Yesterday afternoon as I was scrolling through social media I noticed something interesting. I had multiple friends posting photos of their kid's clothing that had been faded or stained by residue left over from cleaners being used on the bus seats in RSU 18. This morning when I came into work, the district had already responded to the concerns.

According to the Kennebec Journal, the cleaner the school district is using is called Vital Oxide and, while not toxic, appears to be abrasive enough to be fading and staining the clothing of some students. RSU 18 Superintendent Carl Gartley responded to the concerns in a letter, “I have heard in the first few days of school about the issue that has come up with the cleaning products we are using. For those of you who are unaware of the issue, there have been a few students who have reported that a piece of clothing has been affected by the product we are cleaning with. I have seen examples of this, so it is an issue.”

Gartley also explained that Vital Oxide is a "green" chemical that does not contain any bleach and is also not supposed to be an irritant to skin. In fact, it is a recommended product for schools to use while cleaning during the pandemic. The cleaner is sprayed onto a surface and left there for about a minute or so before being wiped away. However, if the cleaner is left to sit too long between application and wiping away, it can leave a residue behind that will fade some clothing fabrics.

According to the KJ the school district is going to provide updated protocols for using Vital Oxide to reduce the likelihood that this happens again. Additionally they have plans to work with the company on how to dilute the product for particular uses.


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