Taking Care of your Gear

Level 100

Join date: Aug 2009
Posts: 750

Robert A wrote:
idaho/anyone this may concern,

Sorry this has taken so long.

Household Bleach, a.k.a. sodium hypochorite 6%

When we use bleach as a noun this is usually what we are talking about. It is a solution of about 6% sodium hypochorite(some are 5 point something) and is pretty damn ubiquitous. It is an oxidizing agent that does it work by breaking chemical bonds and is chemically active/not stable. In fact household bleach uses a fairly hefty dose of lye to make it stable enough to be useful. Essentially, bleach even in an unopened container, is always being "used up". This means bleach has a short shelf life.

Depending on how old your bottle of bleach is effective concentration of sodium hypochlorite may be quite a bit less than 6% before you even open it. Heat speeds this reaction. Luckily you are someplace where you use only the freshest of products and everything is nice climate controlled 60 degrees. Oh. Wait.....

So for you the take home of always using "fresh" bleach solution is even more important. The bottle might be tired before you open it. Once you further dilute it and then drag it to a hot and sweaty training hall figuring on a 24 hour useful life makes a lot of sense. Even with that it is still a kick ass cleaner/ disinfectant because it displays

CDC 2008 Guidelines for Disinfection and Sterilization of Healthcare Facilities states:
a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity, do not leave toxic residues, are unaffected by water hardness, are inexpensive and fast acting, remove dried or fixed organisms and biofilms from surfaces, and have a low incidence of serious toxicity.
even if the exact mechanism for how it works on bacteria is still a bit foggy.

MRSA, a.k.a. Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Staph aureus is a really common anaerobic bacteria. Ever see a pimple? Than you have a good chance of having seen S. aureus in the wild. The methicillin resistant thing refers to any strain of staph that is resistant to that particular anti-biotic and thus harder to kill/treat. It isn't necessarily that MRSA is more virulent/nasty (though some strains are very, very, aggressive) but that IF it becomes a problem it is harder to get rid of before bad things happen.

This is precisely the problem with MRSA. We are all pretty much covered in S. aureus. It seldom gives us any more problems than occasional pimples/acne. However if for some reason it manages to get further into the body than an abscess(basically the body walling off the small infected area) it can rampage around showing the kind of restraint Stephen Hawking is known to show when faced with unlocked liquor cabinets and bored house wives.

All staph can cause sepsis(wide spread, systemic infection/blood poisoning), toxic shock(hyper reaction to infection), necrotizing fascitis(flesh eating), necrotizing pneumonia(flesh eating, but in your lungs), endocarditis(at this point a heart issue sounds like a good way to go), etc. The issue is that if the staph causing it is MRSA than treating the infection in a way that doesn't kill the patient is more difficult.

It isn't that the staph "developed" immunity in the same way you develop capable soldiers. That isn't how selection pressure works. Instead it is a case of improper/over use of anti-biotics killing off all the easy to kill bacteria in certain colonies so only the tougher ones survived. Closer to how dog breeding works (cull the undesirable traits).

Enough B.S., let's use A to kill the shit out of B

Selection pressure has resulted in resistance to anti-biotics, but lets remember that pretty much anything a person can ingest is going to be weak on the kill stuff scale. Even really, really nasty drugs like those used against cancer or HIV are fairly mild compared to being burned the fuck up. Which is what bleach will do.

The big question to ask is "how much do I like this surface vs how bad to I want to kill shit"

A 1:10 bleach solution is usually recommended for disinfecting surfaces that are known to have been contaminated with body fluids (blood, vomit, saliva, etc.) This is easy enough to make. Just 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. This solution should smell strongly of bleach. If you can get a bottle that is pre marked with metric volume this is pretty damn easy.

If not, you can make you own hash lines on the outside of the bottle with a permanant marker by dumping in 1 unit of fluid, marking, than adding nine more. Of course this works best with a clear bottle, which means light/heat are going to be even more of a factor in the solution losing potency. That is why mixing every day needs to happen. This solution can and will be hard on many surfaces so making sure you are diligent with surface protectents, like mink oil, on you gloves is a good idea.

Research has shown that the presence of blood greatly decreases/blunts the sanitation here so first the surface should be cleaned so that it doesn't look dirty. Basically don't just squirt this on a blood stain and call it good.

