Exceptional Cleanliness

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What is cleanliness?
Cleanliness is the absence of dirt, including dust, stains, bad smells and garbage. Purposes of cleanliness include health, beauty, absence of offensive odor, avoidance of shame, and to avoid the spreading of dirt and contaminants to oneself and others. In the case of glass objects such as windows or windshields, the purpose can also be transparency. Washing is one way of achieving cleanliness, usually with water and often some kind of soap or detergent. In more recent times, since the germ theory of disease, it has also come to mean an absence of germs and other hazardous materials. In industry, certain processes such as those related to integrated circuit manufacturing, require conditions of exceptional cleanliness, which are achieved by working in clean rooms. However, dirt may play a useful role in our immune systems, cleanliness will reduce the risk of diseases such as typhoid and diarrhea. This shift in thinking can be traced back to 1989, when David Strachan put forth the "hygiene hypothesis" in the British Medicine Journal. Strachan looked at the records of 17,000 British children and found that the greater number of older siblings they had, the less likely they were to come down with hay fever—a disease which, despite its name, is far more common in the city than the country. Strachan wondered if the older children were bringing home more viral infections to their younger siblings, priming their immune systems so they could better tolerate pollen. The "hygiene hypothesis" has now been linked with asthma, allergies, intestinal diseases including Crohn's disease, childhood leukemia and atopic dermatitis and the list is growing.

How Important Is Cleanliness?

CLEANLINESS means different things to different people. For instance, when a little boy is told by his mother to wash his hands and face, he may think that holding his fingers under a running faucet and wetting his lips is enough. But Mother knows better. She takes him back...
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