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     Using Nature to Redefine Clean.

Why Use

Probiotic (Biological) Cleaners?


Probiotic Cleaning 101

The time has come to use harmless bacteria instead of poisons to clean surfaces and control pathogenic and odor causing bacteria.

Unlike antimicrobial products, probiotic cleaning products will not contribute to the development of resistance in bacteria. In fact, they have been shown to actually reduce the degree of antibiotic resistance in a population of bacteria. (Caselli et al).

In order to avoid that development of resistance, none of the probiotic products has any direct biocidal action towards other organisms.

Their unique mechanism of action is based on the principle of ‘competitive exclusion’, combined with an influence on the ‘quorum sensing’ communication between pathogenic organisms, and breakdown of biofilm.

  1. The principle behind competitive exclusion is that during the cleaning procedure a layer of beneficial bacteria is placed on the treated surface, and immediately occupies the surface with "good" bacteria.  They occupy all of the space and consume all remaining food sources, leaving nothing behind for potential pathogenic invaders looking for space and food.  These beneficial bacteria are much more active and out-compete organisms.

The image to the right is a scanning electron micrograph of Bacillus bacteria on surface. The image was taken with a magnification of 10,000 and clearly shows the individual bacterial cells.

  1. "Quorum Sensing" is an extremely fast means of communication between bacteria, using species-specific signal molecules.  When the probiotic bacteria are applied to the surface, an overwhelming competition for space, food and moisture is established, along with a flood of signaling molecules. This immediately results in the pathogenic and odor-causing bacteria, informing each other through quorum sensing that conditions have become unfavorable for growth, leading to them enter a dormant phase, not produce biofilm and allow their subsequent removal. To learn more about Quorum Sensing please watch the TED Talk video given by Dr. Bonnie Bassler. It is at the bottom of this page.along with the other videos.

  2. Once applied the probiotic bacteria immediately start to dis-assemble the biofilm that was created by pathogens and other bacteria. It is this very biofilm that serves to protect colonies of harmful bacteria, as well as hold dirt, support viruses and other problematic substances.

Probiotic cleaning products contain harmless bacteria that may help reduce the incidence of childhood asthma

A paper entitled "Benefits and safety of microbiologically augmented cleaning products" was developed by the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) in the United States.

The Executive Summary was published on their website and contained the following interesting information:

Exposure to harmless microorganisms such as the soil bacteria (Bacillus spp) that are found in probiotic cleaning products has repeatedly been found to be inversely related to the manifestation of atopic diseases such as asthma and hay fever.

In populations with higher bacterial exposures, the prevalence of asthma and atopy has been shown to be substantially lower.

In a study comparing children living on farms who were exposed to a wider range of microbes than children in the reference group (from the city) showed an inverse relation between asthma and growing up on a farm, or increased exposure to microorganisms.

Children who grow up in environments that afford them a wide range of microbial exposures, such as traditional farms, are protected from childhood asthma
and atopy (Reference the PARSIFAL study).

To download the executive summary of the CSPA paper click here.

The use of disinfectants, is the risk worth the reward?

The effectiveness of disinfectants is determined by standardized tests, and the Government of Canada has released a Guidance Document for Disinfectant Drugs which may be found at: .

These standardized tests are based upon exposure of bacteria and other pathogens in the planktonic state to the tested disinfectant. They are not a real life situation as will be demonstated below.

Disinfectants do not always work as advertised- the development of disinfectant resistant bacteria

The problem with using the information above to determine if disinfectants are effective is that laboratory tests are often not an indicator of what happens in true life. Many species of bacteria develop resistance to a particular disinfectant or build a protective biofilm layer around themselves.  Both situations can drastically reduce the effectiveness of the disinfectant. Often this is not obvious to the user. The resistance can also carry over to antibiotic resistance.

Bacterial Resistance to Disinfectants and Cross Resistance to Antibiotics

In a paper published in 2015 in the journal "Frontiers in Microbiology" the authors concluded:

  •  Now that society begins to be aware of increasing bacterial resistance to antibiotics, a growing number of studies have reported cross-resistance events between different types of antimicrobials such as disinfectants and antibiotics.

  • Today, the non-specific and disproportionate utilization of biocides is causing major problems of environmental pollution.

  • One process giving rise to the tolerance of bacteria to chemical disinfectants, and which has been largely underestimated in recent years, is interspecies bacterial interactions in spatially organized biofilms. One significant concern regarding these biological associations is the increase of pathogen persistence that is favored by the protection of resident flora.

  • New standardized protocols need to be established in order to decipher the associated mechanisms and support the development of specific control strategies with respect to multispecies biofilms.

 To download a copy of the paper click on this link.

Bacterial Resistance to Disinfectants- The Significance of Biofim

In another paper published 2011 in the journal "Biofouling: The Journal of Bioadhesion and Biofilm Research", Bridier et al reviewed the past research and stated:

“It is now generally accepted that the biofilm growth mode induces microbial resistance to disinfection that can lead to substantial economic and health concerns.”

The paper cited that there are a variety of factors at play here: 

...The formation and maintenance of mature biofilms are intimately linked to the production of an extracellular matrix (Branda et al. 2005; Ma et al. 2009). The multiple layers of cells and EPS may constitute a complex and compact structure within which biocides find it difficult to penetrate and reach internal layers, thus hampering their efficacy. 

