Cleaning your home with live bacteria might sound nuts, but probiotic cleaners are actually an incredible new form of non-toxic household cleaning! In this guide to all things probiotic cleaning, I answer all of your questions about how probiotics benefit our homes.
I am sure you have heard about the amazing benefits of kombucha, the probiotic-rich natural fizzy drink which can work wonders for our gut health and digestion! Probiotics have also started to make their way into our skin care, but what if we could harness their incredible benefits in our homes too?!
Probiotic cleaning is fast becoming an amazing technology in natural cleaning products and it works just like kombucha, packed with all of the good bacteria but designed for cleaning our homes rather than our gut. It might sound crazy, but when we think about, probiotics are the way that mother nature has been cleaning for billions of years! One incredible brand of probiotic cleaning products is Counter Culture and I could not be more thrilled to introduce them to you and share everything you need to know about what these products are and how they work.
What is Counter Culture?
Counter Culture is an Australian range of natural cleaning products created by Michelle Perkins 10 years ago after a scary incident with her then 3-year-old daughter, Alex, who had accidentally locked herself in a bathroom while visiting family. Michelle was absolutely terrified knowing that there were dangerous chemical cleaning products within reach in the bathroom, and eventually had to take the door off its hinges to get her daughter out. Thankfully, Alex was fine but her dress had been spotted by a bleach cleaner. Michelle thought there must be safer alternatives for families than poisonous cleaning products!
Through her research, Michelle found out about a livestock farmer who used "good bacteria" instead of bleach for farm cleaning and hygiene, and immediately knew that if this special technology could clean a literal pigsty, it could clean our homes safely and effectively. Michelle obtained the mother culture from a microbiology lab and began experimenting with mixing a probiotic solution with essential oils to develop natural household cleaning products which are totally safe, effective and smell good too.
What is probiotic cleaning?
Probiotic cleaning replenishes the surfaces in our homes with good bacteria, instead of using harsh ingredients to kill all bacteria like some mainstream antibacterial cleaning products do. According to Counter Culture, some research is suggesting that when we clean with products designed to "kill 99.9% of bacteria", it may be working against the natural ecosystem found in our homes.
How does probiotic cleaning work?
According to Counter Culture, not all bacteria are "bad". Actually they can really be beneficial for us! In the same way that probiotics can help with gut health, friendly bacteria in cleaning products can help to balance the ecosystem in your home. Counter Culture uses 13 strains of live probiotic cultures in each blend — these multi-strains are known to be stronger than single strains and are used to eat through biofilm, the protective layer which keeps bad bacteria alive. Essentially the probiotics found in these cleaning sprays work to crowd out pathogens and make them become dormant. To get into the science, this process is called "Quorum sensing" — where all bacteria send out chemical signatures to detect how many of their kind and how many other types of bacteria are near them. If a bacterium is not the "dominant" species, its pathogenic behaviour won't be activated!
The good bugs found in Counter Culture also continue to work long after you've finished cleaning — this is because they are living organisms. Unlike the detergents, emulsifiers and foaming agents found in mainstream cleaning products, the surfactants in probiotic cleaners are created as natural by-products in the fermentation process. These naturally derived surfactants are actually similar to vinegar and can loosen, break through and remove dirt, grime and bacteria just as powerfully as traditional formulations.
How to use probiotic cleaning sprays
Natural probiotic cleaning products can be used in the same way you would use any household cleaner. For everyday use, simply spray onto surfaces and wipe clean with a cloth. For more heavy duty use, spray liberally onto the affected surfaces and leave to let the cultures work for approximately 15 minutes, then wipe clean. Counter Culture probiotic cleaners are safe for most hard household surfaces, but spot testing on materials such as unsealed wood or stone is recommended before use. Probiotic cleaners do not need to be refrigerated — simply store at room temperature away from direct sunlight.
Do essential oils kill probiotic cultures?
According to Counter Culture, each probiotic cleaning formula only contains a small amount of essential oils for scent. As they are diluted in the formula, they do not affect the health of the good bacteria. In fact, lactic acid cultures are extremely hardy bacteria which can survive a lot!
What keeps the bacteria alive in the bottle?
Each Counter Culture formula contains Sea Salt and organic Brown Sugar to activate the beneficial bacteria, feed them, and keep them alive and well.
Non-toxic cleaning products
Counter Culture All Purpose Organic Cleaner - Lemongrass
Designed for everyday household cleaning, the Counter Culture All Purpose Organic Cleaner - Lemongrass is family-friendly, pet-safe and ultra easy to use. Working to destroy biofilm and help restore balance to the bacteria in your home, the probiotic cultures in this cleaning spray keep bad bacteria and odours to a minimum to leave your home fresh and clean. This natural cleaning spray is perfect for use in the kitchen and bathroom as well as on kids toys, furniture, wood surfaces, granite, tiles, bamboo and stainless steel, and can powerfully break down oils, fat, grease and streaks for a flawless and shiny finish. This Lemongrass scent is enriched with refreshing Lemongrass, Lemon Myrtle, Pink Grapefruit and Rosemary essential oils.
Counter Culture All Purpose Organic Cleaner - Lavender
Perfect for those who prefer a subtle and calming Lavender aroma, the Counter Culture All Purpose Organic Cleaner - Lavender does the exact same job as the Lemongrass scent, working hard to control bad bacteria in your home with 13 strains of live, good bacteria and leave a spotless finish behind. This formula is enriched with Lavender essential oil, known for its natural antibacterial properties and wonderfully relaxing fragrance. Both Counter Culture cleaning sprays are Australian made, 100% certified organic, vegan and septic friendly.
Natural air fresheners for bathroom
Counter Culture Air and Fabric Freshener - Lemongrass
Just like the cleaning sprays, the Counter Culture Air and Fabric Freshener - Lemongrass is also packed with 13 strains of live, good bacteria to help control the microbiological environment in your home. The probiotic cultures in this non-toxic air freshener work to create competition for bad bacteria to help minimise it naturally, making it perfect for refreshing the air in the bathroom, kitchen and all around the home. This spray can also be safely used to refresh bedding and fabrics thanks to aromatic Lemon Myrtle, Pink Grapefruit, Lemon Myrtle and Rosemary essential oils.
Counter Culture Air and Fabric Freshener - Lavender
Enriched with detoxifying Australian Lavender essential oil, the Counter Culture Air and Fabric Freshener - Lavender is another great option for tackling unpleasant odours all around the home and makes an ideal natural alternative to mainstream aerosol and synthetic air fresheners. Keep a bottle in the kitchen or bathroom to spritz through the air as needed, or use directly on fabrics and bedding for targeted freshness. Like all Counter Culture products, this room freshener is organic, vegan and safe for use around kids and pets. You can even use it to freshen up your shoes or your pet's stinky bedding!