How does probiotic cleaning work?
We all know that many diseases are caused by bacteria (such as E. coli, salmonella, MRSA, Listeria and Legionella) and that the aim of cleaning is to get rid of such bacteria. Normal detergents and disinfectants are "antibacterial" or "biocides", which means that they have one main aim - to kill ALL bacteria (you will probably be familiar with claims such as "kills 99.9% of all bacteria"). But for many years people have known that not all bacteria is bad (see "History of probiotics"). Our products therefore use the good bacteria to create a bacterial balance, significantly reducing the risk of bad bacteria. That is why we are different - we are probiotic, for life, promoting it rather than killing it.
The problem with disinfectants
When you wipe a surface with a normal antibacterial cleaner you kill all the bacteria, the good and the bad, which has three main disadvantages: Firstly, it cleans only the bacteria on the top of the surface (step 2 in the diagram below). That is effective, but is only temporary. The bad bacteria continue to live in the biofilm, and soon return. Secondly, and this is the really crucial part, the surface is left open, allowing the fast re-colonisation by bad bacteria. Finally, the repeated use of disinfectants adds to the risk of antibiotic resistance and the creation of superbugs such as MRSA, which is causing huge problems around the world, especially in places such as hospitals. But cleaning with a Pro-B cleaner is different!
The revolution - probiotic cleaning
The way it works is simple: good and bad bacteria both rely on the same nutrients and the same space (they can't live on top of each other). Therefore, if an area is full of good bacteria the good bacteria feeds off the nutrients that the bad bacteria would otherwise feed off and uses the space that the bad bacteria would otherwise use. Our probiotic cleaners spread the area with good bacteria on the treated surface, immediately occupying the "field". These good bacteria consume the available food sources (including dead organic matter) and therefore reduce the risk of it being re-colonised with bad bacteria. Not only that, but as a result of the presence of the good bacteria the bad bacteria communicate with each other (a process known as "quorum sensing") about the unfavourable conditions and go into an inactive metabolic state. And because the good bacteria stay on the surface, the effect of preventing the bad bacteria lasts longer. But like all living organisms, even good bacteria become less effective over time and eventually die, so they need to be regularly replaced with new good bacteria (though we are constantly developing new methods to make this easier, such as Pro-B Air).
Although cleaning using bacteria may sound odd and counterintuitive, it is actually well recognised by academics and the medical profession around the world. The results of numerous studies into the effects of probiotic cleaning have been so good that it now used in more and more hospitals, which are obviously incredibly particular about cleanliness and overall hygiene. In fact, some academics and medical practitioners have suggested that probiotic cleaning could help in the fight against MRSA and other superbugs in hospitals and this area is constantly developing.
The advantages of probiotics
- Made using naturally occurring substances
- Mostly biodegradable
- Increases bacterial balance
- Reduces risks from allergens
- Non-toxic - it is not a poison
- Not corrosive
- Does not encourage antibiotic resistance
But don't just take our word for it, independent research has shown what our cleaners can do, and more research is being conducted all of the time.
However, not all probiotic cleaners are the same, which is why our products are unique - for more details see "Why Pro-B?".