Cleaning and sanitizing

The Two Step Cleaning Process

  1. Clean off visible soil with detergent and water, and then rinse with clean water.
  2. Sanitize by dispensing household bleach solution from a spray bottle.  Wet the entire surface until it glistens, and leave the solution on the surface for at least 2 minutes before drying with a paper towel or allowing to air dry– it takes that long for the bleach to kill the germs.  Be sure that children don’t touch the surface during drying.

Mix a Fresh Bleach Solution Every Day

  • Mix 16-20 milliliters household bleach in 1 liter water (1 tablespoon bleach per quart of water)

OR

  • Mix 65 milliliters household bleach in 4 liters of water (1/4 cup bleach per gallon of water)

Keep the spray bottle out of the reach of children.  Use the bleach solution to sanitize things such as diaper changing surfaces, table tops, toys, and eating utensils.

This 1:64 dilution of household bleach delivers 500–800 parts of hypochlorite per million parts of water, which is strong enough for sanitizing if left in contact with surfaces for at least 2 minutes.  After a day, the solution becomes too diluted by evaporation and breakdown of the chlorine to effectively kill germs.  Mixtures with less bleach are acceptable for sanitizing dishes.

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To Sanitize Toys

Toys may be washed and sanitized in a mechanical dishwasher that has a sanitizing cycle.

Sanitizing toys by hand may be done by washing them with detergent and water, and then spraying with the bleach solution made up with 16-20 ml of household bleach in 1 liter of water (1 tablespoon bleach per quart of water).

Alternatively, you can use a soak method, but soaking requires a more concentrated bleach solution because each toy can introduce new germs into the solution.

To use the soak method for sanitizing:

  • Create a solution of 190 milliliters of bleach per 4 liters of water (3/4 cup bleach per gallon of water).
  • Put washed and rinsed toys into a net bag.
  • Let soak for 5 minutes.
  • Rinse with clean water.
  • Hang the bag to air dry.

Using Mops and Sponges for Sanitizing

Clean floors and countertops BEFORE sanitizing with a mop or sponge.

Mop and Sponge Dipping Method

  • Use a more concentrated bleach solution if you will be dipping the mop or sponge back into the solution repeatedly, because you will be introducing contamination into the solution.
  • Try it on a small, hidden part of the surface first as strong bleach solutions can decolorize and damage surfaces.
  • Rags are better than sponges since sponges tend to hold soil and take a long time to dry

Alternatively, you can use the spray application described for toys, table tops and other surfaces

Storage

Household bleach is a safe chemical to store in facilities that serve children. Even though full-strength household bleach is quite irritating, it will not cause lethal poisoning. Still, be cautious about using any toxic chemical around children.  Do not use industrial bleach. It is usually much more concentrated than household bleach and can cause serious injury.