Ladies and Germs

This week on Momversation, we talked about germs, specifically, what your (and my) stance is regarding dousing kids with Purell and other such antibacterial products.

I for one, am against anti-bacterial products on a DAILY* basis. Here are some of the reasons why.

And here is a video in which we discuss. (And no automatic play = hooray!)

I've always been very un-cautious when it comes to germs and exposing my kids to them. I blame my mother, who let us eat dirt and play with petrified rabbit poop growing up. Then again, I have no allergies and have always had an iron-clad immunity. Coincidence? Perhaps. Or.... maybe not.

Meanwhile, Fable was roaming the mean LA streets three days after her birth and I've always been quick to pick up fallen food and stick it right back on the highchair tray no problem. I'm crazy like that. A real party animal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't wash our hands regularly and often with our household BFF: Mrs. Meyers and her lovely scented hand soaps of the NON antibacterial variety.

My question to all? At what point are we overdoing it with the bleaches and anti-bacterial thisis and thats? Especially now that more and more studies show that antibacterial stuffs can be more harmful than helpful.

Now that I'm gettin' all hot under the bra strap re: what I see is an over-cleanlicrisis, what are your feelings regarding bleach wipes in school? I say = frightening x 79823173981. A label that reads "keep out of children's reach" probably shouldn't be in a child's hands. And yet? Teachers all over the country are instructing students who are uh... children... to clean their desks using these wipes. FAIL. There's even a Clorox in the Classroom website with its own "CLEAN CLUB." Here's a hot tip, parents! Douse your children in chemicals! It's good for their health!!!

Right. And smoking cigarettes is good for mine.

Seems to me we're spending much time and resources trying to protect our kids from today's germs all the while closing our eyes to tomorrow's repercussions.

I don't know about you, but I'd rather chance a snotty nose.

Kind of like our parents did with us.

And see? We're okay.

Paranoid, yes.

But okay.


*using these items sparingly = an entirely different ball game. Hospitals, new babies, traveling - totally get why they are necessary. But antibacterials can absolutely be abused. And in many cases, they are, much to the detriment of our children and their forming immune systems. Which is upsetting. And scary as fuck.


Allison the Meep | 9:45 AM

At my son's school (and probably lots of others) it's common for all the kids to line up before lunch and get a pump of Purell. I know it is supposed to kill germs, but my question is - why not just use regular soap and water? Do they avoid it because it takes 5 minutes longer for the whole class to wash their hands rather than just get a pump of chemicals?

Other than that at school, we never bother with antibacterial stuff. All our soap regular old soap. And we're never sick.


I just wrote about this last week. Picking dropped food up off the floor and putting it back on the highchair tray? That's me all over.

Unknown | 10:03 AM

My niece has been pumped full of Benedryl from the earliest time she could take it, to the point that now, at 10 years old, she takes about 4 adult Benedryls a day. Every time she sniffed her nose, her mother forced her to take a Benedryl so that now mucous in her nose is absolutely unbearable to her. This over-medicating, over-bearing parenting is what my husband and I are adamantly against. I mean, the child isn't allowed to run because she has flat feet! She complains if she walks more than a quarter mile!

em | 10:08 AM

I totally agree with you. My 2 year has never used Purell and routinely gets good and dirty has never been sick. Although when I dropped her pacifier in a crosswalk on Hollywood Blvd, which may be the dirtiest street in LA, and stuck it back in her mouth I realized I maybe should clean up my act! But yeah soap and water work just fine here as well.

katie d | 10:36 AM

I'm a fan of hand washing, yes. I'm also a fan of the three second rule.

So I have a couple observations about this topic:

1. My sister-in-law can be a bit of a germ-a-phobe by way of keeping her kids from going to family functions because they are sick or one of us is sick. In addition to that it seems like when her kids do get sick she makes it her quest to figure out exactly who got them sick. So annoying! She's kind of a control freak in other areas of her life and I sort of feel like this is just another way for her to feel like she is in control.

2. Anyone else think Dana watched the bangs tutorial video ;) kidding - kind of.

Daisy | 10:48 AM

I'm not a Mom but I am SO with you! There is only one small bottle of anti-bacterial soap in my house, by the kitchen sink, for post egg/chicken/cleaning up dog messes hand-washing. The other sinks have Mrs. Meyers or Method soap of a gentle variety. I clean with vinegar & essential oil based cleaners and 99% of the time, they do the job just fine. Bring on the probiotics and the mud pies!

