Alternative to cleaning with bleach water - Please HELP!!

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by SamIAm, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. SamIAm

    SamIAm Companion

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    Feb 17, 2010

    I'm running a home daycare. I have told the parents that I would use non-toxic cleaning methods to clean the room and toys. I feel very strongly about this as it is my home and my children's toys. However, I am having a really hard time with this because there is SO MUCH! I went through and did a once over on most everything today - except blocks, and it took me approx 2 hours. That's too long to do every week. I am washing most of the small stuff in the washing machine in laundry bags, but drying them is still a bit of an issue as I worry that they aren't drying properly when I hang them in the bags, and I don't think putting them in the dryer would be a good idea. As for the rest of the stuff, I am just wiping everything down with green works and paper towels, but there are a lot of large toys, instruments etc. so this is a very long process. I also have no idea what to do with things that are wooden - like blocks, or books, or the silk flowers the kids play with. Does anyone have any ideas for streamlining my cleaning process? Do you know of any all natural (i.e. non-toxic) products that I can use as a spray sanitizer like the bleach water?
    Thanks for the help!!!!!!
     
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  3. Hummingbrd

    Hummingbrd Rookie

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    Feb 17, 2010

    When I taught in a private preschool, our director bought Melaleuca cleaning products. It's made from tea tree oil. It is a much healthier (but more expensive) alternative to bleach which is a lung irritant.

    As far as it being time consuming, I don't see any way around that problem no matter what time of cleaner you use.
     
  4. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Feb 17, 2010

    When I was in Head Start, we used something from a commercial cleaning agency. You might have to call around, but I suspect you can find something.

    As for toy cleaning:
    Put whatever you can into your dishwasher. If you have a sanitizing cycle, all the better. If not, put some bleach or other sanitizer in the rinse cycle.

    Save the mesh bags that fruit comes in. Fill them with legos and other small toys. Dip in sanitizing solution. Only takes a minute.

    I had my teachers set up a chart. They cleaned one area each day. Five minutes per day wiping down shelves can save a lot of hard work.

    I used to run a home day care--I admire you for taking this on. It is one of the hardest jobs I ever had. Anyway, I finally hired someone to clean--and that helped me so much. Remember, it is tax deductable.
     
  5. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Feb 17, 2010

    As for the items that can not go into Dishwasher or washing machine: Keep very few of these items so eliminate cleaning time. My rule is, if I can't wash it, I don't have it. Except for blocks and puzzles. You have to wipe them down by hand.

    I am not sure how often you need to wipe them down, but I would spray them each day.
     
  6. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    I keep thinking of things. Is bleach a toxic cleaner? If used correctly, it should be safe. My understanding is that the bleach evaporates.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 17, 2010

    Bleach solution is used in the food industry to sanitize food prep areas and containers.
     
  8. vbubbles1874

    vbubbles1874 Companion

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    Feb 17, 2010

    You can use that Clorox Clean-up stuff. You don't have to wipe it and it's safe.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 17, 2010

    Chlorine (which is what standard bleach is) is extremely toxic to all manner of life forms: that's precisely what makes it an effective disinfectant. Chlorine gas, which is what you get when liquid chlorine evaporates, is also extremely toxic.
     
  10. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Feb 17, 2010

    In WA we can't use anything except bleach (and the dishwasher is allowed due to the bleach content of the soap and the high temps). I get so tired of the smell and the drips on clothes (from the mixing and what not-they actual mixture is not the strong).

    I feel for you.

    I run what I can through the dishwasher, or the clothes washer. I have some items I spray w/bleach and let drip dry but do not wipe and the idea of the tub of water and fruit bag is the best one. That really saves me time.

    I really do the one section of toys a day and the rotation works well.

    Good luck---you are doing great.
     
  11. SamIAm

    SamIAm Companion

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    Feb 17, 2010

    Thanks for the replies! I didn't mean to start a debate. I totally understand why preschools use bleach, it's just something I don't want to be doing in my home. The cool thing about bleach is that you can spray without wiping and it cleans. That's a huge time saver. I don't know of any other products that do that, so I was hoping I might find something on here - if it exists. I was also curious about others routines and how you do it. I do clean after the kids fairly often, but cleaning all the toys, instruments, doll houses etc. is very daunting. I'm a stay at home mom so between all the prep and cleaning for the school, and all the shopping, cleaning and caring for my own kids, I'm exhausted. I need to figure out a system that keeps things sanitary, but doesn't kill me. I will look into Melaleuca - thanks. And as always, thank you Blue for the great advice. I didn't think about a cleaning service being tax deductible. I'll have to look into that. If I could just get someone to vacuum and wash the floors sometimes that would be so great! I spend so much time cleaning the downstairs for the school, that the upstairs has been left to rot.
    Thanks to you too WA. I think I do need to set a real rotation schedule. I just don't know if I'll be able to stick to it. :)
     
  12. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Feb 18, 2010

    I agree, having a cleaning service to the deep cleaning really makes it easier. You might check into having your groceries delivered. It seemed like I was at the grocery store at midnight when I did in home.
     
  13. millypoo

    millypoo New Member

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    Feb 18, 2010

    I only use all-natural products in my home too. I use apple cider vinegar to clean a lot of things and hydrogen peroxide. I am not allowed to post the link but google "vinegar and hydrogen peroxide cleaner" and it should come up. It says that the two sprayed can kill all sorts of bacteria. I am not sure how effective it is and it probably will take more time but it couldn't hurt to look in to.
    Good luck
     
  14. pabef

    pabef Comrade

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    Feb 18, 2010

    Our licensing agency in Missisisppi requires a bleach and water solution.
     
  15. eyeteach

    eyeteach Rookie

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    Feb 21, 2010

    We were using bleach, but just switched to an alternative solution. It is safe and we let the kids clean with it. I know that 3M makes some too. Search Alternative to Bleach solution.
     
  16. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Do you have a County Health Department? They should be able to give you more information. Then, you can share with us.
     
  17. SamIAm

    SamIAm Companion

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    Feb 25, 2010

    So I thought I would update...
    After talking with all of you, I did some more research and found that, in my state, the requirement is that you use an EPA approved disinfectant. Here's where I found my state guidelines: http://nrckids.org/. Next, I found a web site that gave info on green cleaning in schools, and even offered suggestions for EPA approved cleaners. Here's that link: http://www.healthyschoolscampaign.org. Unfortunately, most of these products are sold in bulk which is too much for my little school. Then, after all that research, I was in the grocery store and right there on the shelf was Seventh Generation Disinfectant - EPA Approved. I just used it last night and I'm supper excited about it. Just thought I'd share. Thanks again for all your help and advice. :)
     

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