School Lets Kids Use Clorox Wipes to Clean Their Desks?!?

Updated on February 29, 2012
M.B. asks from Colorado Springs, CO
31 answers

Do you think Clorox Wipes are safe for kids to use? My children's school lets them use them to wipe off their desks and they don't even wash their hands afterwards. I just read the container and it says KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN, HAZARDOUS TO HUMANS AND ANIMALS. It also says to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling. On the Clorox website, it says that if they are used on anything that children will be in contact with, to always use soap and water to wipe down area AFTER wiping with the Clorox wipe. This is elementary school, and my kids are kindergarten and 3rd grade - should I say something to the principal? I am not worried about anyone putting it in their mouth, it's the contact with their skin that worries me - my oldest son's hands are so red they are bleeding. He said it happened after using the clorox wipes.

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So What Happened?

Even though many of you had no problem with it, I went ahead and sent an email to the principal. I have no problem with teachers or janitors using them, but to have my child wipe things down and NOT EVEN WASH THEIR HANDS AFTERWARDS seems absurd to me.
I come from a 'cancer' family (I was diagnosed with cancer in early 30s, my brother in late 20s). We were raised in a home in which my parents were VERY uneducated about keeping us safe from chemicals/chemical exposure (they used things like pine sol, windex, harsh floor cleaners, chemlawn on yard, pesticides to kill bugs, etc) My oncologist said that the exposure to household chemicals we received as children is definitely a contributor to us developing cancer at such a young age. So I try very hard to avoid contact with chemicals and not make the same mistakes my parents did.
edited to add more:
1. I apply Aquaphor to my child's hands every morning and night. The days that they use clorox wipes he literally cries his hands hurt so badly.
2. There are studies that prove that using Clorox wipes and other sanitizing wipes actually SPREADS MRSA.
3. There are natural products that kill germs MUCH better than HARSH chemicals. In my opinion, the uneducated use harsh chemicals to clean. Please people, educate yourselves on the dangers of chemicals...Protect your children! Bacteria are not all bad...why do you think probiotics strengthen your immune system? Bacteria is necessary...chemicals are almost never necessary.

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answers from Madison on

Sorry by I highly doubt his hands are red and bleeding cause of contact with clorox wipes...lack of lotion in the winter applied throughout the day...ya more likely. Oh wait lotion has chemicals in it (in fact everything does) sorry hun but their will be no avoiding cancer. Everything these days cause it :(. I personally wouldn't make a big stink about it...especially when a lot of teachers don't even make this much efford to avoid spreading germs.

You'd have to avoid hairspray, windex, shampoo/conditioner, lotion, vasoline (hello: patrolium jelly, it's a chemical) even green products contain levels of harsh chemicals just in a less condensed form. if you don't believe me do some deep research into it.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm with you 100% and think you need to speak up. Although it wouldn't shock me if you got a similar response to the ones you're getting on here.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I agree with you. My son has excema on his hands, and they would be in terrible shape if he was using a Clorox wipe without washing and lotioning his ands after.

On top of that, my children do not get to use Clorox wipes at home, and I would be upset if I found out they were using them at school.

5 moms found this helpful

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answers from New York on

I bring a big bottle of a green cleaner for the teacher on the 1st day of school.

MELALEUCA has a product Sol-u-Guard Botanical. It kills 99.9 percent of the germs/bacteria naturally !!!!!! I use it ! You don't need the harsh stuff. The grocery stores do carry a similiar product.

I not only tell the teacher that my daughter has to use this to clean the desk (and it's to share w/ the class), I tell her that my daughter is absolulety not to use hand sanitizer either. My daughter's friend is in her class this year. Her Mom is a nurse and she happened to tell the teacher that her daughter is not to use hand sanitizer or toxic cleaning supplies. I found that out later.

All of these toxic chemicals go into the bloodstream and they are HARMFUL to the environment.

So many affordable green products are available on the market today.

Last year, my daughter had a teacher who was all about the environment. The teacher and I supplied the green cleaners and green wipes -- and this teacher opened the window for 5 - 10 minutes a day (in winter) to air the room out.

Many people I meet assume that if a product is on the market, it's safe. That is NOT true. The idea that it's out there on the shelf and marketing has us hooked. Chemicals in many of the brand name cleaners (you read the warning) can put us at risk and the risk may or may not be immediate. Your son is having a reaction !!!

Through my research, I discovered that cancer, birth defects, heart disease, allergies/asthma...can be assoc with certain chemicals in everyday, household products.

You can actually swallow (I don't) the household products I use. Simple white vinegar and water is good for cleaning the home, etc, too.

You are 100 % right.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

Don't be that mom.