SoccerMom | 10:55 AM

I am one of those people who use clorox wipes and hand santizer regularly. I wasn't always this way, but after I was diagnosed with an auto immune disease, I had no choice but to be overly cautious. It is not a happy life always living in fear of "catching" something, but I don't really have any other choice. It is the life sentence that has been handed to me and I have to work with what I got.

Jamie | 11:00 AM

I'm with you on this one, so so with you. I'm all for a good old fashioned handwashing but this antibacterial obsession scares me.

Andygirl | 11:01 AM

OHMYGOD I agree! We need germs to boost our immune systems. Kids who aren't exposed don't build up strong immunities. My mom wasn't all anti-bacterial, but she's a hypochondriac and drug me to the doc for every sniffle where they'd pump me with antibiotics. And I think that made me defenseless. And it has taken me ten years to build my immune system up to where I don't get sick all the time. Also, I have a cousin who's mom did the anti-bacterial thing (back in the eighties!) and she is allergic to EVRERTHING and has severe athsma. I don't think that's a coincidence.

SoMo | 11:08 AM

My daughter's school uses baby wipes to clean off their desks, which is fine by me. Clorox wipes are bleach free, but do say keep out of reach of children, so still weird.

I am not too concerned about my kids. I am that mom who pops the binky back into my 6 mos old's mouth. She is number 3, so there's that. However, I do get disgusted by my son. Let's see he has licked the drain in the floor in a public restroom, the wall of a public restroom, lingers too long for my taste at public trash cans and, recently, decided he liked the ice that was in the raw shrimp display at the grocery store. So while he is building his immune system, I am strengthing my gag reflex.

I do use a foam antibaterical soap for my kids when we are out. Mostly, because I am not usually in a position to lift my 4 yr old up to wash his hands and my 7.5 yr old likes the way it smells. One pump in the hand and we can move on with our lives, because trust me a 4 yr old boy and a sink full of bubbles can make a grocery store trip take forever.

lonek8 | 11:10 AM

I totally agree. I have never been a compulsive handwasher, and honestly had never used hand sanitizer until this year. I am relaxed about my kids eating things that they have dropped on the floor, and they have pretty much never been sicker than a runny nose for a few days. I get sick more than I used to now, but I think that is from constant exposure to their little sniffles, I mean, who do you think wipes those three runny noses? For my kids' part, they are hardly ever sick. My SIL on the other hand, is a total control freak when it comes to cleaning her house and dousing her kids with sanitizer (she even gives them cough drops before bed EVERY NIGHT) and guess what? her kids are CONSTANTLY sick. I cannot believe that is a coincidence - she has wiped out their immune systems with each Lysol wipe. I have gotten a little more vigilant with the hand sanitizer now because we are going into preschool and gym daycare venues and the amount of colds we (read me) have gotten since then has increased. So a little extra protection is worth it. But we're talking about a quick spritz of hand sanitizer in the car on the way home and that's it. We use regular soap (I like Mrs. Meyer's too), I don't wipe grocery carts before putting my kids in them, I let them suck on the airplane seatbelt if it keeps them quiet on a plane ride, whatever. An immune system is a terrible thing to take for granted, and I think too much exposure to antibacterial products hurt more than help.

Anonymous | 11:11 AM

Couldn't agree more. I work in a school now, and not only do the teachers wipe the desks down with clorox, I once saw a teacher using them as HAND WIPES. Yes, really. Anyway, I steer away from anything anti-bacterial in my home and try to stick to good old fashioned soap and water. It is really hard to find soap that is not anti-bacterial soap but I do. I like Mrs. Meyers but it is a tad expensive. I also switched to different household cleaners for everything in my house including wood and glass. I do carry hand sanitizer with me for on-the-go stuff only. My tot is allergic to EVERY antibiotic except for ONE type. He has horrible seasonal allergies already at 2. My husband and I don't have an allergy between the two of us. Go figure...(And what they say about allergies and breastfeeding is bullshit because he was breastfed for 14 months).

MommyLisa | 11:19 AM

It is really hard to find non-anti-bacterial soap. I buy Method foaming soap containers and then a Method regular hand soap refill and just put about 2T of that into the foaming container & fill with water when it is empty. Less waste.

Oh and they have Method at Target so it makes it easy for me!

