A Comprehensive Classroom Cleaning Checklist to Keep Students and Staff Safe
Schools are a breeding ground for germs. Students’ proximity to one another, interaction with common surfaces, and the communal use of some classroom items foster this.
It can be challenging to avoid the transmission of airborne viruses and bacteria in schools. However, it is possible to minimize their presence on repeatedly touched surfaces.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting can remove, reduce, and even kill harmful germs, thereby reducing their spread. This involves regularly cleaning high-touch classroom surfaces such as door handles, keyboards, and desks.
Unfortunately, the list can be exhaustive, and some items can be easily overlooked. A classroom cleaning checklist can help you avoid this and ensure the safety of both students and staff.
The Importance of Cleaning Classrooms
Thoroughly cleaning classrooms is even more critical as flu season approaches. Regularly sanitizing classrooms helps prevent the flu and other infections such as the common cold, strep throat, and conjunctivitis. These are usually highly contagious, with symptoms often lasting between four to 14 days. The result is extended absences from school for infected students and staff.
A report in the Pediatrics journal estimated that over 6.5 million children in the United States miss 15 or more days of school every year. That’s approximately 13% of all students. Although chronic absenteeism rates vary across states, it’s usually defined as missing 10% or roughly 18 school days per year.
It’s an alarming statistic as absenteeism can affect learning and result in poor grades. It can also increase the risk of students developing unhealthy behaviors, even leading to dropping out of school.
Good hygiene helps students and staff stay healthy. This starts by targeting the germiest places in schools. Studies have found that water fountains carry many microbes. Cafeteria trays are also laden with bacteria. These, along with door handles, light switches, and faucet handles, should be at the top of your school cleaning checklist.
What You’ll Need
A comprehensive cleaning checklist for schools should include items that effectively clean, sanitize and disinfect. The list should include the following:
Disinfecting wipes are great for quick clean-ups. They also remove dirt and germs that cloths or rags can miss. Although tough on germs, they’re gentle on most surfaces. You'll use them frequently, but purchasing wholesale disinfecting wipes can help you save up to 50% on the retail unit cost.
Microfiber cloths are great at eliminating dust. Their non-abrasive texture makes them an excellent option for dusting more delicate surfaces. Designating a color for cleaning specific areas can also help avoid cross-contamination. You may also need to use disinfecting wipes on the area to remove any germs cloths may miss.
You can use scrubbing sponges for messes that require more intensive cleaning. They're great for countertops and sinks as well. However, avoid using the abrasive side when cleaning more delicate surfaces.
An all-purpose cleaner allows you to use the same cleaning agent for various surfaces. A non-toxic alternative helps prevent noxious smells or skin irritation.
Floor cleaners help remove dirt and germs missed while sweeping. They can also remove sticky residues. Choose one that leaves a distinctively clean, refreshing smell throughout the classroom.
Sanitizing spray provides a quick way to eliminate germs. Spray into the air or on surfaces to quickly clean an area, such as the reading corner, before using the space.
Paper towels should be a staple in any classroom. They’re ideal for quick clean-ups and can help you avoid major mishaps.
Keyboards can harbor many germs over time, as getting between the keys can be challenging. Keyboard cleaners can remove dirt from these often hard-to-reach areas. Screen cleaners also help to remove dust and residue.
Broom and Dustpan
A broom and dustpan help to remove dirt and dust from classroom floors. They prevent dust from circulating in the classroom, which can trigger allergic reactions.
A vacuum cleaner or carpet sweeper is essential for carpeting or a rug in the classroom. The fibers in carpets and rugs can trap allergens and encourage mold growth. Vacuuming daily can help to avoid this.
Mops can effectively clean up messes. You can use a traditional string mop or a more modern, padded version. Both help to remove germs along with stickiness from spills or crumbs.
Whether you use a chalkboard or whiteboard, an eraser can ensure they’re clean and dust-free.
Air fresheners can eliminate lingering odors and provide the finishing touch after a thorough clean. However, it might be best to opt for a neutral air freshener. Some students may be sensitive to strong scents.
Protective gloves can safeguard your skin from cleaning agents or messes. Classroom messes can involve food, bodily fluids, or other unsafe materials. Wearing non-latex gloves when cleaning is best to avoid allergic reactions to gloves and contaminants.
A storage bin or supply caddy keeps cleaning supplies together for easier access. An enclosed container also allows you to store them safely away from your students.
When placed in sealed bins, trash bags help to manage odors and make disposal after cleaning up easier.
Daily Classroom Cleaning Checklist
Categorizing your classroom clean-up checklist based on cleaning frequency can help make the tasks involved easier. This also helps to ensure you don’t overlook any areas in your classroom. A daily checklist will include the following:
Put Away Supplies
Putting away supplies should be a daily routine for students. However, there may be a few forgotten items you may have to put away. This task can help you note when stocks need replenishing. It's also a great time to empty pencil sharpeners and discard non-working stationery.
Disinfect Desks and Chairs
Studies have revealed significant amounts of fungi and bacteria on students' desks. Regular cleaning is essential, as sporadic efforts proved less effective in removing these contaminants. Disinfecting desks and chairs is vital to reducing the spread of germs from student to student. It should also include the teacher’s desk and chair. Disinfecting wipes or sprays can help eliminate most of the bacteria found on them.