They put the hazard on there so kids aren't sucking on them. If they're using them as intended, exactly the same way you or I would use them, what's the problem?

Obviously, if he's having a skin reaction, he needs to speak up and say 'hey, look teacher, I'm BLEEDING, can someone else maybe wipe my desk for me?'

I feel like you're making a mountain out of a mole hill. Most people would be thrilled to be taking preventative measures against germs, I know I would!

ETA: Saw your SWH, and I've got to say, I still don't see the big deal. I too come from a cancer family... but I also learned responsibility at a very young age, which included a lot of cleaning, with cleaning products that's aren't nearly as safe as they are now... my brothers and I are fine.

I think preventing the spread of germs and educating children about it at a very young age is extremely important. Ask that YOUR kid be exempt, but then don't get upset when your kid is the only one who ends up with endless colds. I could see rinsing your hands after using a clorox wipe (for me personally, so I don't ruin clothing), but washing your hands after touching something that kills germs is overkill, IMO.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

I would not want my child using them at all, especially if they can't wash their hands.
Good for you watching out for chemical exposure. Until people's own health is affected, it is hard to see the connection.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

Good for you for emailing the school, I too would have a big problem with it. The package has a warning for a reason. If they want the kids to clean up then they can find wipes that are made from more natural ingredients. The Method brand makes wipes without harsh chemicals and they cost about the same or they can use plain old soap and water.

I would rather see the teachers and staff pushing the kids to wash their hands more often than to constantly use chemicals. I also think that the janitors should be doing this type of cleaning after classes.

**PARENTS!!! You can teach your kids good cleaning habits without the overuse of harsh chemicals.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Of course children should not be using those! Most people are sorely ignorant about the dangers of toxins. Scrubbing Bubbles wipes are no better.
I had to use all kinds of toxic cleaners when I was a kid -- my dad had a used appliance business and it was my job to clean them. That is most likely the reason I have lung cancer.
The toxins not only cause cancer, but are linked to many other ailments.
I can give you info on safe cleaning and laundry products if you want it. This is one battle worth fighting.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Cumberland on

It's unspeakable-I'd be livid-and it would not happen a second time!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I don't even use them in my home, so I would not want my kids touching them at school! I won't even use hand sanitizer or anything that is anti bacterial EVER! It's awful horrible stuff. There would be less sick kids at school if they would stop using such harsh chemicals all the time. I hope the principal reads your letter and fixes this for you.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

I definately would have a problem with it. Clorox/bleach is a PESTICIDE. We don't even have it in our house anymore. The kids use it, don't wash their hands and the desk then they touch their eyes, their nose, and mouth...where does the pesticide go? Their eyes, their nose, and mouth. Not to mention be absorbed into the skin and inhaled when it is used.

I wouldn't really want them to use it on the desks that the children had to sit at but to make the kids use it is just crazy. There are other things (safe alternatives) to clean and disinfect with.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Charleston on

I wash my hands after using them! I don't understand why the teacher or teacher aide is not doing this themselves. You're doing the right thing by contacting the principal - don't doubt your instincts! I would send in a bottle of white vinegar & water and a roll of paper towels for use on your son's desk. If he has to clean his own desk, that is what he would use. Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Yes I would have a problem with it and yes, you did the right thing!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I see no problem with it. My kids use the same at their school.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

I completely agree with you.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

Be careful of the fearmongering use of the word "chemical." Water is a chemical, just to put things in perspective.

In regard to Clorox Wipes, you know that your son is clearly sensitive to them so I would make sure that he's not exposed to them and suggest an alternative for the classroom. For what it's worth I would have spoken directly with the teacher and not automatically gone over her head to the principal.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Never really thought about it being a bad thing. Our school here uses them all the time and the kids clean door nobs and desks all the time ..... daily. They do then wash hands with soap and water....

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I'm glad you contacted the school regarding this. Please keep us updated. Best wishes.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

My kids use them to wipe off the carts at Walmart and the little tykes table at dinner time. I would think they are safe. They are safe for me so they are safe for kids.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Billings on

I use clorox wipes all the time, and my hands are never red and bleeding. Strange. Maybe he's allergic?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Yeah, my DD's sensitive skin had about all it could take from her being forced to hold out her hands for hand santizer before snack break. I personally HATE that stuff, but apparently it's quicker and easier than having 25 first graders wash hands the old fashioned way with soap and water.

I just told her to politely tell her teacher no thank you, my Mom prefers I don't use hand sanitizer. That was all it took. Teacher respected our wishes, no problem. It was my choice, and I wasn't up for a crusade to rid the school of it.