Traci | 11:21 AM

My daughter's preschool is actually doing handwashing as opposed to using antibacterials, for which I am VERY thankful. I use Norwex cloths at home to clean (with water, no chemicals) which trap 99.9% of bacteria in the cloth. The bacteria then gets killed as the cloth dries because it contains silver. The difference between it and the antibacterials is that the 0.1% that gets left behind is a random 0.1%, not the super-resistant 0.1% bacteria that gets left behind with antibacterial chemicals.

Amanda | 11:21 AM

(Yet again) I'm with you in this. Growing up with men and boys my whole life, I've been exposed to all kinds of nastiness and the full on disregard for "germs". So I've been pretty lenient on the whole germ war. However, I've also been very lucky to have a steel trap immune system which has been passed down to my son.

Every now and then I'll use some of those Clorox wipe things to wipe down the bathroom (like I said before- boys) once a week or so. But my sons hands? Nah. Soap and water should be just fine.

M | 11:34 AM

Wait a minute, the SPONSOR of this 'Clean Club' is......CLOROX? Hmm, no conflict of interest there!!

Part of the answer to the question 'How Clean Is Clean Enough?' on their 'Clean Club' website is:

"Using Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes is one quick and easy way to be sure you're doing your part."

**But not another brand, kiddies! Only Clorox!!! And you should Definitely frame questions like: "How good is good enough???" instead of the more rational: "What is a good, reasonable way to keep a child's classroom clean?"

Gotta love when corporations use fear to push their products.....

Amanda @ My everyday | 11:39 AM

I have antibacterial soap in the kitchen and bathroom for hand washing because I don't want to spread diarrhea when it comes to my house. Keep that stuff to a minimum! Also, the sponges seem to last longer. I don't own purell stuff, don't like any of it. It drys out my hands and I totally agree with you on all point about it being overboard for the most part. I clean the bathrooms to get them clean from dirt and grime, I don't clean my bathrooms everyday just to disinfect. I don't spray door handles. That's all so nuts to me.

My husband also has the notion that cold is good for you. He hates to wear coats and will stay outside in 40 degree weather in short sleeves doing work on his car. I think he's crazy cause I hate the cold, but I'll give it to him, he's not sick as often as I am.

Ashley | 11:48 AM

Totally agree. I am not a mom (so my opinion shouldn't really count) but I hope to not be the paranoid parent. And also I love Mrs Meyer's products!

rosiewiklund | 12:16 PM

My husband and my mother in law are registered nurses. In the hospital they scrub and sanitize until their poor hands get raw and they think this is a great thing. Considering antibiotic resistant infections going about I am inclined to agree. At the hospital my husband won't even let me set my purse on the floor and I laugh at him. Alternately, at home we routine walk about filthy and eat off the floor. My family has a fantastic immune system and mine generally sucks. My point, Immune systems are a crap shoot luck of the draw thing, but bleach should be reserved for nasty places.

Mandi | 12:21 PM

I am so with you. I work in a daycare, though, so I am a compulsive hand washer. I also am in charge of making sure toys are bleached weekly. We use bleah water spray to clean tables when the kids are done eating. I love the smell of bleach, I admit it. But at home with my own kids? We wash hands when coming home from anywhere. Walk in the door, wash hands. But other than that, we are pretty laid back. However, since my entire family got a nasty stomach bug (all at the same time, mind you)I have caught myself pulling out the Lysol a little more often...

Mrs. Q. | 12:30 PM

I believe there are friendly and unfriendly germs. Those on the floor of a public restroom? Unfriendly. Those in the house? Friendly. Soap and water, baking soda and vinegar are suitable cleaning products. I don't use bleach wipes EVER (except for the time the kids had the swine flu and I was wiping down every door knob, and it did NOT prevent us all from getting sick, so there.) I don't Purel the kids after the playground, ether, but the indoor playspace at the mall? The one with the kid running around who has pinkeye? I'll Purel like crazy.

I have never understood antibacterial soap. And a little-known fact: if you live in the country and have private a septic system, antibacterial soap kills all the good bacteria in your septic tank making it prone to FAIL and EEWWWW.

JoannaRSmith | 12:57 PM

I couldn't agree with you more! I also go out of my way to not have soap with anti-bacterial properties in my apartment

I also think that the use of anti-bacterial items are used and abused in this country. However, I do think that they should possibly be the alternative to cleaning children's desk then items ladened with bleach with is HARMFUL WHEN INGESTED.