NOTE: If you are worried about MRSA than anything you clean/wipe down a surface with before disinfection needs to be considered "dirty". So the first rag/towel should get ditched or laundered and not re-used. It does little good to wipe around the MRSA, clean, then re wipe/re-apply a nice layer of MRSA to the surface again.

WEAKER/more surface friendly

Here the recommendation is to use 1:100 bleach solution. So one part bleach to 99 parts water. This is a lot more friendly to most surfaces and is a good "general" disinfection agent. Again, mix every day.

What about Purell/using alcohol

Alcohol has been shown to be an effective way to kill bacteria, fungus, etc. It is not recommended to kill bacterial spores(don't worry with regards to staph. DO worry with regards to Hepatitis.) Current thought is that it works by denaturing the proteins in the bacteria. This effect has been shown to drop off sharply when the concentration gets below 50% alcohol, lending a great excuse to buy 100 proof or greater spirits. Methyl alcohol has been shown to be less effective than ethyl (aka the stuff we drink) alcohol. Purell is about 60% IIRC.

Final Note: Kill Time, a.k.a. doing the damn thing

The idea of kill time or contact time is really important here. We need the substance we are using to murder the MRSA to be on the MRSA long enough to get the murdering done. Think of it like sinking in a choke. You wouldn't just apply it then immediately let go. You have to hold the choke until you get the desired result, tap, unconsious, "smell shit", etc.

Most products have specific guidelines as to how long the disinfectant needs to be on the surface in order to achieve the advertised result. This is often a surprisingly long time. The EPA has guidelines that may go up to 10 minutes, which is pretty unrealistic.

Most folks tend to spray or apply than immediately wipe off. That is basically moving the dirt around. Applying and letting the surface dry is only marginally better. The contact time only counts if the solution is visibly wet on the surface. Alcohol has shown good effects with only 10 seconds of contact against S. aureus, but that may be quite a bit longer than the purell takes to dry so use more.

For bleach a lot of recommendations go to 10 minutes, though studies have shown decent results with 2 minutes of contact time. It needs to be wet, so use more.

Other products may have specific guidelines with regards to contact time needed to kill different pathogens.

Here is a link to the EPA lists for MRSA (list H) and disinfectents in general in case they may help you requisition cleaning agents. It gives EPA register numbers in case that helps you order or ID available cleaners.

List H/registered products list

I hope this was helpful. The usual disclosures apply. I am not YOUR doctor nor am I responsible for the public/community health concerns in your AO.


Robert A

Thank you very much, I appreciate all your knowledge and the time and effort you put in to this post. Excellent as always. I am on a short assignment in the U.A.E. and I swear, a New York city land field is cleaner than the latrines here. I am going to make liberal use of this post with these fine upstanding warriors, maybe, I can get out of here with losing a body part to some unknown rot. LoL. Thanks again, stay safe, watch your 6.

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Join date: Feb 2008
Posts: 841

i don;t think I saw it in this thread, if I have all synthetic gloves, might I run them through a regular top loading laundry machine with an agitator in the middle, likely on gentle cycle? Detergent and a small amount of bleach? Failing that I think I might track down some Febreze because they are getting a shade 'ripe'.

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Robert A
Level 5

Join date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2250

DeadKong wrote:
i don;t think I saw it in this thread, if I have all synthetic gloves, might I run them through a regular top loading laundry machine with an agitator in the middle, likely on gentle cycle? Detergent and a small amount of bleach? Failing that I think I might track down some Febreze because they are getting a shade 'ripe'.

No. I don't think that is wise.

First, do you air dry them? You could use detergent and/or bleach on the outsides no problem, and should, but I doubt that is where the "ripe" comes in.

If you want to rinse the insides with a little dilute bleach solution, followed by drying them out well (consider open end towards a fan) that might be a good start. Next up would be doing kmcnyc's freezer method. So put them in a big ziplock bag and stick them in the freezer over night. Then, back to the fan or let them warm up outside if it is sunny and dry out. See where you are then.

The issue isn't the smell, which Febreeze will tackle, it is what the smell represents. So first you want to kill that off/lower the bacterial load than keep it from reoccurring. In the future dry the gloves out completely between uses. Newspaper or desiccant packets stuffed into the gloves between uses might be a good thing.


Robert A

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