Working in childcare can be a fun and fulfilling experience. However, such experiences don’t come without great responsibility. As a childcare worker, the safety of the children under your care is paramount. Throughout the day, you constantly need to be on the lookout for potential hazards. This includes sharp objects, choking hazards, tripping hazards and slippery surfaces.
But perhaps the most overlooked hazard is the one that you can’t see: bacteria. If you’re not careful, harmful germs can quickly spread throughout a childcare centre. This can cause children to become ill. In some cases, exposure to bacteria may even lead to serious diseases that could spread to other children.
Since kids are naturally curious and are constantly wandering around, they’re more vulnerable to being exposed to unclean surfaces. Because of this, you need commercial cleaning service providers that are fully trained in childcare cleaning.
To help you create a clean and safe environment for the children, we’re going to discuss the key things that you should know about childcare cleaning.
How often should you clean?
The first thing we will discuss is your cleaning schedule. In a childcare setting, it’s important to have a regular cleaning routine in order to ensure that the environment is safe and healthy all-year-round.
An easy way to create a cleaning schedule is to break things down into three categories: daily cleaning, weekly cleaning, and long-term cleaning.
Surfaces that see a lot of use should be cleaned on a daily basis. The main areas to focus on are the kitchen, the toilets and the nappy changing rooms. Always make sure that you’re cleaning the tabletops, countertops, highchairs, benches, door handles, microwaves, toilets, sinks, taps and cupboard handles.
These surfaces need to be cleaned with warm water and mild soap. You can use either a cleaning cloth or a sponge. Just be careful not to use a cleaning tool that’s too abrasive as it can scratch certain materials. Scratches on tabletops and chairs will make it easier for dirt and grime to cling to the surface.
After cleaning, rinse the surfaces thoroughly. Make sure to dry them completely as leaving moisture on these surfaces can attract more contaminants.
Lastly, make sure that the carpet is vacuumed every day. Carpets can easily become a hub for harmful bacteria. This is because various allergens and germs tend to cling on to fabric. If the carpet is not cleaned regularly, a child could be exposed to these contaminants.
In terms of weekly cleaning, you should take care of the areas that are used regularly but don’t require urgent cleaning. This includes the insides of refrigerators, cupboards, and cabinets. Also, don’t forget to dust off the top of dressers, bookshelves, and drawers.
Your weekly routine might also involve cleaning walls and the ceiling. If the childcare centre is prone to leaks and water damage, you should also look out for mould and mildew on the ceiling tiles and on the corners of each room. It’s important to address this as soon as you can as mould can cause respiratory issues in children. This is especially true for those with allergies.
- Long-term cleaning
Lastly, you should aim to have the property deep cleaned every six months or so. For this, we recommended hiring commercial cleaning professionals that specialise in childcare settings. They will have the industrial-grade products and the extensive experience to be able to clean the property to the highest of standards.
Typically, these services will involve shampooing and steam cleaning the carpet, sanitising touchpoints, disinfecting exposed surfaces as well as cleaning hard to reach corners and crevices.
How to clean toys
Since the children share toys on a daily basis, unclean toys can easily spread bacteria among the children. Some of the younger children might even put toys in their mouths. Because of this, it’s absolutely essential that you clean the toys at the end of each day.
That being said, the complex nature of certain toys can make them a little tricky to clean. You want to wash the toys as thoroughly as possible, but you also don’t want to break them during the process.
For toys that have glued-in parts, try not to use hot water. Hot water will dissolve the glue and break the toy. As much as possible, try to use warm water and mild soap. Be sure not to use any harsh abrasives as they could scratch the paint off of some toys.
Soft toys should be cleaned via a washing machine, using cold water and a gentle cycle. After washing, make sure the toys are dried properly. It is important that these toys are out of reach while they are drying up. Return them to the children only once they’re clean and safe to use.
When it comes to hard-cover books, you can use a slightly damp cloth to clean the covers. It’s important to dust off the pages when you can.
Disinfecting vs. cleaning
If you’re not too familiar with cleaning methods, you may not know the difference between disinfecting and cleaning. Basically, cleaning is the process of removing surface blemishes like dirt, grime, crumbs and dust. Disinfecting, on the other hand, is the process of killing the microscopic bacteria on the surface.
Both processes are important when it comes to cleaning a childcare centre. As a rule of thumb, you should clean surfaces before disinfecting them. This is because dirt and grime tend to hinder the effectiveness of most disinfecting products. Also, cleaning a surface after disinfecting it might introduce new bacteria to the surface again.
As much as possible, you should aim to disinfect areas that are involved in food preparation. This includes sinks, countertops, taps, tables, and microwaves. Ideally, these surfaces should be cleaned twice a day. Once before use and once after use. Of course, if you notice these surfaces getting dirtier than usual (i.e., after a major event), you should disinfect them more frequently.
There you have it, the key things that you need to know about childcare cleaning. It’s important that cleanliness becomes a top priority in childcare settings. Exposure to certain bacteria could cause children to develop serious and sometimes life-threatening illnesses. If you follow the principles above however, you should be able to make an environment that’s safe and healthy for kids to play in.