...But because biocides are often highly chemically reactive molecules, the presence of organic matter such as proteins, nucleic acids or carbohydrates can profoundly impair their efficacy (Lambert and Johnston 2001) and potential interactions between antimicrobials and biofilm components seem more likely to explain the limitations of penetration into the biofilm. 

...some results have shown that despite an effective penetration of a biocide into a biofilm, only a low level of inactivation was achieved (Stewart et al. 2001). Moreover, the resistance of a S.aureus biofilm to a QAC could, to a great extent, be attributed to phenotypic modifications to cells rather than the protective presence of an EPS matrix (Campanac et al. 2002). These findings highlight the existence of additional mechanisms involved in biofilm resistance. During a disinfection process, the reaction-diffusion limited penetration of biocides into a biofilm may result in only low levels of exposure to the antimicrobial agent in deeper regions of the biofilm. Biofilm cells will therefore develop adaptive responses to sub-lethal concentrations of the disinfectant. Increased survival following the same QAC shock was reported in adapted Pseudomonas aeruginosa, alongside concomitant modifications to membrane composition (Jones et al. 1989; Mechin et al. 1999).

Moreover, cross-resistance to other QACs (Mechin et al. 1999) or to antibiotics (Braoudaki and Hilton 2004) has been reported for adapted cells. 

This resistance is very significant in that research has shown that bacteria such as E. Coli, S.aureus, P. aeruginosa in their biofilms may exhibit resistance coefficients up to 1000 times that of their planktonic  brethren.

To access the paper go to .


The probiotic approach has several significant advantages.

  1. It provides a stable solution to problems with pathogens and no resistance can be developed. The only demand set by this method is that the frequency of cleaning is kept constant, but at the same time, allows for up to several days between each cleaning, which is far more time than any other cleaning methodology.

  2. While the total number of microorganisms will tend to remain the same after treatment; it is the good bacteria replacing the bad.

  3. Most cleaning chemicals, including disinfectants only work while they are wet, then become inert.  Probiotic bacteria live for 5 to 7 days beyond application and continue to clean and deodorize for that period of time.

  4. Unlike probiotic cleaning products, disinfectants have an unspecific biocidal action; killing both good and bad micro-organisms. This results in a surface actually more conducive to rapid colonization in a very limited time frame. Each disinfection procedure leaves organic matter behind that serves as protein and carbohydrate sources creating fuel to sustain the fast re-colonization of the surface.  Disinfection also removes the normal beneficial bacteria that serve to hold back pathogen growth through competitive exclusion.  Using these energy resources created by disinfectants, pathogens can multiply from one to a population of one million cells within 8 hours.

 Reference Articles

Following are a number of published papers and technical reports that refer to the efficacy and mechanisms of probiotic cleaners:

  1. D-Amino Acids Trigger Biofim Assembly. Ilana Kolodkin-Gal, Diego Romero, Shugeng Cao, Jon Clardy, Roberto Kolter, Richard Losick. Science. Vol 328 30 April 2010.

  2. MRSA– Why treat the symptoms and not the disease?  M. Spigelman. Ann R Coll Surg Engl 2005; 87: 452–453

  3. Probiotic bacteria and biosurfactants for nosocomial infection control: a hypothesis. M.E. Falagas and G.C. Makris. Journal of Hospital Infection (2009) 71, 301-30

  4. A. Bridier, R Briandet, V. Thomas & F. Dubois-Brissonnet (2011): Resistance of bacterial biofilms to disinfectants: a review. Biofouling: The Journal of Bioadhesion and Biofilm Research, 27:9, 1017-1032.

  5. Article from USA Today Newspaper July  about bacteria, both harmless and harmful that live on us and in us.

  6. Impact of a Probiotic-Based Cleaning Intervention on the Microbiota Ecosystem of the Hospital Surfaces: Focus on the Resistome Remodulation. Caselli et al. PLOS ONE 11(2) February 2016

  7. Hard Surface Biocontrol in Hospitals Using Microbial-Based Cleaning Products. Vandini et al. PLOS ONE 9(9) September 2014

  8. An Innovative Approach to Hospital Sanitization Using Probiotics: In vitro and Field Trials. La Fauci et al. J. Microb Biochem 7:3 2015.

bioClens Technologies Offers Science-Based Products that:

  • Clean to the microscopic level and continue to work for an extended period after application.

  • Reduce odours by eliminating the source not just covering them up with perfumes

  • Competitively exclude both pathogenic and odor-causing bacteria

  • Are safe for workers

  • Are environmentally neutral


Recently there have been a number of widely recognized scientists that have publicized the idea of using "good bacteria to offset the "bad" bacteria in our environment. 

Please take a few minutes to view the following presentations from TED Talks.

Good Germs Make Healthy Buildings- TED talk by Dr. Jessica Green- March 2013

Are We Filtering The Wrong Microbes?- TED Talk by Dr. Jessica Green- August 2011

How Bacteria Talk- TED Talk by Dr. Bonnie Bassler- February 2013

What can we do when antibiotics don't work anymore?- TED Talk by Maryn McKenna- June 2015

To learn more about our individual probiotic cleaners go to:

BioNator Odour Eliminator and Deep Cleaner

Q7 Biological Treatment

For more information please contact us.