Children, especially younger ones, are curious, often impulsive and full of energy. As such, it’s common for a childcare centre to be a little messy and chaotic. This is all well and good; what’s bad is to let the place stay this way.
Without proper cleaning, a childcare centre can become a breeding ground for all kinds of harmful germs. In turn, this can result in the spread of disease and various health issues—not just for the children but also for everyone who uses the space.
The biggest concern about cleaning a childcare centre is that there are a lot of objects and surfaces that need attention. As such, it’s best to work with a commercial cleaning company with expertise in cleaning schools. This way, you can be sure of the quality of the results.
That said, it can be difficult to determine when it’s time to clean when you think of how often (and how much) children can make messes. While regular deep-cleaning can be scheduled once a month or every two months, there are some things that simply can’t wait that long.
Here’s a quick guide to help you figure out a cleaning schedule.
For the study or activity tables, where children write, colour, and do crafts, a daily schedule at the end of the day is ideal. Remove debris and grime (e.g., traces of glue), wipe down using a cleaning cloth, and disinfect using standard bleach.
For emergencies, such as spills and splatters, be ready with a damp cloth for quick wipe-downs.
Toys and Other Playables
Ideally, a childcare centre should only have washable toys to reduce the spread of germs. These should be washed daily, especially the ones used by smaller children who are prone to putting things in their mouths.
Follow washing instructions to preserve the quality of the toys. If there aren’t any, warm water and mild detergent would usually suffice. It would also be helpful to have a “washed” and “to be washed” bins or boxes for toys. This way, you will know which ones are safe to play with.
If there are any non-washable toys in your collection, it’s better to have each toy assigned to individual children to lessen the risk of passing on germs.
Play mats, usually made from EVA foam, are frequent fixtures in childcare centres to prevent painful bumps and falls. However, they can also get dirty quite quickly. This is particularly true for those models that come with textured surfaces (to provide some grip), where dirt can settle and get stuck.
Cleaning play mats should be done daily, at the end of the day, unless there are any accidents like spills. Simply sweep off any debris, wipe the mat with a damp cloth, and then finish off with an appropriate disinfectant.
Play mats will also benefit from weekly or bi-weekly schedules of deep cleaning to remove built-up grime.
Books are easy enough to clean since you only need to dust them regularly. However, if the covers and pages (if they’re board books) are getting a little sticky, you can use a damp cloth to wipe them off.
For cloth/fabric books, make sure to follow the washing instructions to maintain their colour for a long time. Make sure you rinse them thoroughly because some younger children might bite or suck on the pages.
Carpets and Curtains
If you have carpets in your childcare centre, they should be vacuumed at least twice a week. You might want to do it more frequently if it’s in a high-traffic area. For deep cleaning and/or washing, three to six months would be ideal—again, depending on the traffic. Call professional cleaners for a more thorough job, especially if the material requires special care.
Curtains, on the other hand, should be replaced when they look dirty. Like other items made from fabric, make sure to follow the washing instructions to make the material last longer.
Kitchen and Eating Areas
Spaces used for preparing and eating food should be cleaned and disinfected before and after use. Tables should be particularly clean—sometimes, you just can’t stop a child from picking up and eating a bit of food that has fallen off a plate and onto the table. Place mats, if you’re using them, should also be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly.
Floors, on the other hand, should be mopped regularly to prevent any unpleasant and lingering stickiness or oiliness. This should be done at the end of the day, with a final pass of a mop with disinfectant. Again, if there are any food accidents, make sure to clean them off ASAP to avoid slips and other accidents.
Finally, surfaces like countertops and even cupboard handles should also be disinfected regularly.
Last but certainly not least, bathrooms in childcare centres should be cleaned multiple times per day. It can be a little tricky to maintain a schedule, especially since children can’t be expected to “hold” for long, so try to develop a quick routine.
Some of the most important parts include the sinks and countertops, so make sure to disinfect those first. The toilet bowls can wait until the end of the day, unless they’re really filthy. It’s also helpful if there are other restrooms to use if one is undergoing some cleaning.
Remember that infections and diseases can spread much faster in children. They have some as-yet controlled impulses, not to mention their immune systems aren’t fully developed. As such, keeping a childcare centre clean is important in creating a safe and healthy environment for children to have fun and learn.