find a class where there wasn’t at least one child with an allergy of some kind. The number of children with allergies has risen 50% since 1997, and while it could be the result of improved testing and awareness, scientists believe there might be another cause.

A Bit Of A Mystery

Allergies are thought to come about as a result of the way a person’s immune system develops. They are, at a basic level, an immunological mistake. The body misidentifies harmless substances as dangerous pathogens, prompting a reaction that can range from a runny nose and mild rash to severe anaphylaxis. One hypothesis for the recent increase in the number of children with allergies was the advice given to parents in the early 2000s.

They were told to keep their children away from a variety of common allergens until they reached certain developmental stages, but it turns out exposure at an early age can help the body get used to them. So did these unsuspecting parents actually set their children up for heightened sensitivity by mistake?

Created Our Own Problem

The trend towards having a bacteria-free, microbe-free, sterile home has been identified by scientists as the prime suspect in the case against some allergies. In our attempt to protect our children from anything that could potentially make them sick, we may have done the opposite, promoting hypersensitivity and autoimmune disorders.

We’ve no doubt heard our own parents say that ‘in their day’, the constant fear and worry around common childhood infections just simply wasn’t a priority. It’s easier said than done, however, especially in our current climate where germs present a bigger risk than a couple of days off school.

Researchers are quick to point out that hyper-cleanliness is not the sole cause of allergies, but it looks like some of us might be ready to put down the anti-bac and let our kids get their hands dirty. Less cleaning? Any excuse.

Do you think we’ve become cleaning obsessed? Could it be causing our children to be more sensitive? Let us know in the comments.

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  • This is such a true thing, let kids be kids.


  • Children are better off if you don’t clean up too much – just be natural.


  • During this pandemic I actually have stepped up the wiping down with disinfectant of all areas that may have been contaminate by things from the outside. It’s just become a daily habit.


  • Definitely not an over cleaner much better things to do with my time


  • We surely don’t have to desinfect our houses and make them sterile :)


  • Possibly, kids also exposed to less outdoors with all that’s given definitely doesn’t help their immune system


  • Hmmmm interesting article. So now I can clean less! YESSSSSSS!


  • I’ve never been over the top at cleaning in my home. When you work as a cleaner as I did then once you get home you don’t feel like cleaning. As long as the dishes were washed and benches wiped down, that was enough for me. Don’t get me wrong, the floors were swept or vacuumed but I only mopped the floors once a week and that was mostly because there were spillages.


  • dont think over-cleaning at home will ever be something I’m accused of!
    As an art conservator I do a lot of cleaning at work (sculptures, memorials, objects) so am well and truly over cleaning anything by the time I get home.


  • It makes sense there’s a link with lack of exposure to germs / bacteria and allergies! It’s Iike how we get vaccinations to expose ourselves to diseases so we get immunity to the diseases, if a child isn’t exposed to bacteria how can they learn to fight it.


  • There is so much pressure on Mums these days to have the perfect home and the perfect children when really both are impossible to obtain.
    Please remember that most people only post about their wins. Their good days where they’ve managed to get stuff done. They never post about unwashed dishes or piles of washing that need folding or bathroom basins that need a wipe.
    Parenting is hard. Running a household is hard and keeping a home clean and tidy is hard.
    All of those things are much harder if you work or if you’re sleep deprived.
    Please don’t be hard on yourself if your home isn’t spotless and don’t forget, as this article says, there is such a thing as TOO clean.

    • Thank you for this commen. It was lovely to read after an especially tough day


  • I get the reasoning behind this article but like other commenters I’m more a tidier then a deep cleaner haha the house does get a vaccum each day though


  • I like to tidy more than clean haha


  • nice to have conformation that I shouldn’t clean too much.


  • I love a very clean house, but with a busy life, I don’t really have a problem with being too clean!


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