Hand washing dishes may help kids avoid developing allergies

GE Monogram dishwasher bottle wash jets
The first dishwashing machine patent went to Joel Houhgton in 1850. The wooden machine wasn’t very affective; its wheel had to be turned by hand to wet the dishes. Unaware of such a patent, socialite Josephine Cochran decided, “If nobody else is going to invent a dishwashing machine, I’ll do it myself,” according to the Chicago Tribune. After receiving her patent in 1886, she debuted her invention at the 1893 World’s Colombian Exposition. While her friends and hotels wanted versions, dishwashers didn’t become widespread until the 1950s, though Cochran’s company eventually became KitchenAid.

People have only been sterilizing their dishes for about half a century. Water above 145 degrees Fahrenheit kills many bacteria. Dishwashers typically run between 130 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit, but people can get third-degree burns from 133-degree water in 15 seconds, according to the Burn Foundation. It would seem dishwashers are a safer option, but new research in the journal Pediatrics from Sweden’s University of Gothenburg suggests it may not be an entirely ideal solution.

 Related: The best way to load a dishwasher, according to science

The university’s study followed 1,029 Swedish children, who were 7 and 8 years old, to see how hand washing and machine washing dishes affected them. Researchers found eczema was far less likely to develop in children whose parents did the dishes by hand, and allergic asthma and hay fever were somewhat less likely to occur in these children, too. The effect may be due to the hygiene hypothesis: the idea that those in developed countries aren’t exposed to enough bacteria and microorganisms, thanks to everything from sterilization to hand sanitizers to a lack of interaction with animals. In developing countries, such exposure helps immune systems learn what it should attack and what it should leave alone.

“The hypothesis was that these different dishwashing methods … are not equally good in reducing bacteria from eating utensils and so on,” Dr. Bill Hesselmar, who led the study, tells NPR. “So we thought that perhaps hand dishwashing was less effective, so that you are exposed to more bacteria.”

Of course, he admits that this could be correlation and not causation and other factors, such as the type of food eaten (fermented) and purchasing some items from a farm rather than a grocery store, also appeared to make the children in hand-washing families more immune.

While he says the study does lend support to the hygiene hypothesis, allergist Dr. Todd Mahr tells NPR that it’s too early to recommend dismantling the dishwasher. “I’m not convinced it’s going to make that big a difference,” he says of favoring hand washing.

Product Review

These AirPod look-alikes are better in every way but one

With silicone eartips, water resistance, and a more palatable price tag, Mobvoi’s Ticpods Free are impressive AirPod doppelgangers. But for all the great things they have going for them, there’s one flaw holding them back.
Computing

Secure your Excel documents with a password by following these quick steps

Excel documents are used by people and businesses all over the world. Given how often they contain sensitive information, it makes sense to keep them from the wrong eyes. Thankfully, it's easy to secure them with a password.
Emerging Tech

These Alexa-stuffed retro phones don’t listen until you take them off the hook

Looking for an Amazon Echo with a cool vintage touch? Los Angeles-based Grain Design is taking old, non-working antique phones and transforming them into amazing Alexa smart speakers.
Cars

Car parts maker ZF is using drones to deliver components to its factories

ZF recently became the first entity in Germany to receive approval to use drones to deliver spare parts, and the company now uses them to deliver parts from its central warehouses to its workshops.
Smart Home

Want the perfect turkey? Here's how to make it sous vide

Thinking of trying something different this Thanksgiving? Don't want to set your yard on fire trying to fry that bird? Try turkey sous vide. Here's our favorite way to sous vide a Turkey.
Deals

Make your smart home even more intelligent with a smart plug for under $20

Smart lighting keeps your home connected, helps you saves energy, and makes for an overall convenient living space. If you're ready to step up your smart home game this holiday season, take advantage of this sweet deal on the Wemo Mini…
Emerging Tech

From tornado flushes to remote controls, modern toilets are flush with tech

With the global observance of World Toilet Day on November 19, we take a look at how the modern toilet in our homes and businesses have evolved, and how they are becoming smarter tools in the future.
Smart Home

How to deep fry a turkey

Want to learn how to deep fry a turkey? Our guide will cover what you need, what type of deep frying will work, why safety is so important, and how to know when your turkey is the perfect level of deep-fried deliciousness.
Smart Home

You can now make Skype calls on Amazon Echo devices

Amazon's Alexa can now make video and voice calls with Microsoft's Skype audio and video calling. Alexa-enabled devices can make voice calls. Alexa devices with video can make video calls to computers, mobile devices, and Xboxes.
Emerging Tech

Toilet-scrubbing robot takes over one of the world’s crappiest jobs

When it comes to jobs that none of us enjoy, scrubbing the toilet would have to rank pretty highly. So why not hand the job over to robots? Very soon you might be able to do exactly that.
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…
Deals

The best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Smart Home

Smoke it, BBQ it, or try sous vide! 6 alternatives to roasting turkey

Tie on your apron – here are the best ways to cook a turkey without opening an oven. These alternative cooking methods can produce a delicious Thanksgiving turkey without the need for an oven.