We need to stop freaking out about germs and disease. As long as people keep themselves clean on a regular basis and washes their hands after sneezing into them, we should all be fine.

I too grew up with parents who weren't afraid to let me get dirty, but of course took the necessary precautions to keep my brother and I from getting sick. This was with what I mentioned above and not with the hysteria that you mentioned in your post.

Again, I don't have life threatening allergies, but I have worked with and am related to others who do. In these cases, cross contamination is prevented by a simple, through cleaning with soap and hot water and no cross contamination of said items that cause and allergic reaction.

Thanks for listening/reading!

JoannaRSmith | 12:58 PM

I couldn't agree with you more! I also go out of my way to not have soap with anti-bacterial properties in my apartment

I also think that the use of anti-bacterial items are used and abused in this country. However, I do think that they should possibly be the alternative to cleaning children's desk then items ladened with bleach with is HARMFUL WHEN INGESTED.

We need to stop freaking out about germs and disease. As long as people keep themselves clean on a regular basis and washes their hands after sneezing into them, we should all be fine.

I too grew up with parents who weren't afraid to let me get dirty, but of course took the necessary precautions to keep my brother and I from getting sick. This was with what I mentioned above and not with the hysteria that you mentioned in your post.

Again, I don't have life threatening allergies, but I have worked with and am related to others who do. In these cases, cross contamination is prevented by a simple, through cleaning with soap and hot water and no cross contamination of said items that cause and allergic reaction.

Thanks for listening/reading!

Peach | 1:10 PM

at home i couldn't care less and will gladly pick up food off the floors. HOWEVER, in my purse i have antibacterial sanitizer and i scrub my office down with disinfecting wipes daily. but i do live in NYC and winters on the subway would make anyone a germaphobe. combine that with the fact that im a social worker in a school and i'm gauranteed several colds a year.

Piece of Work | 1:21 PM

At our school (LAUSD) we are not allowed to use anything but baby wipes or simple green. The kids wipe the desks down with the baby wipes and the simple green comes out for the bi monthly community beautification days. God knows with the budget cuts there's no janitorial staff cleaning anything!

I'm the opposite of a germophobe myself but my kids do have a dairy allergy, they've both had it from birth. And my son has seasonal allergies and animal hair allergies. So I don't know if thats related. I work in a kindergarten class 20 hours a week and never use antibacterial soap and I usually get one mild cold a year. My kids rarely get sick either--usually 1 or 2 illnesses per year.

I am also notoriously bad about hand-washing.

JCF | 1:37 PM

I'm always washing my hands (I have two kids in diapers--a hand wash at every diaper change is enough to wash my hands raw), but always with good old fashioned soap and warm water. I wash my kids' hands as necessary (when we come in from the playground, before eating, if they touch something gross), but that's about it. We drink lots of water, eat lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and plant-based protein, and we're pretty healthy people. That being said, I have a cold right now, but that's a pretty rare occurrence.

sarah | 1:49 PM

Well, the 5 second rule has been debunked as more like a 30 minute rule, so food off the floor is no-biggie.

Anti-biotics for everything are on my no-no list too.

I embrace your germs, people. It brings us closer as a society. ;p

Rebecca | 1:52 PM

We frequently use hand sanitizer when we go to the toy store or some other place where we play with tons of other kids........We also wash our hands frequently. If we have a choice, we do the hand washing, but if we know we aren't going to be anywhere near a sink and soap, we do hand sanitizer.

Most of the yucky stuff travels by the air anyway..........that's harder to tackle than getting rid of germs on hands.

Mama Cas | 2:03 PM

We RARELY use that Purell stuff. I'm a huge fan of soap and water. And you should have SEEN the looks the pediatrician gave me when I refused to give my kids the flu vaccines....seasonal AND H1N1. They are perfectly healthy kids with no underlying health issues and I firmly believe that their immune systems should be allowed to grow unassisted, whenever possible.

Andrea | 2:11 PM

I liked this post. My parents are in the medical profession and they always allowed my sister and I to "build up a bit of immunity", as they liked to call it, when we were growing up. In any case, I've been gradually switching over to all natural soaps and hopefully soon, household cleaners as well. I've fallen in love with LUSH soaps. Love that store.

