The Grapevine

Antibacterial Cleaners Could Actually Increase Molds In Your Home

There’s no shortage of these nowadays, lined up on your local stores and supermarkets and heavily marketed at TV commercials. Made to make sure our homes are clean, these cleaning products usually boast that they can eliminate up to 99.9 percent of germs.

But are these claims true?

Well, it’s complicated. That’s because according to a new study, urban homes that use these cleaning products have more fungal growth than rural homes, a clear opposite of what should be expected.

Do antibacterials increase mold growth?

Published in the scientific journal Nature Microbiology, the study, titled “Home Chemical and Microbial Transitions Across Urbanization” shows researchers comparing the chemical and microbial conditions of both urban and rural homes in the Amazon basin. The people and their living conditions have also been investigated and compared.

Per the researchers, the dwellings they compared ranged from a populated Peruvian city with modern appurtenances

, to the high-rise metropolis of Manaus, to a rural Peruvian town with wooden houses and no indoor plumbing and to a rainforest village with non-walled thatched huts. Surprisingly enough, their results were unexpected.

“Overall, our results indicate that urbanization has large-scale effects on chemical and microbial exposures and on the human microbiota,” the researchers wrote.

According to the researchers, one reason behind this may be fungal resistance to cleaning products and chemicals. However, they also stated that there are other facets too, such as the fact that urbanization can bring so many risks in this regard such as modern living shutting us inside with industrial compounds and higher carbon dioxide levels.

This can lead to a decrease of the richness of our microbiomes, which is linked to the increase of metabolic and immunological diseases. Other factors also include the repeated use of antibiotics, which alter our gut bacteria.

Additionally, heavy use of fungicide could also lead to drug-resistant fungi since these chemicals are widely used in farming these days.

Per the scientists, this is a clear red flag, and thus should be studied more moving forward. Furthermore, it also highlights all the unhealthy aspects of urban living.

House Mold Growth Image Flickr/Stimpy023