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Has anybody actually counted the germs before and after washing to see if the claim is true?
I'd say more appropriate would be count + how dangerous they are. I remember a mythbusters episode where they found the most germ-filled and dangerous thing in your home is your kitchen sponge ... which I have suspected for a while because of the smell it usually gets.
I wash dishes by hand or in the dishwasher and don't use a sponge.
Here's my uneducated but logical view. For one, if the product is advertised to kill 100% of germs, then they are open to being sued if an exception comes up. Another point, what is a 'germ'? I believe a germ is a generalized word, like 'bug' which is open to interpretation, and so claiming to kill 100% of germs again leaves them open to a law suit. Sanitizer is claimed to kill 100% of bacteria, but bacteria are not 'germs'. Germs are always thought of as bad, bacteria can be beneficial or harmful. Viruses are not bacteria, but sanitizer does kill many viruses (i think). Viruses, reproduce with spores like fungus, Sanitizer also can not kill spores.
This doesn't answer your question for sure, but i think that the first two points are very valid reasons.
There are two things why killing 99% of germs is in general a bad idea:
1. As H_TeXMeX_H already pointed out, it will only leave back the resistant strains. This is why we have nowadays problems with ineffective antibiotics and why the most dangerous strains of bacteria usually are found in well cleaned places, like hospitals.
2. Living in an environment with almost no bacteria leaves your immune system untrained, so that it sometimes starts to overreact even if there is no threat to it. This is why we have so many allergic people nowadays.
Besides that, one other place to look for huge amounts of bacterias, besides your kitchen sponge, is your computer keyboard. I wonder how many people now go out and search for speech recognition systems.
Jokes aside, contrary what the cleaning agent industry wants you to believe, germs are not necessarily a bad thing, they help you to keep yourself healthy with training your immune systems (and also to live in your digestive system and other parts of your body to help you with your body functions).
So, if they haven't harmed me yet, then they're not going to unless they do. Anti-bacterial soap isn't going to help... though I can transport them to the microbial quarantine known as the sponge and hope that the labyrinthine pores within keep them from escaping, causing their ultimate death as consequence for trespassing on my counter.
Last edited by lupusarcanus; 01-15-2013 at 10:54 AM.