When people think about deep cleaning a school, their thoughts usually turn to Covid-19 prevention. Although the pandemic highlighted the importance of thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting high-traffic buildings such as schools, there are many more contagions to be aware of. Influenza, norovirus, and RSV all have the potential to infect large numbers of people, sweeping through a school and lingering much too long.
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains, it’s vital to clean facilities such as schools regularly. Taking the proper steps to remove and kill dangerous microbes goes a long way toward protecting all the people in the building.
Protecting staff and students from microbes isn’t the only reason to deep clean schools, though. According to one survey, teachers say that students are more successful learners when their school environment is clean. The survey places the impact of clean classrooms right alongside that of the classroom setup—both have an impact on whether students feel safe, comfortable, and ready to learn.
Clearly, schools require regular deep cleaning, and unlike most other public buildings they also have a built-in opportunity to get these vital tasks done during planned closures. Fall break, winter break, spring break, and even long weekends like President’s Day all provide excellent opportunities to give schools the deep cleaning they need.
Prepare ahead of time for a thorough deep cleaning
Have you ever heard the saying, “Well begun is half done”? We can’t promise you that careful preparation will actually get your janitorial staff halfway to the finish line, but not getting ready can certainly make the task longer and more difficult. To make sure you’re ready to hit the ground running, here’s a checklist.
- Inventory the supplies. If you don’t have the right tools on hand, work will grind to a halt. Take a full inventory of everything you will need, such as cleansing solutions, disinfectants, and cleaning tools.
- Determine the areas to be cleaned. It’s a good idea to tour the facility and identify all the locations you want to focus on.
- Break down the tasks to be done. A list of the steps you need to do to complete the job will clarify the size of the project and prepare you for the next step.
- Assign tasks. Make sure everyone has a clear explanation of what they need to do, as well as a timeline for completion. It’s important that the different workers coordinate their efforts for the best outcome. For instance, disinfecting a table before it’s been cleaned is not going to accomplish your goals.
- Make sure the staff is prepared. Proper training will ensure that they will safely use the chemicals involved.
Ready? Here’s How to Get the Job Done
Many schools today choose to hand over deep cleaning tasks to professional teams who will come in with the knowledge, tools, and supplies ready to get the job done efficiently and effectively. If you’re planning your own deep cleaning, here’s a quick guide for working through the major areas of your school.
Note that high-traffic areas require more frequent cleaning, as well as regular disinfecting where possible. As students move from classroom to classroom and engage with daily school life, they touch everything they pass, so it’s important to clean all the areas they come in contact with on a regular basis.
Space by Space: Cleaning Every Major Area
As you move through each part of the school, remember to address both hard and soft surfaces. Surfaces such as counters, door knobs, light switches, desks, tables, lockers and floors need wiped down and disinfected with cleaners that are appropriate for each surface.
It’s easy to overlook key areas that you’re not used to cleaning. Make sure to clean chair and table legs, handrails, the undersides of desks, and any other hard surface that students’ hands can reach.
In addition, soft surfaces such as carpets, rugs, and wall hangings need to be cleaned and vacuumed thoroughly. In some cases, carpets may need to be professionally cleaned or at least spot cleaned with an appropriate disinfectant.
Classrooms, of course, are some of the most high-traffic spaces in a school. Students spend the most time in these rooms, whether it’s one group of students in each room for the entire day or students moving from class to class for different periods.
Both teachers and students engage in all sorts of activities within the walls of their classrooms, and it may be difficult to find a good time to deep clean these spaces properly. School closures offer the perfect opportunity. Dust all surfaces and disinfect any surface that is frequently touched. Consider disinfecting any shared materials as well, such as science tools, the classroom reference book collection, and other items.
Summers and extended breaks are a great time to clean areas in the cafeteria that aren’t accessible during the regular school year. Disinfecting areas where food is normally stored, such as kitchen shelves, fridges, and freezers, can be done during this time. It’s also an excellent time to degrease all surfaces that are difficult to reach when the kitchen is in use.
The eating area is another critical place to focus deep cleaning efforts. Food particles and residue easily collect in the crevices of tables and benches, hidden from view during quick cleanings.
Doors and Windows
Doors and door knobs are known for harboring their own ecosystems of germs from every single hand that comes and goes from a space. Germs on these dry surfaces are constantly transferred to anyone who touches them, and disinfecting them regularly is essential for decreasing the spread of unwanted bacteria.
Unlike doors, windows are usually already cleaned regularly because it’s easy to see streaks and marks. During deep cleanings, the sill, frame, and the wall around the windows should be scrubbed and disinfected as well since these dry surfaces may also be touched frequently.
The floors in high-traffic areas quickly become filthy, scratched, and scuffed. These marks don’t just mar the look of the floors but the floors themselves harbor bacteria that are difficult to remove with regular cleaning. Empty hallways are great opportunities deep clean and buff those areas.
School restrooms are, by necessity, cleaned and disinfected daily. but having extra time to get into all the tough-to-reach corners is an excellent reset of a space notorious for collecting germs.
Disinfecting the fronts of lockers may already be on your school’s regular cleaning schedule, but lockers need to receive a thorough cleaning inside on occasion, as well. This task is best done over the summer when lockers are empty. This is particularly important before the locker gets assigned to a new student.
Ensure an Effective Deep Clean with Professional Help
If all of these steps sound a little overwhelming, there is an easier way. A professional cleaning service is trained and equipped for large buildings with hundreds of people entering daily. They know the importance of having a clean and orderly facility for students and staff.
Professional deep cleaning while the school is closed, combined with routine cleaning, can help keep your school sanitized and safe from the unchecked spread of germs. It also helps support every student’s’ learning and growth, encouraging them to focus on what’s important without distractions.
DTK Facility Services is accustomed to efficiently and effectively handling high-traffic areas in schools. We are committed to integrity, quality and dependability for each client. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you keep your school looking its best.