What’s wrong with cleaning chemicals?

October 5, 2023

New cleaning recommendations.

Early on in the Covid-outbreak as distancing and masking were being mandated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended, whether at work or home, disinfecting surfaces with one of the 500 plus chemicals listed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) List N.   List N includes only chemicals that are known to disinfect viruses equal to or harder to kill than SARS-Cov-2.

Most people do not know that cleaning chemicals, which claim to disinfect 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, must be registered by the EPA under the category of pesticide. (1)  This means in schools, hospitals, and everywhere else, people clean with chemical disinfectants, and a chemical pesticide is sprayed on surfaces, into the air, and inside buildings. Disinfectants also leave residue on the surface.

Chemical pesticides are designed to work most effectively on clean surfaces.  Most instructions are to clean, then disinfect, then rinse.

Step 1. Clean the desired surface with soap and water so that soil does not dilute the strength of the chemical.

Step 2. Allow chemical pesticides to dwell on the surface. (Dwell times range from one to ten minutes depending on the chemical and what is being targeted for disinfection.)

Step 3. Rinse the surface thoroughly with water so that no chemical residue remains on the surface.

Sounds simple? Most healthcare facilities use steps one (pre-cleaning) and two (chemical disinfectant) but do not rinse.  Almost all non-healthcare organizations we work with practice only step number two.   With a lack of custodial staff, higher cleaning frequency, and large buildings, there is often just enough time to spray the uncleaned surface, give it a quick wipe, and move on.

This type of cleaning creates an unhealthy building for people rather than just the custodial staff. People occupy a building, it gets dirty, chemicals are used to clean it, and chemicals remain on surfaces.

The next day, people come in contact with chemical residue from the prior day’s cleaning on their hands and skin.  People are exposed to small amounts of chemicals daily, year after year, and don’t even realize it. Low exposure to chemicals day after day after day. What does this do to human health in the long term?

Schedule a call or on-site visit today to learn more about chemical-free cleaning.