Parents trust daycare facilities to keep their children safe when they’re busy at work. One way to create a safe environment for children is by keeping the daycare clean.
A daycare checklist ensures that you don’t neglect or forget an area during cleaning.
Cleaning and sanitizing are more important than ever.
Children are messy, and as a result, daycare centers can be a breeding ground for germs. If you don’t attend to these everyday messes, germs can easily spread among children, educators, and workers.
To avoid this, clean common areas to remove visible dirt, then sanitize them to remove germs beyond the surface level.
A cleaning and sanitizing routine is even more critical if you’re about to re-open your daycare center after a break or a COVID-19-related closure. Ensure you follow the childcare health and sanitization guidelines to keep the children safe and to avoid legal issues.
Daily cleaning checklist
Some daycare areas need regular cleaning, while some are sensitive and may require a more rigid and thorough cleaning routine.
Specific staff members must be assigned to do these tasks conscientiously to ensure that crucial areas such as toilets are cleaned as needed.
Surfaces that should be cleaned daily include:
- Infant and toddler toys
- Doors and cabinet knobs
- Drinking fountain
- Napping blankets if they’re shared
- Toilets and sinks
Some surfaces are sensitive and should be cleaned and sanitized after every use. They include:
- Potty chairs
- Isolation areas
- Changing space
- Dining tables after meals
- Food prep areas
- Kitchen sinks
- Mouthed toys
- High chairs (before and after meals)
- Dishes and utensils
Some cleaning concerns won’t fit your schedule because you must attend to them as you notice them. These might include:
- Wiping liquid slips and splashes
- Dust furniture
- Vacuum both sides of your carpet
- Opening the windows for clean air circulation
- Clean fridge
- Clean storage room
- Defrost freezer
- Clean food trapped in the dishwasher
- Cleaner cooker
- Scrubbing kitchen floor
- Take out garbage
Weekly cleaning checklist
Areas that require cleaning and sanitizing/weekly disinfecting include:
- Books and bookshelves
- Older children’s toys
- Art rooms and art supplies
- Nap mats and blankets (if they’re shared)
- Trash cans
- Cribs and bedding
- Deep clean washrooms
Monthly or quarterly cleaning checklist
While some surfaces need daily or weekly cleaning, some items are safe to clean monthly or quarterly. These surfaces include:
- Curtains, blinds, and windows
- Furniture, windowsills, and dust baseboards (deep cleaning)
- Shelves, closets, storage containers ( clean, wipe, and disinfect)
- Plumbing (check for any leaks)
- Clean carpets (twice a year)
Top tips for cleaning your daycare
Here are some clever hacks to make daycare cleaning easier and more effective:
1. Use color-coded cloths
When choosing cleaning cloths, designate specific colors for different rooms to avoid confusion. For example, you can use red cloth for the kitchen, yellow for classrooms, and black for washrooms.
- 2. Label cleaning products by area
It's also a good idea to label the cleaning products. For example, some detergents have very harsh chemicals and shouldn’t be used in areas where children frequently visit. A good example is a floor disinfectant used to clean children's toys.
3. Set up recurring orders for cleaning supplies
Budgeting, planning, and scheduling recurring orders for your cleaning supplies avoid delays with your cleaning operations. Ensure your order includes regular cleaning products like detergents, disinfectants, and sanitizers.
- 4. Set up several sanitizing or hand-cleaning stations
We unknowingly collect germs when we open doors, change diapers, wipe children's faces, etc. It's impossible to avoid germs, but you can prevent spreading them by washing your hands regularly. Whether cleaners wear gloves or not, they should clean their hands when transitioning to another area.
- 5. Shuffle cleaners every few weeks
Although consistency makes cleaners experts in their designated areas, boredom can lead to poor performance. Shuffling cleaners prevents this from happening, and if there are neglected surfaces, they can be discovered during these changes and corrected.
Daycare cleaning supplies checklist
- Hand sanitizer
- Wet wipes
- Paper towels
- Disinfectant spray
- Vacuum cleaner
Besides having a cleaning checklist, ensuring you have the right cleaning supplies is crucial. To save on cost and avoid cleaning delays, shop for cleaning supplies weekly or monthly, depending on your preference.
Your daycare cleaning supplies checklist should include:
Hand sanitizer is one of the most important daycare cleaning supplies because children touch and put many things into their mouths. Ensure you have a sanitizer bottle in the following areas:
- Daycare entry/ gate
- Eating area
Wet wipes are more convenient than wet towels. They can help clean up minor messes, sticky surfaces, children’s hands, etc. Cleaners can carry some wipes in their pockets, and you can also place them near large trash cans around the school. Other places you can put wet wipes include:
- Play area
- Eating area
You’ll need lots and lots of paper towels. An average daycare will use two or three rolls of paper towels in a day, which could be more depending on the size of your daycare. You can use paper towels to wipe clean dirty mouths, dry wet hands, minor spills, and disinfectant spray.
When removing stubborn stains and disinfecting items, good old-fashioned bleach is still our number one choice. However, bleach can be harsh on children’s skin. Therefore, it’s essential to rinse items or areas after using bleach. If possible, areas that need bleach for cleaning should be cleaned after school hours.
You can use a disinfectant spray for areas that require sanitizing when children are around. You can use an antibacterial spray like Lysol. Ensure you confirm it’s safe for children and follow the manufacturer’s application instructions.
A dishwasher is more efficient than hand cleaning in busy environments such as daycare. It also prevents dishes from piling up in the sink and, ultimately, bacteria from bleeding in the kitchen. Specific cleaners should be assigned to load, offload and organize the utensils.
Vacuum cleaners are a game changer in daycare cleanliness. They can dry wet areas quickly and eliminate dirt and bacteria we can’t see with our naked eyes. A vacuum cleaner also has special attachments to help you access even hidden places.
Keeping a daycare clean should be a top priority for every daycare management team. Keep a daycare cleaning checklist to ensure all areas remain clean and disinfected at all times. If your staff team is helping to clean your center, make sure you include your cleaning protocol in your staff handbook. You can download our staff handbook template if you're looking for new ideas of what to include in yours!
A cleaning checklist ensures that any cleaning crew member can clean the facility if the need arises. It can also help you keep track of all areas that need to be cleaned so that important areas aren’t neglected.
Try the checklists above to get started. Happy cleaning!