Be Careful With Bleach - Health & Safety Update

With a possible shortage of disinfectants and cleaning supplies, I understand that some school districts may look to bleach or bleach water to clean surfaces at the school. It is important to remember that bleach is corrosive to skin and eyes and there are additional regulations that apply when using bleach and bleach water as a cleaner or disinfectant. Below are some important items to keep in mind when determining whether or not bleach is the correct disinfectant to use in your district:
  • Training Requirements: Any employee using bleach or bleach water must be provided with proper training. Training must be documented.
  • Personal Protective Equipment Requirements: Any employee using bleach or bleach water must have proper PPE, including gloves and chemical splash goggles.
  • Mixing Process Requirements: Bleach water must be mixed daily as it loses effectiveness with age, making it difficult to determine its germ killing properties. Bleach water must be mixed near an eyewash station (or within 10 seconds of an eyewash station) due to its corrosive nature.
  • Labeling Requirements: All secondary containers, such as spray bottles, must be labeled according to GHS labeling requirements, including: full chemical name, dilution, and any known hazards (i.e. corrosive to skin and eyes)
  • Disposal: Any unused bleach water mixtures/solutions must be properly disposed of each night. As stated above, bleach water loses its effectiveness with age, making it difficult to determine its germ killing properties. The best practice is to dispose of any unused bleach water solutions at the end of the day.
Due to the additional requirements that using bleach entails, it is recommended to consider an alternative to bleach and bleach water as a disinfectant solution. However, if you do choose to utilize bleach or bleach water, you will want to ensure that you are following the above requirements. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Kayla Speidel at Kayla.Speidel@swwc.org .