Cleaning Plastic Containers (Rubbermaid Tubs)(7 posts)
We've been storing a lot of our Hefty-bagged clothes in 18 gallon Rubbermaid tubs. We'd like to start moving "clean" items, such as those selfsame bagged clothes, to bug-free zones. We'd also like to not bring hangers on in the form of bedbugs or eggs.
Right now, after we empty a bin, we scrub the inside, outside, and lid with 91.5% isopropyl alcohol and some paper towel. The logic is that the alcohol will contact-kill the bugs and the scrubbing will remove anything that's stuck on.
Is that logic faulty? Should we assume that every bucket in the house is infested and can't be cleaned? In theory, the moment a bucket touches any surface, it becomes a travel hazard. That means buying more is sorta pointless since the moment it is set down on the floor, bugs immediately adhere to it!
You don't want to take anything for granted, but . . .
bed bugs have a harder time grabbing onto plastic in general.
And depending on what color those bins are, I would think that eggs would very much stand out in contrast to them (mine were navy blue, pale blue, bright purple, or grey. Only the grey ones didn't clearly contrast with the eggs.)
To be fair, I only used mine sealed up with duct tape, so I was sure any hitch hikers couldn't get in or out, so I wasn't worried about that.
But I would think that rubbing down the interior and exterior with alcohol and inspecting for eggs (which ought to be easy to spot if they're colors very different from bed bug eggs) would be enough.
Alcohol "melts" many types of plastic. Spot test an area first.
Does anything dissolve the egg adhesive?
This plastic is strong enough that the alcohol isn't doing much to it. It would take a much stronger alcohol and weaker plastic for the plastic to solvate.
I am curious about the amount of pressure or friction required to scrape off or damage eggs. Someone online suggested a brush to help get things off the outside.
It's true that I melted plenty of stuff with the 91% alcohol, and it's true that there are different kinds of Rubbermaid bins, but I actually used 91% alcohol on the bins that I was packing, and it didn't melt them.
Of course, I only sprayed them down once, but I did spray them down pretty thoroughly.
I'm wondering about this too. I've been inspecting and not finding any signs such as eggs or nymphs, but are they invisible enough that I could miss them? I read so much on these forums about disinfecting medicine bottles and whatnot, I'm not clear on whether visual inspection is valid or not. For instance, I've got a bunch of file folders, and many I'm throwing out, but there are some new ones, or essential files, that I want to keep. If I inspect the folder, see nothing and wipe it down with alcohol, am I missing something?
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