Home > tips > Tip #26: Disinfectants cause Some Bacteria to Survive.

Tip #26: Disinfectants cause Some Bacteria to Survive.

To keep sickness at bay, many of us constantly wash hands and disinfect surfaces. But a new lab study shows one pesky bacterium eats cleansers for breakfast: When disinfectant was applied to lab cultures of the bacteria, they adapted to survive not only the disinfectant but also a common antibiotic.  The research team focused on Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium responsible for a range of infections in people with weakened immune systems. When the scientists added increasing amounts of disinfectant to P. aeruginosa cultures, the bacteria adapted to survive not only the disinfectant but also the antibiotic called ciprofloxacin.

A better option might be to use essential oils as hand sanitizers.  Published research does seem to support the efficacy of essential oils. In fact, a study examined the effectiveness of essential oils on six bacterial species. Nineteen of the essential oils tested showed antibacterial activity against one or more strains. Cinnamon, clove, geranium, lemon, lime, orange, and rosemary oils showed the most promise.  In another study, researchers tests patchouli, tea tree, geranium, and lavender essential oils as well as Citricidal (grapefruit seed extract). These oils and extracts were used alone and in combination to assess their anti-bacterial activity against three strains of Staphylococcus aureus. A combination of Citricidal and geranium oil showed the greatest anti-bacterial effects against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), while a combination of geranium and tea tree oil was most active against the methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (Oxford strain).

A visit to your local health food store will provide you with an abundance of ways essential oils are being used today, from shampoos to hand sanitizers. Or if you prefer, look into the straight essential oils. They provide a good alternative to harsher chemicals that are available on the market.

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