With more cleaning and disinfecting protocols than ever before, schools are becoming increasingly concerned about the ramifications of frequently cleaning with chemicals, especially around kids and teachers who don’t have Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE.
However, schools don’t have to choose between clean spaces and using safe cleaning products to sanitize and disinfect their schools.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Safely
Goodridge Public School Grounds and Maintenance Supervisor Russ Bode worked with Green Science Solutions, a Minnesota-based distributor of sustainable cleaning products, to incorporate an all-natural cleaning solution and verification process to ensure the school’s shared spaces are clean and safe to use.
Stabilized Aqueous Ozone, or SAO, is a 100% natural cleaning solution generated from a patented, EPA regulated SAO Dispenser that uses electricity to turn cold tap water into an effective, yet safe and sustainable cleaner, sanitizer and disinfectant for 24 hours. Then, it simply reverts back to water.
Not only is it safe for kids and teachers to use without PPE, it has a 99.99% effective kill rate against most bacteria and viruses, including Coronaviruses, e.g. COVID-19, SARS, Flu virus.
“We have kids that can grab a squirt bottle and clean their own desks,” said Wayne Thomas, Head Custodian for Grygla Public School. “And you can feel safe they’re doing that. You don’t have to worry about them doing anything crazy, like getting it in their eyes or whatever. It isn’t going to hurt you.”
Time and Labor Savings
Custodians can cover more ground with SAO because it only requires a 1-minute dwell time to reach a 99.999% kill rate vs. the 5-15-minute dwell time many chemical cleaners require to reach their full effect.
“In order to disinfect properly with some of the other chemicals, you have to let it set the prescribed time, and you don’t have time when you have a limited staff,” said Seth Putz, Building and Grounds Supervisor for Lake of the Woods School. “With the SAO water, you can go into a room with sixteen desks, spray every one down, and by the time you get back to the first one, you’re able to wipe it clean. It’s just that quick, and it has really saved a lot of time.”
In addition to time savings, the SAO Dispenser uses less energy by using cold water and saves schools the cost of expensive chemical cleaners.
“I haven’t put in a chemical order since we installed the SAO system,” said Putz. “That’s huge right there. In just a couple of months, there’s been savings of thousands of dollars already.
“And not just financial savings,” added Putz, “A couple of our custodians are really sensitive to chemicals and always had issues. They don’t have issues anymore, and now they refuse to touch the other chemicals.”
Verify its Effectiveness
Whether schools are cleaning with SAO or chemical cleaners, they can verify their cleaning process is effective with an ATP meter that measures the amount of ATP, or “dirt,” on surfaces.
The Clean-Trace™ Luminometer, manufactured by 3M™, is a best-in-class ATP meter that custodians use to swipe a surface and then get a fast accurate reading of the level of ATP on a surface.
“You are a lot more accountable as far as the cleaning,” said Russ Bode, Grounds and Maintenance Supervisor for Goodridge Public School. “I keep a log of what I test like desks. You can always go back to that and say, ‘OK, this desk was this (ATP reading) at one point, and now we are at this point. So, it’s great that people can see it.”
ATP testing can help schools improve their cleaning process by identifying areas with high ATP levels, particularly in shared spaces and high touch areas such as doorknobs, tables and desks.
Check All the Boxes
Effective: 99.99% effective kill-rate against bacteria and viruses, including Coronaviruses (including Covid-19, SARS, Flu virus) M.R.S.A., Strep, Staph, Salmonella, Listeria and E. Coli
Efficient: Less dwell time needed – SAO only requires 1-minute dwell time to achieve 99.99% reduction vs. 10 minutes required for Lysol disinfecting wipes and spray to achieve a 99.9% reduction
Simple: Eliminates cleaning with multiple chemicals and exposure to toxic chemicals
Safe: Fall reduction – no residue, means less slips and falls
“Our janitors here, they just love it,” said Bode. “It’s safe for the kids. Definitely, we’re going to keep using it, and now we don’t have nineteen hundred chemicals laying around. We just have one safe cleaning solution, and that’s all we’ll need.”