The University of Canterbury did a study between the use of Chemicals and ENJO, and from their research we have identified the top nine tips for a healthier and more hygienic lifestyle.

Tip 1: Dry your hands after washing

A major pathogen source leading to ill health is incorrectly prepared or stored food – improperly cooked, stored at wrong temperatures or too high pH (not acidic enough). Cleaning with chemicals will not reduce this source of illness. Hands are pathogen sources too. Good hand hygiene – ie: washing with soap and water for long enough, using a nail brush and drying thoroughly – is a major way to avoid illnesses. Antibacterial hand washes are virtually useless (you could say “99.9% useless”!)

Tip 2: Disinfection and cleaning with chemicals is not necessary and not recommended.

Disinfection of surfaces is not necessary except in operating theatres and hospital wards with high risk patients such as: after surgery, during intensive cancer treatment, or patients with serious, infectious illnesses. Disinfection and cleaning with chemicals is therefore not recommended as it is causing antibiotic resistance – a profound problem for mankind.

Tip 3: Don’t kill bacteria.

Disinfecting with chemicals kills all bacteria, including beneficial and commensal bacteria. This is harmful to our health as there are many strains of bacteria which we need in order to stay healthy. Tolerogenic gut bacteria are vital for proper brain development, immune function and nutrient production (eg: B12). Lack of tolerogenic organisms leads to diseases such as asthma,food allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and lupus. Research into tolerogenic organisms is just opening up – we barely know anything about them.

Tip 4: Keep it dry!

In “clean” but moist environments, bacteria re-grow very fast. Keeping everything dry (surfaces, cloths, hands) prevents bacterial re-grow, including pathogenic bacteria. Moist environments also lead to growth of fungal and bacterial spores, which are a serious health risk (there are plenty of alarming, current articles about this).

Tip 5: Don’t strain yourself with cleaning chemicals.

Cleaning chemicals have been linked to respiratory illnesses (eg: asthma), allergic reactions (eg: dermatitis), cancer (xenoestrogens), DNA damage, birth defects and the feminizing of boys in utero. Also, using fibre cleaning products is less of a physical strain than using conventional cloths for wiping and cleaning, eg: back strain through floor mopping or repetitive strain injury (RSI) from washing surfaces – a problem for commercial cleaners.

Tip 6: Appreciate long term and generational health effects of chemicals.

Chemicals undergo risk assessments singly, however mixtures of chemicals are more potent than single chemicals, in lower exposures. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are under-appreciated as sources of chemical caused illnesses. The exposure of children to chemicals in utero, and through breast milk have also not been fully appreciated. Studies hav proven that chemicals can therefore be transferred from mother to her unborn baby.

Tip 7: Keep the natural environment clean.

Cleaning chemicals pollute the environment directly (in waterways, streams, etc) and indirectly by bottles used for storage, transport, etc. Simple eco-friendly test: If you can’t pour your cleaner in a fish bowl, don’t use it. Chemicals and plastics usually end up in rivers, streams and the ocean after we have used it.

Tip 8: Invest in proper quality fibre and eco-friendly alternatives.

University of Canterbury’s experiment and many experiments in academic literature, demonstrate that fibre cleaning products can clean as well as chemicals, if not better, using only water.

Tip 9: Fibre cleaning products are cheaper.

According to calculations made by ENJO on the average cleaning chemical use, per family, per year – using ENJO fibre cleaning products works out cheaper and more productive than buying cleaning chemicals and detergents, cloths and associated cleaning items. Many companies using ENJO report long term labour savings of up to 50%, and cost savings on cleaning products of between 30 and 40%.

Why the Trial between Chemicals and ENJO?

University of Canterbury covers 87 ha of suburban land in Christchurch, it has 240 buildings and 120 cleaning staff. There is an effort to green up their cleaning, although to date this has focused on choosing, for example, ‘biodegradable’ chemicals where possible, however non-chemical cleaning features in their draft Sustainability

Strategy 2012-2022. Hence they decided to allocate resources to a Summer Sustainability Scholarship to research the efficacy of fibre technology as compared to their current cleaning practice.

A Brief Overview of the Trial

The primary objective of this project was to do microbiological sampling in a real setting, to see if there was any difference in bacterial and fungal loadings, after two daily cleaning regimes. The two cleaning regimes were, firstly the University of Canterbury’s current regime which uses standard cleaning products containing chemical cleaning agents and disinfectants and secondly, a regime which used only fibre-based cleaning products (using ENJO fibres). The samples were taken on two floors of the English Building at the University of Canterbury.

The major find was that there was no significant difference in bacterial or fungal loadings between the two cleaning regimes. There is an increasing body of evidence which highlights how the routine use of harsh cleaning products and disinfectants is having serious adverse affects on the environment, on biota and on people. The adverse effects on people include DNA damage, brain and immune system impairment, asthma and allergic reactions to products. Because routine use of harsh cleaning and disinfecting chemicals is not necessary and because they have serious adverse effects, we should be questioning our use of them.

Information sourced from: ‘A Report and Practical Microbiological Experiment for the Sustainability Office, University of Canterbury’ – Kate Henry, 2011

Why is this important?

  • From a top university – University of Canterbury is in the top 200 universities worldwide

  • FULL Scientific study

  • 9 swabs/2 sites/ 2 floors/ 2 x weekly

  • No difference between chemicals and ENJO