Chlorine bleach, the classic go-to disinfectant from home to hospital, is still widely used in animal care facilities across the country. But the scientific knowledge behind disinfection, and the cost to produce more effective disinfectants, has produced more effective– indeed, more ideal– disinfectant solutions. In short: bleach is outdated. Here’s why.
BLEACH LOSES ITS EFFECTIVENESS ON DIRTY SURFACES
This is problem number one with using bleach to clean and disinfect surfaces, but is widely unknown. The purpose of disinfecting a surface is to kill and remove dangerous pathogens, rendering it safe for a new patient. Often times these surfaces are dirty with body oil, hair, sweat, blood– what is generally called “organic load”. Unfortunately bleach loses its effectiveness under these conditions, as the organic compounds can neutralize bleach.
Bleach is Corrosive
The pH scale is a measurement of how acidic or basic a substance is and ranges in scale from a numerical value of 0 (acidic) to 14 (basic), with 7 being neutral. The further a pH moves away from neutral, the harsher it is, and the more likely it is to irritate, corrode, and damage humans, pets, and surfaces. Much of the effectiveness of bleach comes from its strong pH of around 12, making it strongly basic. Bleach applied to a clean surface and left unattended with damage that surface and cause irritation in any people or animals exposed to its fumes.
Bleach is Unstable
Undiluted bleach will start noticeably losing effectiveness after six months. With regular cleaning, you can probably balance your rate of purchasing versus use for this time frame. But bleach that has been diluted in water loses its effectiveness much more quickly– losing its potency in about a day. Filling spray bottles with diluted bleach and using them over time seems convenient, until you know you’ve been cleaning your facility with deactivated bleach– in short, little more than water.
These three factors add up to a long cleaning process with multiple passes in order to be effective. First, in order to clear away organic load, all surfaces should be cleaned with a surface cleaner and dried. Then, properly diluted bleach should be applied. Then the surface ought to be rinsed off and, if necessary, dried again. Without these steps, bleach will lose a great deal of its potency, certainly not reaching the “kill everything” level of effectiveness people think it has.
More advanced disinfectants, such as KennelSol, have been created to avoid these shortcomings. KennelSol does not lose its effectiveness under organic load, so you can be assured that the surface is clean. It also has a neutral pH, meaning it will not corrode your equipment or irritate the eyes and noses of the people and animals within your facility. Simply put: KennelSol is more convenient to use, and more effective at disinfecting your facility, than chlorine bleach. When you switch from bleach to KennelSol, you will know your facility is cleaner and safer than it ever has been.