What is more important to us, as a society, than the health and well-being of our children? We talk often about choosing healthy, safe foods to feed our children, organic materials to clothe our children and more, but sometimes we forget about the effects of chemical cleaning products. School classrooms are filled with germs and it seems like once one child sneezes, it is inevitable that all children will be sick within a week. But, when illness spreads children must stay home and not only does it compromise their health but it reduces their time spent learning in the classroom. So, is the answer to this problem to drench desks, chairs, and other surfaces in chemical-filled cleaning products? No! While they may disinfect, those harsh chemicals incredibly unhealthy and have been linked to things like asthma and even cancer. Fortunately, steam cleaning is the ideal alternative to chemical use because it effectively disinfects a wide variety of surfaces and because it uses only water, it leaves behind no chemical residue.
Many people mistakenly assume that when they use chemical cleaning products that after the surface has been wiped clean and some time has passed, whatever chemicals were sprayed on dissipating and cease to exist on the surface – leaving behind a perfectly “clean” and disinfected surface. This is, unfortunately, incorrect. Chemical cleaning products leave behind something called “biofilm.” Water Quality and Health explains the dilemma that chemical biofilm presents, “It’s easy to appreciate the need to disinfect germs on surfaces, but have you ever wondered how germs exist on surfaces in the first place? Enter the biofilm. In recent years, scientists have increased their understanding of these dense colonies of bacteria that produce an extracellular material that binds a community of different microorganisms together and anchors them to both living and inanimate surfaces… Biofilm formation is a critical issue for almost all surfaces in health care and food preparation settings. Biofilms can grow on medical implants, creating the opportunity for infections to flourish and even facilitate human deaths, for these tough microbial communities, can resist antibiotics and evade the immune system. Biofilms on food-contact surfaces in restaurant, institutional and home kitchens afford foodborne pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella the opportunity to survive. Thus, cleaning and disinfecting key surfaces to prevent or remove biofilms helps to prevent the spread of institutional infections and foodborne illness.” Steam cleaning disinfects 99% of bacteria on both porous and non-porous surfaces, penetrating deeply to remove all bacteria. Further, it removes and eliminates biofilm which helps prevent the spread of illness and disease that would normally flourish on surfaces in schools. All schools should implement the use of steam cleaning in its classrooms, offices, cafeterias and more to help reduce the spread of infection throughout the school year.