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Wisconsin Dells School District will switch cleaning products after students report clothing damage
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Wisconsin Dells School District will switch cleaning products after students report clothing damage

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Wisconsin Dells School District will switch its disinfectant to clean frequently touched surfaces to kill the COVID-19 virus after reports of damage to students’ clothing.

Buildings and Grounds Director Scott Walsh said the school district will switch from using Vital Oxide to a hydrogen peroxide based disinfectant product after reports from parents saying their childrens’ clothing have been damaged from the product. He said the high school will switch products this week while the middle and elementary school will also discontinue the use of Vital Oxide.

Walsh said he received some complaints from the high school level about damaged clothing while some have also come at the elementary school level.

“It hasn’t been a lot of complaints,” Walsh said.

Walsh believed students would sit on the treated surface before it had dried, which might have damaged clothing. The disinfectant also could have affected certain fabrics or dyes in the clothing, he said.

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The clothing damage complaints is the only reason the school district is switching disinfectants to kill the coronavirus. According to the company’s website Vital Oxide is an EPA-registered hospital disinfectant cleaner, mold and mildew killer, and odor eliminator and was recently approved by the agency for use to kill the novel coronavirus.

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The safety data sheet on its website says the disinfectant is not considered hazardous and is not a skin or respiratory irritant. The website’s frequently asked questions page said Vital Oxide can discolor certain fabrics including cotton clothing. The FAQ answer also mentioned an instant where a child’s clothing had been discolored after sitting on a school bus seat sprayed with the product after it had not been allowed to completely dry before being occupied.

“In the process of multiple applications in a short time period a buildup of Vital Oxide can also contribute to discoloration, especially if the seats were previously treated with bleach. This is easily addressed by a spray and wipe step to remove built up product,” according to information from the product’s website.

The safety of the product, while also providing a high disinfectant quality, is why the school district’s maintenance crews chose to use it at the beginning of the school year to kill the COVID-19 virus, Walsh said.

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The disinfectant was used to clean high touch surfaces such as table tops, desktops and door handles after students would switch classrooms or leave the room for an extended period of time. Classrooms were cleaned using Vital Oxide more than once per day, he said.

“It wasn’t our intent to damage any clothing when we used this product,” Walsh said. “We are just trying to keep the buildings safe, sanitized and keep kids in school where we all know they need to be.”

District Administrator Terry Slack said proper adjustments will be made to the cleaning supplies the district uses.

“(We) are certainly concerned about that and we’ll make the necessary adjustments,” he said.

Slack said the building principals at the school district are aware of the situation. He said if parents have a concern to reach out to their building principal.

Follow Erica Dynes on Twitter @EDynes_CapNews or contact her at 608-393-5346.

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