Disinfect Other Frequently Touched Surfaces
Germs found on other frequently touched surfaces can be significant as well. These include door knobs and handles, school supplies and stationery, light switches, remotes, and sink faucets. You can use disinfecting wipes to quickly clean these surfaces.
Sweep your classroom daily to get rid of unwanted dirt and dust. Mopping is also recommended but will depend on your school’s cleaning policy.
Take Out the Trash
This shouldn’t only consist of the dust you’ve swept up. It should involve a thorough check of the room. You may find trash placed in less-than-obvious locations throughout the classroom. Remove bags even if they aren't full. Students may have disposed of food that can create lingering odors.
Weekly Classroom Cleaning Checklist
The weekly cleaning classroom checklist involves more in-depth cleaning.
This goes beyond the daily organization of materials around the classroom. Once a week, also tidy the shelves, cabinets, and teacher’s desk to ensure things are in order.
Every week, dust surfaces that haven’t been cleaned daily. This includes light fixtures, overhead areas, bookshelves, cabinets, and cubbies.
Devices that come into contact with the human body will have oil residue as well as microbes. Unplug all hardware and clean them weekly. These include keyboards, headphones, screens, and any other tech gadgets. Check equipment manuals to ensure you use the appropriate cleaning products.
Clean Whiteboards and Chalkboards
Whiteboard and chalkboard erasers are effective for daily cleaning. However, markers and chalk can leave stains or residue over time. Use a cleaning spray weekly to help remove them. You should also clean electronic boards weekly. Ensure you use the appropriate cleaning materials to avoid damaging the board.
Scrub and Dry Classroom Sinks
If you have a sink in the classroom, scrub it weekly. Use a sponge to ensure the basin and hardware are thoroughly cleaned, then dry all surfaces once you rinse off the cleaning agent.
Mop and Vacuum
If your school’s cleaning policy doesn’t permit mopping and vacuuming daily, ensure it’s done at least once a week to prevent the build-up of dust and other allergens.
Monthly Classroom Cleaning Checklist
Completing your monthly clean classroom checklist will involve areas with significant dust. Wear a mask if needed.
Disinfect Cabinets and Shelves
These surfaces are usually not considered high-touch areas. However, cleaning them every month helps to remove any build-up of dust. Disinfect them if students are in contact with them more frequently.
Clean Blinds and Windows
Cleaning blinds and windows at least once a month can help remove dust. This is important for students suffering from allergies.
Clean Vents and Ceiling Fans
Vents and fans also become dust-laden and are perfect receptacles for dispersing it. Change vents at least once a month and more frequently during allergy season. You can use a ceiling fan cleaner to thoroughly clean fan blades.
Wipe Classroom Electronics and Appliances
If you have electronics and/or appliances in your classroom, clean them monthly. Use non-abrasive cleaning products to wipe their surfaces.
Throw Out Expired Perishables
If you have one, go through the contents of your classroom fridge at least once a month. Discard any expired perishable items. Clean the inside to remove any food residue and wipe the exterior to remove dust.
Clean Garbage Cans
Residue from trash can build up in garbage cans over time, creating an unpleasant odor. Wipe cans with disinfecting wipes or disinfectant. Depending on the level of dirt, you might need to clean it outside using soap and a hose.
End-of-Year Classroom Cleaning Checklist
Your end-of-year classroom clean-up list will be labor-intensive and will involve a more thorough cleaning of most areas.
Clean Shelving and Cabinets
The yearly cleaning of shelves and cabinets will involve the removal of all books and items. Wipe down all surfaces and the things you’ve removed before placing them back into cubbies or cabinets.
Empty and Clean Desks
Cleaning desks at the end of the school year entails more than surface cleaning. Emptying each desk allows you to retrieve students’ forgotten items. It also ensures the removal of dirt, dust, and germs previously hidden by the desk's contents.
Wash Window Screens and Walls
Cleaning classroom walls once a year will remove any germs or microbes present. Washing screens removes any dust that would have accumulated throughout the year. It’s also good to leave windows and doors open while doing end-of-year cleaning so that air can circulate throughout the classroom.
These lists may make classroom cleaning seem like an arduous task. However, they cover every area of the classroom, ensuring the safety of students and staff. If you’re wondering how to clean a classroom quickly, start by having all cleaning items in one place. Following your checklist will help the cleaning process become a part of your routine.
Keep Your Classrooms Safe with Wipes.com
Good hygiene can be the key to staying healthy throughout the school year. However, younger kids aren’t always versed in proper hygiene habits. Students touch common surfaces and are close to one another throughout the day, making the spread of germs almost inevitable.
Schools can help mitigate this with regular cleaning. A classroom cleaning checklist and the proper cleaning equipment can help. Disinfecting wipes are an essential part of this list. They help to quickly clean up messes and are safe on almost every surface, effectively eliminating germs from high-touch areas.
Reach out to us today to find out how to get bulk orders of cleaning wipes for your classroom needs!