Child allergies appear to be on the increase in Ireland and elsewhere with the theory that too-clean environments early on in life may be contributing to the rise.
New research may not find too much favour with many parents, however, as it suggests hand washing dishes instead of using a dishwasher can reduce children's risk of developing allergic conditions, such as asthma or eczema.
Researchers at Queen Silvia Children's Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden said:"We have only tested an association between dishwashing methods and risk of allergy, but the findings fit well with the hygiene hypothesis."
And there are studies showing that hand dishwashing very often is less effective than machine dishwashing in reducing bacterial content.
"We therefore speculate that hand dishwashing is associated with increased microbial exposure, causing immune stimulation, the findings in the journal Pediatric said.
It asked families of children, aged seven or eight, how they cleaned their dishes.
About 12pc of the families hand washed their dishes.
The scientists found that children in these families had about half the risk of developing allergic conditions compared to kids in families that used dishwashing machines.
Health & Living