Cautions about Using Commercial Disinfectants in Child Care Settings

Cleaning supplies

Products that meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) standards for “hospital grade” germicides (solutions that kill germs) often are promoted for use in child care. However, many of these products are dangerous and potentially even toxic to children. Here are some tips for deciding whether to use a commercial disinfectant in your child care program.

Read Product Labels Carefully

Be cautious about commercial or industrial products that advertise themselves as “disinfectants,” having “germicidal action,” or “kill germs.”

Often these products carry a warning label on the front of the container because they are toxic. Do not use cleaning products that carry a DANGER or a CORROSIVE label warning in your child care program.

Before using anything other than bleach/water for disinfecting, check with your child care nurse consultant or licensing agency to make sure it’s acceptable for use in child care. If you do decide to use an EPA-approved industrial product as a sanitizer, carefully read the label and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly.

For More Information

To learn more about cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting in child care, take a look at the following eXtension Alliance for Better Child Care articles: