Hand-Wash Dishes For Your Immune System

Hand-Wash Dishes For Your Immune System

Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto -- a superstar on Iron Chef America -- once said, “Japanese chefs believe our soul goes into our knives once we start using them. You wouldn't put your soul in a dishwasher!”

He’s right that modern utility isn’t very soulful -- but for a newly-discovered and surprising reason. A Swedish study found that kids who grow up in dishwasher-using households are more likely to develop allergies, eczema, and asthma than kids in households where dishes are hand-washed. (In the same vein, another study found that if parents clean off their kid’s pacifier by sucking on it, the children develop fewer allergies.)

The researchers followed over 1,000 seven and eight year olds. They found that 38% of kids whose parents had dishwashers reported eczema, while only 23% of hand-washers did. And in dishwasher families, 7.3% of the kids developed asthma, while only 1.7% of kids in hand- washing families did.

Why? Well, it could be another vote for the hygiene hypothesis. That theory says our lack of exposure to microbes makes us susceptible to autoimmune disease, allergies, etc. Perhaps, a dishwasher’s wash ‘n’ dry cycles don’t leave any immune-system-strengthening germs on dishes for us to ingest.

But we’re not saying give up your dishwasher (it may be soulless, but it sure is convenient), just don’t get over-sanitized. Lose the antibacterial soaps and household cleaners -- they trigger antibiotic resistance and their chemicals often include hormone disruptors! Trust your immune system. Soap, water and elbow grease to do a fine job.

Medically reviewed in October 2018.

More On

Kick Immunity into High Gear with a Kicky Song

article

Kick Immunity into High Gear with a Kicky Song
Ever catch yourself humming that old Broadway tune "Everything's Coming Up Roses"? Maybe you should give it a try sometime. Your immune system may tha...
Can I Improve My Immune Cells to Fight Cancer?

video

Can I Improve My Immune Cells to Fight Cancer?
There are many things you can do to improve your immune cells to fight cancer: dietary changes, taking herbs and supplements, and various mind-body te...
Are There Natural Remedies I Can Use to Boost My Immune System?

video

Are There Natural Remedies I Can Use to Boost My Immune System?
Watch as Naturopathic Doctor and Licensed Acupuncturist Pina LoGiudice discusses alternative, natural remedies that can boost your immune system.
What Is Immune System Depression?

video

What Is Immune System Depression?
A low-functioning immune system can cause vague symptoms like exhaustion, getting sick often, inflammation and joint pain, and general fogginess. Watc...