Disinfectants are scarce and there is much concern over the use of so many chemicals in our homes, schools and around children. However, here at Mighty Scholars Preschool Academy, our health and safety protocols have been carefully researched to find a healthy balance across the board. As an in-home preschool, my mission was to research solutions to protect both my family and scholars. My research goal: find the most safe and natural EPA List N product to dismantle SARS-CoV-2 (plus more) and the most effective way to disinfect my classroom from the ceiling to the floor (and everywhere in between). The following are what I found and what we use on a daily basis throughout our home and my classroom.
Disclaimer: I'm NOT affiliated directly with the companies who's products we use or explain in this blog post. I'm hoping that what we have found and use will also help others.
Hypochlorous Acid (HOCI) is on the EPA List N for disinfectants against SARS-CoV-2. It breaks down the protein barrier of the virus, dismantling it. Since COVID-19 is essentially a non-living virus, once its been dismantled it can no longer attach to cells and replicate. HOCI is a full-spectrum disinfectant and sanitizer that also kills germs such as: Salmonella, Staph, Norovirous, Influenza A and Listeria. Despite being a powerful disinfectant, its non-toxic and much safer than Clorox Disinfectant Wipes. Its EPA registered for use in hospitals, ICU's, clinics, daycares, schools, restaurants, grocery stores and much more. It's cleared with the FDA for use directly on foods, around children and pets. Its even used by grocery stores to clean produce. HOCI doesn't have any skin irritants, so there's no need to rinse it off. In fact, if soap and water aren't available, it can be used as a safe and effective hand sanitizer. Our bodies produce Hypochlorous Acid naturally in our white blood cells, which are our immune fighter cells that fight off sickness and heal.
We use Hypochlorous Acid (HOCI) as a surface spray, immersion soak, prewash and fogging. HOCI can become denatured when exposed to UV light and as it sits over time. It's important to store HOCI away from direct sunlight and use batches within a couple of weeks. I store HOCI in amber glass jars that come with a storage lid and an easy swap spray nozzle attachment (Amazon link at the end of this blog post).
Hypochlorous Acid (HOCI) can be easily generated at home with an electrolyzed water generator. The machine I chose is developed by a company that makes commercial machines and uses a titanium cell. Since its used several times per week, it was important to find a machine that could withstand the riggers of daily use. Titanium lasts longer and is more reliable with batch consistency. HOCI is produced easily with kosher salt and tap water. The elements in salt and water molecules break apart, then come together to form new molecules when exposed for a period of time to an electrical current. It's not required, but we add a small measurement of distilled white vinegar to help reduce the ph and allow the weaker HOCI chemical composition become the dominate free chlorine molecule. There are companies that require subscriptions for plastic vials of pre-measured salt and vinegar. However, with the amount we need to generate, how simple HOCI is to make and the desire to not add unneeded plastic waste to our landfills, I chose the machine called EcoOne (sold by EcoloxTech). With three settings to chose from, I'm able to produce batches in the strength desired and for the purpose its being used for. I immediately test each batch for concentration.
To get the Hypochlorous Acid disinfectant into all the nooks and crannies, enveloping objects and getting to places that cleaning by hand can sometimes miss, it was important for us to get a dependable disinfectant fogger. There are several foggers on the market, but I ultimately chose the ULV Fogger from Longray (Amazon link at the end of this post). It was important for the fogger to produce a fog and not a mist. The Longray produces a 5-50 micron fog that encapsulates particles and objects. Since its extremely powerful as the fog surges from the nozzle, and quite loud like a heavy duty vacuum, I fog the classroom when classes have completed for the day (each day). I make sure to fog from top to bottom, inside cubbies and all around objects throughout the classroom, bathroom and hall.
Air Filtering and Purification
Along with replacing air filters on a monthly basis and having regular inspections of our ventilation systems, we use specialized air purification machines throughout our home. My son has very severe asthma and allergies, so we did our research on specific machines earlier and have been using them for several years. Before this new "build the plane as you fly it" school year began, we purchased three classroom specific Photo Electrochemical Oxidation (PECO) air purification technology machines, that are run 24 hours a day. The patented PECO purification has been proven to destroy a proxy virus for SARS-CoV-2, 99.9994% destruction of viruses, effective against gram negative and positive bacteria, and doesn't produce any ozone–which is incredibly important for our own health and for pollution. Many air purification machines on the market cause harmful ozone. With a myriad of machines popping up for sale since the pandemic, the EPA published a warning regarding the destructive effects the generated ozone cause on our bodies, when created by many of the unregulated machines sold today. You can read it HERE. PECO air purification machines are patented and sold by MoLEKULE, a company that also produces large machines for use in hospitals. Our classroom machine models are: one 'Air' (at the entrance to the classroom) and two 'Air Mini' machines (across the room between centers).
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