What’s the best way to disinfect? Psst…it’s not Clorox wipes.
Tired of your classroom being a petri dish all winter? Although a few paper towels and a spray bottle with soapy water followed by a bottle with a water and vinegar solution is quite effective in keeping your room sanitary, wipes seem to be pervasive these days so here’s a handy green guide to disinfecting wipes.
Do you need to clean or disinfect?
- Cleaning removes dirt and germs from surfaces on desks to toys. It is best accomplished by soap and water not only because soap is effective, but soap doesn’t release harmful fumes that can affect people with breathing sensitivities.
- Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces. It works by using either natural ingredients like vinegar or hydrogen peroxide, or harsher chemicals. Disinfectants should be used after a good cleaning on high traffic areas like door handles, counter tops, desks, faucet handles, computer keyboards, phones, and toys.
Follow The Label Directions Exactly
- The number one issue with cleaning/disinfecting a room is that products are not used correctly. For example, most conventional wipe brands such as Clorox require you wipe a surface and that it stay visibly wet for 4 full minutes. This can be difficult to accomplish in a heated room with low humidity so you may need to wipe surface 2 or 3 times to reach your required 4 minutes. Many green cleaning products, however, use natural disinfectants like hydrogen peroxide, which kill bacteria and viruses quickly therefore making them more effective.
- The second issue often overlooked is proper ventilation. Again, conventional wipes like Clorox release harmful fumes into the air requiring you ventilate the room with a cross breeze after each use. This isn’t necessarily pleasant on a cold winter morning.
- The Environmental Working Group (EWG) offers additional information on disinfecting schools and homes using wipes.
- Nanette’s Wipe Cheat Sheet