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What’s the Right Cleaner to Use?

2011 February 25

By Denise Owens

While being off for the recent holiday, I had the opportunity to pick my grandson up from daycare. While packing him up to go home, I was told by his teacher that over 65% of the daycare had flu-like symptoms and kids were being sent home. Due to the fluctuating of the temperature, this situation was understandable.

The daycare provider said she has to sanitize the entire daycare facility to help stop the spreading of the flu. So I asked her what the sanitizing procedures were. She said that there are several cleaning items that can be used, but many are harmful to the children.

She said that they turn off their heating system and begin cleaning with bleach. I asked why not use a disinfectant spray, and she replied, “We wipe everything down with bleach and then we spray with disinfectant spray.” Once we finish spraying everything down, we then turn the heat off at night and open a few windows until the morning.”

The next morning, the staff return to the daycare earlier than normal to turn on the heat to prepare for the kids. Hopefully she has gotten rid of the majority of the germs within the building.

I never knew that bleach would be safe to use for disinfecting at a daycare. I always felt that bleach could be harmful for children because they are constantly putting toys into their mouths, but I guess she proved me wrong.

When you’re buying products, look for the label from EPA’s Safer Labeling Program – here’s the list of cleaners.

About the author: Denise Owens has worked with the Environmental Protection Agency for over 25 years.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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9 Responses leave one →
  1. armansyahardanis permalink
    February 25, 2011

    Grandchild. What do you want ?

    Maybe I am wrong, if I take a hypothesis that “the first love” of grandchild are to the their grandparents, while they don’t know that the parents “feel it” to do them. Maybe they are angry to dad&mom who are busy that its careers….

  2. Susan permalink
    February 25, 2011

    What they need is a good air purification system that rids the air of Pathogens, Allergens, Pollutants, and Odors. That also Destroys Germs, Viruses, and Bacteria on Surfaces. I have a Fresh Air Surround at home and we are never are sick. I have one child in elementary school, a year 4 old granddaughter who is here all the time, and a disabled 25 year old with a low immune system and they are never sick because our purifier is cleaning and sanitizing 24/7.

  3. Alexander permalink
    February 26, 2011

    The best sanitizing procedures makes the ocean, desert, jungle, tajga and mountains too. In other places we shall have Pathogens, Allergens, Pollutants.

  4. Cliff Cooper CIH permalink
    February 26, 2011

    According to CDC, cleaners and disinfectants, including household chlorine bleach, can be irritating and exposure to these chemicals has been associated with health problems such as asthma and skin and eye irritation.

    Bleach is considered hazardous because it is corrosive. EPA has recently approved a stronger warning label for a common bleach product: “DANGER: CORROSIVE. Causes irreversible eye damage and skin burns.”3 When bleach is mixed with acids (like vinegar) or other ingredients in cleaners (like surfactants or fragrances), compounds react and can release chlorine gas. Mixing chlorine bleach and ammonia together produces a toxic chloramine gas that can be fatal. Chlorine that enters wastewater can also contribute to the formation of chlorinated compounds, some of which are probable human carcinogens.

    Chlorine gas is listed as a respiratory sensitizer. Moreover, a study on occupational asthma conducted by four state health departments found 43 cases of “new onset asthma” were attributed to the use of bleach, mostly by custodial workers. Bleach is not only severely irritating to human skin, eyes and lungs, it also corrosive to many surfaces. Using bleach regularly on the floors, for example, can eat away at floor polish, resulting in the need to strip and wax floors more often. This is both costly and hazardous to workers. Another problem with many bleach products is that they are packaged in open containers, which can result in improper dilution – either too strong or too weak.

    Misuse if chlorine bleach can be a problem in healthcare and childcare facilities. Personnel should receive proper instruction regarding mixing of the bleach solution, usage and restrictions regarding its use. Household chlorine bleach, should be used a no more than 1/4 cup of regular household bleach in 1 gallon of water.

  5. Bernie Barry permalink
    February 27, 2011

    disinfecting and cleaning must be done regularly to keep the children free of viruses and germs.

  6. Trance permalink
    February 27, 2011

    Amazing entry, I hope that it will appear more and more similar

  7. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    February 27, 2011

    Bleach is something that needs to be used sparingly. The best kind of bleaches to use are those with the EPA Label.. For most household cleaning a good environmentally save multipurpose cleaner works well. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  8. Brenntt1975 permalink
    March 1, 2011

    We have to do cleaning everyday to keep us away us from getting sick. We must use sanitizers, and we must always let our children to wash their hands before and after meal or even use eating utensils because some child are lazy enough to do this. We let them practice and make this as a habit.

  9. April 17, 2012

    You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for the difficulty and found most individuals will go along with with your website.

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