Michelle | 2:46 PM

I absolutely agree that it's just too much cleanliness. We never had Purell or anything like that when we were kids, and we were fine. Are fine! Not to mention that when you prevent all germs,your tolerance goes down and you become much more susceptible to getting sick. I personally would rather my children play with dirt and stay away from antibacterial stuff and have a healthy immune system. Sure, when I was a baby every night my mom cleaned all of my toys with alcohol, but not throughout the day! You are completely right about the over cleanliness in this country!

Sarah | 2:54 PM

See, this is the thing. Most responses are normal, I'm-not-a-crazy-germaphobe things. Then there are a few who say "but it's okay for me, because me/my family/somebody I know got really sick, so hell yeah, I use antibacterial stuff/bleach/Lysol/whatever." People, we're talking about YOU. EVERYONE knows somebody who's been sick, but antibiotic crap is CONTRIBUTING TO THE PROBLEM. Also contributing is that people never think they're part of the problem, because they have a "good" reason (excuse). (Am of course not referring to the immunocompromised poster -- THAT is a valid reason for antibacterials. My ex-husband has cystic fibrosis, and he uses them. That's fine, infections are a big risk for him and other people with similar medical issues. 99% of us don't have those, but we sure use the chemicals like we're exposed to smallpox every time we touch a shopping cart!)

Peta | 3:17 PM

Totally 1000% with you. My sister has been a germophobe since way back (forever 'anti bacterializing' her cellphone, the computer, car steering wheel) and I am not at all. While I haven't been sick in way over a year, she is forever getting colds and allergies. I have seen it time and time again with my friends who have kids too, often the ones whose parents are pulling out the hand gels every chance they have get sick way more often than the ones who aren't.

Ginny | 4:39 PM

We get this stuff drilled into us at uni and when on nursing rounds. Alcohol hand wipe when you walk in a room and when you walk out again (my hands are usually farked by the end of the month on nursing rounds!) but when it comes to kids you need to let them build up that immune system and encourage parents not to be so gun-ho with the anti-bacterial crap. It only leads to them picking up every little bug that goes around.

Jaimie | 5:31 PM

When it comes to germs, I am all for handwashing over antibacterial gels and all that junk.

Brianne | 6:04 PM

We do not have antibacterial soaps in our house and I shudder when I see people use diaper wipes on their children's faces. I also read that the alcohol in hand sanitizer can harm babies, since, you know, they SUCK ON THEIR HANDS all the time. So yeah, dirt is good, and our daughter is quite healthy.

Unknown | 6:30 PM

Preach it soul sista! I can't stand that shit. I used to live in a place where parents were appalled that I let my kids play at the park with a snotty nose. Luckily at my daughter's school they make them WASH their hands and clean things while the kids are not in that part of the classroom.

Also, my best friend and I arrange playdates when a kid is sick. Because immunities are fun! And mean we, as a nation, spend less on healthcare because people are able to, say it with me people, FIGHT INFECTION!

All that to say...thanks.

Shaina | 6:33 PM

i have a thing about not eating with dirty hands--i can't stand when people pet a dog and then pick up their sandwich. ew! so i keep antibac stuff in the purse for that, and in a house i just wash with water and sometimes soap. i occasionally use the gel stuff when i'm not eating but when i just feel grody, like if i touched gum on the bottom of a desk by accident or something.

the only time i overdo it with the purell (and i admit it!) is at work--i'm a security monitor in a dorm. i have to sign in guests, which generally means touching LOTS of peoples' IDs--and I don't know where THEIR hands have been! so i bring a big pump bottle of store-brand antibac and clean my hands about every 10 sign-ins or so, plus when i eat. i've been okay so far, so...

with the kids i babysit for, i take it from the parents. one family is very germophobe, one pops in the paci that's been sitting in the corner. to each their own...

Hollienoel | 6:42 PM

Okay, just a little debunking - ALL soap is antibacterial, whether it has that word on the label or not. Antibacterial means "kills bacteria" and if soap weren't, there'd be no reason to use it at all. It is not as THOROUGH as purell, which is why we think of it as not being as germ-killing.

I'm a middle school teacher and I had a kid make a (biological) mess on the desk and himself. I walked over with a Clorox wipe for the desk and he tried to take it for his FACE!!! I had a long talk with him about chemicals and being careful with them.

