Cleaning for child care is a lot of work. And it can be kind of confusing too. Clean, sanitize, disinfect? What should you use? How often? What is the best and most effective method? Need some quick methods? I will share some of my cleaning tips for child care with printable cleaning schedule.
Not only are there marker and paint messes, a lot of food spills and potty accidents. It’s not just before the children are there but during and after – cleaning happens all day! It needs to be safe, effective and quick. Proper cleaning and sanitation are obviously important to ensure that children stay healthy and reduce the risk of illness by decreasing the number of bacteria, viruses, fungi and mold in the environment. Child care providers main tasks are keeping children safe and healthy. Of course, parents are concerned about the health of their children. Bleach solutions are probably the most commonly used to sanitize and disinfect in child care environments. While I use that method often, there are some drawbacks. Some families are sensitive or resistant to the use of so much bleach.
Also, bleach solutions must be mixed fresh daily in order to be as effective as they should be. I find this is one less thing I’m required to do if I replace the bleach solution with Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes.
- Start each day with a clean bathroom.
- Keep Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes in each room for handy and quick cleanups.
- Keep a “yuck bucket” or bin for items that need to be washed. Mine usually contains toys that have been “mouthed” or paint brushes and paint trays. At the end of the day, I wash everything in this bin.
- Fill a container with a small amount of water (and dish detergent if desired) for dirty paint brushes. Children can learn to put them in the solution when they are done using them to make clean up easier.
- Vacuum daily.
- Clean up spills immediately.
- Use a hands-free covered trash can in all areas.
- Clean toys on a rotating schedule so it’s a manageable job. Download my printable/editable Cleaning Schedule
I’m loving these new Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes with Micro-Scrubbers. They have a scrubby texture that makes cleaning up tough messes easier – like dried glue and glitter paint on the tables. It’s a more absorbent, thicker wipe too so you can use it on floors, countertops, appliances, changing tables, in bathrooms and more. They can even clean up the tougher messes caused by soap scum and grease while disinfecting 2x the surface area.
Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes with Micro-Scrubbers allow you to clean and disinfect tough messes in one easy step. Just wipe and go. Be sure to check your state’s regulations, if any, for cleaning processes. Due to the regulations in my state, I must use a 2 step cleaning process for areas like changing tables. In that case, I use two wipes for the same job to meet licensing requirements.
Areas to Clean
Entry Ways Door handles, light switches, pens, cubbies, floors, walls, railings, keyboards, and phones
Diaper Changing Surface
Must be cleaned and disinfected between diaper changes. I use a diaper pail with a foot-operated lid. Also, it’s important to note, providers should always wash their hands after each diaper change, even if they are using gloves. I believe these practices should be used in all family homes as well. They are just good habits. Just think about changing the baby on the floor here. Next time it’s over there. Maybe on the sofa…. Use a surface that can be cleaned and clean it every time. Be sure to wash anything the child touched during a diaper change such as toys used to entertain.
Play areas: Wipe shelves, play centers, and play surfaces with Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes.
Toys: Some toys can be wiped down with Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes.
- Dishwasher. Durable plastic toys can be washed in the dishwasher. High water pressure and temperatures do a great job of removing germs.
- Washing machine. Washcloth toys, linens, and bedding in the washing machine. Add one-half cup of chlorine bleach to the wash cycle when washing colorfast material; for non-colorfast material, add one-half cup of non-chlorinated bleach.
Bathrooms: Sinks, floors, toilets, rugs, doorknobs, light switch
Kitchen: floors, trash cans, faucet, refrigerator handle, counters, stools, tables and chairs, high chairs, bibs
Other Hot Spots: doorknobs, shared keyboards, faucet handles, drinking fountains, railings, toilet levers, telephones, shared tables and chairs, light switches, toys, and nap mats
Check the NAEYC Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting Frequency Table for best practices and recommendations for cleaning your child care environment.
Differences Between Cleaning, Sanitizing & Disinfecting
Cleaning: Scrub, wash, and rinse surface. Dirt can prevent sanitizers/disinfectants from working effectively. Use mild detergent & water. Removal of visible dirt soil, and debris from surface.
Sanitizing: Sanitizing Dishes, food contact surfaces, toys a child may mouth, etc. Cover the cleaned area with a sanitizing solution. Leave the solution to air dry or follow the manufacturer’s recommendation before wiping off. In Wisconsin, only bleach or a sanitizer that has an EPA registration label and an indication that it has been approved for use as a food contact sanitizer may be used to sanitize dishes and food surfaces in group child care centers. Reduction of the number of bacterial contaminants to safe levels in 1 test.
Disinfecting: Disinfecting Diapering areas, bathrooms, and all bodily fluids. Cover the cleaned area with disinfecting solution. Leave the solution to air dry or follow the manufacturer’s recommendation before wiping off. In Wisconsin, licensing rules require bleach or a quaternary ammonia product to be used to disinfect diaper changing surfaces. A product that has an EPA registration label and an indication that it is a hospital-grade disinfectant may be used. Disinfecting is a higher level of germ-killing. It is the destruction of pathogenic and other microorganisms on surfaces in multiple tests.
I feel good about using Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes with Micro-Scrubbers because they not only wipe out germs, dirt, and grease, they’re textured to scour away stubborn messes other wipes leave behind.
- Kills 99.9% of germs that can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours
- Kills 99.9% of Viruses* and Bacteria
- Kills Staph†, E.Coli‡, Salmonella§, Strep**
*Human Coronavirus, Influenza A2 Virus; †Staphylococcus aureus; ‡Escherichia coliO157:H7; §Salmonella enterica; **Streptococcus pyogenes
Download my Printable/Editable Cleaning Schedule for child care.
Please keep cleaning supplies stored in a locked drawer or cabinet beyond the reach of children.
What are your favorite cleaning tips for child care?