What is often forgotten is that the relationship between household or personal cleanliness and development of allergies has never been properly investigated or established.
2002 Study of personal cleanliness
An analysis of data from the UK ALSPC cohort study of children born in 1991/2 showed association between parent-reported frequency of hand and face washing, showering and bathing at 15 months and wheezing and eczema at 30-42 months, but this has not been confirmed in other studies
From the first study, published in 2015, to directly evaluate this issue, Erika von Mutius, a highly respected researcher in this field, concluded – No. “Development of allergies and asthma is not related to cleaning activities”.
2015 Study of home and personal cleanliness
von Mutius and colleagues studied a group of 399 families. The study showed:
- Bacterial exposure in house dust was associated with reduced risk of childhood asthma and allergies
- Personal cleanliness, such as washing hands, and home cleanliness were objectively reflected by dust parameters in homes
However, neither personal nor home cleanliness were associated with protection from asthma and allergies.