Mamalang | 7:00 PM

I've been saying this for years and years now. Dirt is okay, germs are okay. I actually had to tell another mom to stop putting hand sanitizer on my son at a birthday party. Every time they stopped playing, she was pumping. It was annoying as heck! There are no bottles of it in my house :)

Anonymous | 7:07 PM

right on mama!!! reason number gazillion as to why I am glad I say fuck the man and home school. gotta rewire them on their way home. i'd be the parent making a stink over those nasty wipes in class. i get it but come on- soapy hot water- best thing! also on the flip, while gus is never sick kid has some serious allergies and yet in a totally organic non purell home. i think the over usage of hand sanitizers, bleach, etc. are why germs spread out of control these days. you strip the good. kind of like the kid and I consume pro biotics daily... the good is good but the bad ain't always bad.

diana | 7:22 PM

I am totally with you on this. I grew up playing in a dirt pile (literally) and am a huge supporter of the 10 second rule. Or 10 minute rule for that matter. I probably should be better about washing my hands, but I despise using purell and don't even own the harsh, antibacterial chemicals for "cleaning" my home. I use eco-friendly cleaners and a little elbow grease.

What really gets me is that SO MANY PEOPLE think that antibacterial gel/wipes will prevent the flu, which is a virus. It's amazing how many people just follow the drone of the TV ads without stopping to think about what they are doing/buying and why.

I little dirt never hurt anyone.

Amy | 8:22 PM

I'd like to not have to worry about germs but since September, Nola has had a series of colds followed by ear infections. It sucks! So I have resorted to being a germaphobe. I have a cover for shopping carts, hand sanitizer, and lots of hand washing. I have thought about bubble wrapping the house for the remainder of cold/flu season.

That said, she loves nothing more than to play in the dirt and eat off the floor.

Kathy R. | 8:54 PM

I am completely against bleach being used in school (I won't even use it in my home for any reason) I also HATE antibacterials in soaps etc etc. However, Purell and other similar/exact ingredient cleansers work entirely differently and do not cause the same problems that other products labeled "antibacterial" do. They don't cause/create superbugs, they don't take off more of the "good" bacteria on hands than soap and water. Also the "good" bacteria on hands is not exactly "fighting" the bad bacteria, it doesn't really work like that.

There are tons of great sites that show exactly how these cleaners differ and why certain ones are better to use then others but my phone's search function is slow so I can't link to them currently. All it takes is a google search to see scientifically why alcohol based cleansers are not part of the problem. (no I don't work for them, I work with a cleaning business that is LEED certified and have an advanced degree in micro-biology.)

For the record my kids play in massive massive amounts of dirt, If things look clean after they fall we eat them (unless we are on public transportation or in a house that cleans with bleach. ;D)my kids are outside, carted around germ carrying humans from the day after they are born, I am less "clean" than my mother was growing up, etc etc and my daugther still has allergies etc. =

Bex | 6:41 AM

I'm in your corner, though I think, as in all things, balance is called for. In other words, if there is poop involved, there will be washing. Otherwise, you know, whatever. Let 'em build up some immunity.

Anonymous | 6:41 AM

Check out the book "Overkill: Repairing the Damage Caused by Our Unhealthy Obsession with Germs, Antibiotics, and Antibacterial Products" by Kim Thompson if you want more info on this...

emily | 7:46 AM

I'm glad you brought this up. Perfectly healthy people thinking chemicals are preferable to dirt and (scary!) germs is one of the most frustrating things for me. Purell, specifically, is LOADED with nasty ingredients:

I use EO hand sanitizer when absolutely necessary (touched something obviously gross and can't wash my hands). It's plant based and it doesn't have all those nasty ingredients.

Crystal | 8:02 AM

I agree with you about using soap and water (and other natural cleansers) whenever possible. I also agree that we shouldn't forsake the future for today's convenience.

However, I also have an immunosuppressed child (liver transplant), so germy classrooms and snotty noses pose a real threat to us.

Just wanted to give another perspective so when you see the next mom wiping down the shopping cart, or washing their kid's hands after they just played with yours, it's not necessarily a crazy person. Some of us aren't germaphobes by choice. :D

Anonymous | 9:03 AM

Thank you Kathy R. You are the first and only person to point out Purell type products are not Antibacterial products. I do use hand sanitizers, but I do not use bleach or antibacterial soaps. Our local hospital actually asked the community to not use antibacterial soaps unless they had an immune problem in the family. Clean hands save lives!

Anonymous | 10:53 AM

We're also not hand washers, don't touch anti-bacterials in normal life, live healthy, are outside often and avoid antibiotics as much as possible.

