For or Against the "Too Clean Theory?": An Infection Control Debate

posted May 5, 2011, 8:05 AM by Todd Fox   [ updated Sep 24, 2016, 8:52 AM ]

I’m not sure that any one person is completely for or against the Too Clean Theory.  The intention of this article is to bridge the gap between the wide spectrum of opinions by showing how responsibility and moderation ultimately prevail with infection control.  Since each side has merit, we want to motivate the reader to practice personal responsibility and moderation rather than arguing his or her position.


In general, believers of the Too Clean Theory argue the negative consequences that stem from parents creating an environment that is too sterile for their children. Too Clean Theorists claim that an ultra-clean environment does not allow a child's immune system to develop and build up defenses against harmful illnesses and diseases. 


As has been proven, over sanitation can cause the elimination of helpful bacteria and also enable certain strains of bacteria to build resistance to cleansing chemicals and medication.  The “antibacterial” agents are said to only kill bacteria (leaving viruses) and leave the human body unprepared from the lack of defenses.  Are antibacterial agents (and antibiotics) the main causes of super bugs we are experiencing (MRSA, etc.)?


In addition to the medical affects of maintaining an ultra-clean environment, do these overprotective parents inhibit a child’s social development as well?  For example, are parents keeping their children from playing and socializing because they are afraid of the germs of in classrooms, parties and so forth? 


On the opposite side of the spectrum, it may be apparent that some Too Clean Theorists have not frequented areas that are so germ-concentrated that any effort at sanitation would multiply health levels.  When frequenting ultra-contaminated areas, it is difficult to not become fixated with sanitizing and overusing antibacterial agents.


Although both sides have merit, the desired result should have balance, exuding effective hygiene principles and environmental responsibility.  Multiple chemical use can cause environmental damage as well as help build the likelihood of superbugs.  However, too loose of hygiene standards can cause outbreaks and the inability for the body to build up defenses to fight future diseases.


Infection control and hygiene principles can be very simple but are necessary to help keep you and your family healthy.  Simply using soap and warm water can keep you healthy and not cause negative effects to the environment.  Using the following tips can simplify your approach to good hygiene and control possible diseases, viruses and other infections:


-Wash hands often (before and after using the restroom, eating, working, etc.)

-Clean up you environment (simple cleaning solutions will do)

-Use proper storage and refrigeration with foods

-Clean bodily areas immediately if you are exposed (soaps, MyClyns Germ Protection Spray, etc.)

-Avoid touching your face

-Carry and use hand sanitizer (especially at social gatherings, tradeshows, etc.)

-Cook your foods thoroughly

-Teach children, friends and others proper cleaning

-Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze (and remind others too!)


If you have any questions or would like to use the newest tools in the industry, contact OUTFOX Prevention.  We conduct free consultations and pinpoint where you can best improve your infection control policies. 

Keywords:  Too Clean Theory, antibacterial, Hygiene, infection control, hand washing

Recent Infection Control Blog Posts

  • Preparation for coronavirus through Glo Germ Besides the mandates and recommendations passed down from the health organizations (WHO, CDC, Federal and state government health organizations, etc.), what are some ways you can prepare your organization to ...
    Posted Nov 24, 2021, 1:38 PM by Todd Fox
  • Top Tips for Selecting a Good Washroom Service Company Promoting a clean and environmentally conscious workplace not only improves your staff happiness but is also a representation of you as a business owner. Both staff and customers who visit ...
    Posted Nov 3, 2017, 12:15 PM by Todd Fox
Showing posts 1 - 2 of 186. View more »