A reader writes: “I like to use a little bleach water in a spray bottle to clean table tops, counters, restroom fixtures and other high touch areas. It is cheap and disinfects. Why do you not like using bleach?”


You are correct in that bleach is a great disinfectant but its use (or misuse in your case) is my concern. First, remember that bleach is not a cleaner, rather it is an effective disinfectant in a limited range of uses. For “fresh” (less than 24-48 hours mixed with water only), bleach to disinfect, it must be applied to a clean surface and allowed sufficient dwell time to do its job. As you described your procedures you are simply spraying/wiping a surface that has soil and contaminants on it including grease, sweat, dust and just plain old dirt. Please understand that the soils are negating most of the disinfecting properties of your bleach water spray. You first must clean the surface with a detergency to remove the soils so that bleach or any disinfectant is effective.


I also noted that you mix a bottle of bleach and use it for several days. Most data I have seen states that bleach water (mixed with tap water which has chlorine anyways, fluoride, minerals, etc.) loses its efficacy within 24-48 hours and simply damages fibers after that period of time. You also indicated that you use a clear spray bottle that exposes the mix to light as well as hight temperatures in the janitor closet which also tends to degrade the bleach water.


I will also remind you that you probably do not have an OSHA approved label on the spray bottle and that any savings from buying/mixing your own product will rapidly disappear if there is an injury or claim from a worker or tenant. Finally, you are putting everyone at risk by turning this product into a potentially dangerous aerosol that can impact IAQ issues.


Check www.osha.gov regarding potential fines, legal expenses, etc. and decide if it is worth the risk. 


Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…..


Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.