And at the moment my kids are always always always sick! I think one or both has been sick 25% of time since we got that @#$#@$ h1n1 in October.

Today I'm taking the one year old to the dr where he will probably be diagnosed with walking pneumonia (caught from another daycare kid). And so we'll probably go the antibiotic route.

I agree with another commentator.
Immune system stuff is a crapshoot.

And full-time preschool and daycare don't help once your vulnerable. But it is how it is and we just hope all this sickness doesn't scar them for life healthwise- although I am betting/hoping their super immune system later in school will scar them psychologically since they will never ever get to take a valid sick day. And then they will then tell their own kids that they never got sick as kids :)

Melissa | 1:36 PM

I've never been a clean freak about my child. I washed his bottles with hot water, but didn't sterilize. He was breastfed mostly anyway, and my boob isn't sterile. He's a thumbsucker so all kinds of nasty stuff goes in his mouth all the time. And he's so healthy. In 3 years he's been sick once or twice (if you don't count ear infections). I think all this sterilization stuff goes too far.

Megan Stuke | 1:57 PM

I can't agree more. I am not a germaphobe. My mother, when I was growing up, didn't keep soap (besides the dishwashing kind, under the sink) at the kitchen sink. We never thought much of it.

I keep anti bacterial in the diaper bag for use on my own hands, after changing a poopy diaper. That's about it.

And, btw, I am healthy as a horse with no allergies.

I also work in a hospital, fwiw. You'd think I'd be brainwashed. We use the stuff around patients, new babies, etc. But that doesn't translate to my house.

I also have something against clorox wipes. It just seems *wrong* to me to swipe bleach across every surface of my house; esp. when I have a baby in there.

Jaime | 2:19 PM

As a teacher I have to say that classrooms are incubators for illnesses and that kids are gross. We are given some sort of "wipes" for surfaces and others for hands, but I refuse to use them. I do have hand sanitizer next to the tissues, but I make it clear that it is not a substitute for handwashing. I also have the kids clean their desks daily with simple green... but if there's something nasty going around I would consider a bleach wash only after the kids have left... I haven't had to do this yet, thank goodness!

My little guy had minor surgery a few weeks ago and they asked us if we bathed him with antibaterial soap recently... anyone know why they'd want to know that?

Techno Angel | 2:25 PM

I mean... I don't even know if I'm qualified to participate since I'm not a "mom" unless you could m 2 DARLING puppies that I treat like children. I will say this though.. I am NOT a germaphobe. I let my dirty little dogs sleep in bed with me every night. I do, however, use hand sanitizer when I use public transportation. You just never know. I agree with you that dirt isn't harmful. I'm more scared of who picked their nose or sneezed or stuck their hands down their pants than I am of germs.

Unknown | 2:58 PM

I'm glad a few people have pointed out the difference between antibacterial and alcohol-based products. Also, yeah, it is hard to find anything that doesn't read "antibacterial," but well, don't they all kill bacteria?

My son is into dirt all the time. Digging, running, picking up bugs (as in insects, not germs), catching lizards, petting cats and dogs. I'm not paranoid about this at all. We still wash our hands before every meal, though. Also, no sick parties, and we're big on vaccines. You don't have to be a paranoid freak to be vigilant.

And I would imagine that yes, it would be a big hassle to have all the kids march through the bathroom and wash their hands, rather than just receive a squirt of Purell. Does that make it OK? Not exactly. But I chaperoned a field trip recently, and was responsible for getting just FIVE boys in and out of the bathroom. Oh. My. God. Let's just say I can understand that one.

BonJoey | 4:22 PM

We HAVE collectively gotten COMPLETELY "hyper-cuckoo" over germs and it is insane. Insane and Scary. I couldn't agree with you more, Rebecca. I'm staunchly anti-hand sanitizing gel/Lysol spray/etc... fact of the matter is you are RIGHT it does do much MUCH more harm than good, killing the good bacteria AAAAAND (sorry for so much capital usage here), along with over-use of antibiotics (majorly!) being one of the causes of the super-strain killer bacteria we are now seeing these days. I say down with Purell, lysol and the bunch. We'd all be healthier and less neurotic if we all got back to good old-fashion non-anti-bacterial hand washing!!!

Amy K | 4:27 PM

We don't use antibacterial soap in my house, but I do use alcohol wipes on shopping cart handles and high chairs because my baby is barely immunized and has a tendency to wrap her mouth around whatever surface is immediately in front of her face. I'll be less phobic about it when she's a little older and all the brouhaha over swine flu has died down. I don't want my girl to end up with the delicate immune system of a bubble child because she was never exposed to any germs.

