What’s the Right Cleaner to Use?

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.