We all like to keep our house and living space clean. Hoovering once a week and wiping down the surfaces in the kitchen each day are common practice but is there such a thing as cleaning too much Can we essentially kill all the germs in our house’s and leave ourselves, especially younger children, more at risk of catching diseases?

Research into domestic cleaning has found that yes, we can, thus weakening the immune system of our children. It’s this weakening of defences that can cause us to develop many different health issues including asthma, hay fever and allergies.

As a child develops so too does its immune system. A child needs to be exposed to certain microbes in its early formative years to be able to develop antibodies to protect itself. An absence of these, is said to have led to an increase in development of the aforementioned health problems compared to third world countries where the same high levels of sanitation aren’t in place.

Research in Britain has found the children from larger families have a lesser chance of developing autoimmune diseases, like asthma or hay fever, because they were subject to more bacteria from their siblings. While increased use of antibacterial sprays and soaps is said to be a cause of higher rates of asthma.

An argument also exists that it may be a function of development in humans, however it has been found that even in developing countries, children from upper class families have a greater chance of developing asthma than those in lower social classes who live in less sanitary conditions.

It has been known for years that we also need a certain number of good bacteria in our bodies, which the use of antibiotics kills off. Scientists have presented findings that show use of anti-bacterial sprays and soaps can also have negative effects on our bodies, just like antibiotics.

Using germ free mice, researchers found that they possessed a large number of cells in their bodies that are blamed for asthma and bowel problems. When the mice went on to develop these diseases, they were found to have more severe symptoms that would be usually expected.

So, next time you are washing your hands or those of you child’s for the fifth time that day, think twice and leave the antibacterial soap to the side, your child’s immune system will thank you.