Anonymous | 7:02 PM

I understand your pt.It is extreme using it in schools especially clorox to wipe down a desk I don't like that and I would not support that at ALL! That is like the H1N1 flu shot that they were saying was safe and now has been linked to heart conditions in children- Just not enough info to know if it is really safe.

Amanda C. | 8:04 PM

A. Men.

Katherine | 12:57 PM

I just received this link today and thought I'd pass it on, as it contains information pertinent to your latest post.
World Watch had published findings that some of the ingredients in Antibacterial Products actually produces Chloroform when it comes into contact with Tap water... that and a variety of other findings people have already mentioned. If you're interested, check it out:

Katherine | 12:58 PM

I just received this link today and thought I'd pass it on, as it contains information pertinent to your latest post.
World Watch had published findings that some of the ingredients in Antibacterial Products actually produces Chloroform when it comes into contact with Tap water... that and a variety of other findings people have already mentioned. If you're interested, check it out:

Liz | 3:51 PM

Funny, I saw an ad the other day for an automatic soap dispenser for your home. The angle on the pitch was: do you know how many germs collect on the top of the soap dispenser? Which you touch all the time with your hands??

I thought this was hilarious because aren't you only touching the top of the soap dispenser when you're mere seconds away from covering your hands with the soap and washing them?


Anonymous | 6:53 PM

here here! you said it, sister!

meredyth | 12:54 PM

I totally agree about this, even though I'm not a parent. I wouldn't be doing it with my kids. I also do don't myself. And I love Mrs. Meyers. It smells delicious. Especially the geranium. Yum!

zack & penny | 5:42 PM

as a mom of a crazy, i-go-near-a-nut-and-could-die, anaphlactic allergic reactive kid, thank you for picking up those nuts on the playground. and as far as killing all the germs? that can lead to allergies, i hear. huh....

eringremlin | 6:31 PM

Just wanted to add that Sun and Earth cleanser is AWESOME and all natural. It makes my kitchen smell like orange Pez. And then I get caught licking the counters....

kittenpie | 5:51 AM

I'm with you exactly. I'm not scared of regular germs, only the supergerms we might breed with all the paranoia. The ads for lysol and all of those things totally prey and tha tand push it, too, because does that stuff ever sell! Blech.

statia | 5:45 PM

SO Anti-antibacterial! I have some bottles of Cleanwell, which I admit, I don't use regularly. They're floating in the depths of my car somewhere, buried underneath coats and toys, and books. I use it maybe for things like going to the zoo, or aquarium, but for every day use, no. We sometimes forget to wash hands too. My kids rarely get sick. I think it does more harm than good. And I agree, it's become this major paranoia.

I will say, that we flew right during the height of flu season, and I was EXTREMELY vigilant about washing hands and washing off the seats with the Cleanwell, and wipes and making sure we washed our hands every 45 feet. But then again, my daughter was only four months old, and I really didn't want her getting the flu. I didn't care about myself. I just didn't want my kids to get it.

After that? Pfft. We have two dogs, and they probably both eat hair regularly. I don't even keep lysol or any of that stuff in my house.

alissa | 8:34 PM

i agree. let em get a few germs, build up their immune systems.

amyinbc | 9:49 PM

I admit I have a lil bottle of anti-bacterial goop in my purse for those times I am in public and going to eat (and too lazy to seek out a bathroom to wash my hands.)

Not a germophobe but with the recent swine flu propaganda I do have more awareness of what my hands have been exposed to when out in the public and would rather not ingest those nasties while I eat and sometimes while out in public my hands feel nasty dirty.

In moderation people. Wanting our hands to be clean before we eat NOT a bad thing and if you are not near a washroom using a squirt of antibacterial gel is a good thing.

replica bags | 8:26 AM

As a mature man I find that I don't seem to give those looks a second glance anymore but really appreciate and find attractive the woman that can put herself together well whether casual or sophisticated and carries herself with class and confidence, as you do.
Well done, like it a lot.

replica bags | 8:28 AM

As a mature man I find that I don't seem to give those looks a second glance anymore but really appreciate and find attractive the woman that can put herself together well whether casual or sophisticated and carries herself with class and confidence, as you do.
Well done, like it a lot.