I would just email or ask the teacher in person that your son be excused from handling the wipes as they are damaging his skin. The teacher will probably be just fine with that. It may even give her pause to think there has to be a better solution.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

obviously if his hands are breaking out there is a problem. this time of year it's probably worse because of dry skin also. i would talk to the teacher. why not? both your kids should be able to handle paper towels and some windex or whatever you prefer (maybe send some eco-friendly stuff if you want). i don't see why the teacher wouldn't work with you, especially if his hands are in such bad shape.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

No issues here. I use them all the time and get my boys -ages 3 and 5 to use them when they're helping to clean their bathroom. If it was undiluted, straight Clorox bleach, that would be a problem -bleach can really hurt you if you're not careful, but not the wipes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My kids use them at school and at home. They love to help clean everything we touch with them. We also wash our hands afterwards, and they do at school too. I wouldn't be pitching a fit over it.

If it upset me, I'd write an email or letter to the teacher and ask that my child wash their hands after.

And if the red and bleeding is happening after use of the clorox wipes, he would either put gloves on or not use them period.

But I would not go to the principal over this.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

I would not be happy about this either. As a teacher, I had to have all chemicals labeled, and have an OSHA form filled out on each thing. I was also suppose to keep it in a place out of reach of the children, if not locked. (Not saying they aren't doing the same.)

Where I teach now (not in a school), we do not allow the kids to use the wipes or the spray bottles that have any chemical harsher than vinegar in it.

Your son should definitely not use them. I think back to when I worked at Burger King and a manager that worked there could not use the sanitized towels we had. His hands and arms were fire engine red, and constantly irritated. He had become allergic to the sanitizer from over-use.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Providence on

My sons school uses them. However, I don't know whether he actually cleans his own desk with them. I think the teachers do that anyways. If he did, he would wash his hands afterwards. That is what we use at home.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

When we were doing hospice for my Dad we found out that Clorox wipes don't have bleach in them, which we thought they did. They are still disinfecting, which we needed, and the kids used them and touched items cleaned with them, and we washed our hands after using them. I am educated in the use of chemicals, soap and water wouldn't have killed the germs we were all being exposed to.

Schools use the wipes as they're easier than using soap and water and the exposure is minimal as long as long as none of the children in class are chewing on them and ingesting the chemicals, although your child obviously reacted severely to them. We in our family have dealt with e coli and MRSA caught from school so we are afraid, very afraid, of germs and bacteria. I wouldn't have contacted the principal but instead brought my concerns to the teacher, and gone above her only if she blew me off...the old chain of command thing.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I think you did the right thing. My DD's class did this a few years back and it bothered me as well because we only use natural stuff at home. If nothing else, your son obviously has a reaction to it so if they continue the use, maybe he can use a paper towel and water or something- or send disposable gloves with him to wear when they do it (I bet he'll love that! lol).

I'm with ya mama, better safe than sorry.


answers from New York on

Suggest the teacher keep a spray bottle of regular alcohol. She can quickly spray each desk and have every student use a paper towel.

You're right.



answers from Boise on

I just looked at my container of Clorox wipes and the information does not match yours exactly. It does say that if the surface you wash with Clorox wipes will have food on it you should rinse it with water after using the wipes, but there is no mention of using "soap and water" either on surfaces or hands after use. Although I do think it is best to wash hands after using the wipes. The only big warning is that the cleaner is an eye irritant, most cleaners are. And while it does say to keep out of reach of children I think that supervised use is OK as long as the children are old enough to know better than to eat the wipes or rub their faces with them (school aged kids should know those things). My older children use Clorox wipes to clean their bathroom; it is an easy way for them to clean and teaches them responsibility. I really think it is OK. As for your oldest son's hands, it is more likely that (unless he has really sensitive skin) they are red and bleeding due to dry skin and wind burn. That is a common winter problem, I and one of my daughters are prone to dry skin especially on our hands so we use a good hand cream, especially at night before bed (so ti has plenty of time to work without getting washed off). If you want to send in an alternative wipe for your own children to use, I think that their teachers would allow that. Don't even bother the principal over this little matter; I'm sure s/he has bigger fish to fry.


answers from Norfolk on

Perhaps you can send in some rubber gloves for him so his hands don't have to touch the wipes?
Some people just have sensitive skin.
Kids tend to get sick more often if surfaces are not wiped down.
The amount of snot and filth that gets tracked onto desks, door knobs, keyboards is fairly disgusting (you hope they wash hands after the bathroom but some kids are not that good at it every time) and you just can't dip everything into a bucket of soapy water all the time - they'd never have time to teach if they spent all day cleaning.
The wipes are effective and easy.

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