Childcare facility sanitation is critical simply because children that are healthy and able to attend daycare or school are more prepared and studies have shown that they do better in school overall. Further, children are more vulnerable to infectious diseases, they spend more time on the ground, and tend to stick things in their mouths. Children in childcare facilities commonly have symptoms of infectious diseases between 33-50% of the year. So while some policies and practices, such as covering mouths when sneezing and coughing, washing hands, vaccinations, and staying home when sick can reduce the presence of germs and their spread, it is pertinent to clean, sanitize, and in some cases disinfect, surfaces and objects that children come into contact with at a childcare facility in order to truly kill germs.
The EPA outlines the distinction between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting as follows: cleaning refers to dirt removal which may remove germs but does not kill them, sanitizing refers to products that reduce the number of germs on surfaces and objects, and disinfecting refers to germs being inactivated by a product when allowed to sit wet and “dwell” on a surface or object for the recommended amount of time. Disinfectants have greater risks than cleaner or sanitizers because they are often more toxic, they can create germ-resistances, and they are not always properly used. Apart from the type of product used to clean, sanitize, or disinfect, the EPA also recommends using microfiber cloths rather than sponges or other tools. Microfiber cloths remove 99% of organic matter such as dirt or grime and 99% of germs, and they are washable.
While the effectiveness of cleaning products is important to keep in mind, it is also crucial to think of the effect certain products may have on children. Despite many cleaning products claiming to be environmentally-safe, the EPA warns that words such as “natural”, “non-toxic”, and “green” are not regulated by the government and therefore have no distinct meaning or certification. Conventional cleaners can contain fragrances, pollutants, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) that have a number of negative impacts on both human bodies such as triggering asthma symptoms, disrupting thyroid function, and causing skin or eye irritation, and the environment such as VOC bioaccumulation in fish. The EPA suggests, “Consider using fragrance-free, non-chlorine bleaches containing hydrogen peroxide instead of those that are scented.” Safe sanitizers for childcare facilities include those recognized by the EPA, and those that are certified via Green Seal, EcoLogo, or Design for the Environment.
Both SaniDate RTU and SaniDate Sanitizing Wipes provide a great option for hard surface sanitation in childcare facilities. Their activated hydrogen peroxide formula is more effective than other hydrogen peroxide products, killing 99.9% of germs and odor-causing bacteria. They are EPA approved, chlorine-free, and safe for use on linoleum, glass, plastic, vinyl, porcelain tile, stainless steel, and plastic polyethylene. The spray can even be used to remove excess dirt from fruits and vegetables alongside rinsing with water.