Child Care Facility Cleaning Guidelines

Child Care Facility Cleaning Guidelines

Today, child care facility cleaning guidelines are more extensive than ever before. While some child care facility cleaning protocols you carry out may be optional and simply for your peace of mind, there are also a number of child care facility cleaning guidelines that are mandated, as child care facilities begin to welcome more children back.

We’ve developed a guide to facility child care cleaning to help you and your team as you navigate the new cleaning and disinfecting requirements.

1. What Are The Differences Between Cleaning And Disinfecting Or Sanitizing

Many people use the words cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting interchangeably, but the fact is that these concepts have different definitions, expectations that directly affect your child care cleaning procedures going forward.

Cleaning Terms Explained:

  • Clean: To clean is to physically remove dirt, germs and debris from a surface by scrubbing, washing and rinsing. Cleaning is done using soap or detergent and water.
  • Sanitize: Sanitization is a little more specific than cleaning, where one applies a product that kills 99.9% of the germs, a claim that can be identified on the label of the product that you are using.
  • Disinfect: There’s even a step up from sanitization. Disinfecting means to apply a disinfectant or disinfecting cleaner that kills nearly 100% of the germs, as is identified on the product’s label.

Now that you know the difference between child care cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting, let’s dive into the areas that you should focus on most when developing and sticking to your child care facility cleaning guidelines.

2. Which Areas You Need To Clean

Certain areas around the child care facility require additional cleaning simply because of the use of the area of the amount of traffic it sees. Some areas include:

  • Diaper changing area
  • Play areas
  • Food areas
  • Bathroom areas

Are there any other areas in a child care facility that you think deserves extra attention during child care facility cleaning?

3. Daily Practices That Matter

Small habits lead to the long-term success of your facility child care cleaning procedures. With this in mind, you can easily see that building hygiene and cleaning routines and daily habits will inevitably contribute to a clean and healthy environment for the team and the children. 

  • Wash your hands often
  • Understand the difference between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting
  • Choose the right products for the job
  • Read, understand and follow instructions for the time between using and rinsing products
  • Never mix products unless the label indicates that it is safe to do so
  • Store products in a locked location that children cannot access; Immediately clean up any spills
  • Vacuum daily
  • Use a hands-free covered trash can in each room

Of course, the best way to approach child care cleaning procedures is by approaching it with a team. Share these tips with your team by posting guidelines in common places and even creating incentive programs.

The daily practices don’t stop with your team, however. It’s important to instill daily hygiene practices for the children at the facility, with a primary focus on hand-washing. Here are some tips that you can teach the kids at your child care facility about when they should clean their hands:

  • After touching one’s mouth or face, blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • After using the washroom.
  • Before eating or preparing food and, ideally, whenever entering a place where food is eaten.

4. How To Clean And Disinfect Surfaces During Covid-19

As you likely know, not every cleaning product and technique works for just any surface, which means that, as part of your child care facility cleaning guidelines, you will need to ensure your cleaning supplies are properly stocked to accommodate the various surfaces in your facility. In addition, this also means that it is important that your child care facility team members and/or cleaning personnel are well-informed on the techniques for proper cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting.

Here’s a breakdown of what you need to do for the common surfaces you will likely find in your child care facility while cleaning.


Soft surfaces

  • Examples include carpeted floor, rugs, drapes and more.
  • Clean the surface using soap and water, or cleaning products that are designed for fabric and/or carpet. You may also want to vacuum, depending on the surface.
  • Disinfect with a household disinfectant


  • Examples include mobile phones, tablets, touch screens, and keyboards.
  • Protect your devices - consider putting a wipeable cover on electronics, especially those with buttons.
  • Since electronics are particularly sensitive to moisture and corrosion, be sure to look up and follow manufacturers’ guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting. If you can’t find this information, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays that contain at least 70% alcohol.
  • Be sure to dry the surface thoroughly after cleaning.


  • Examples include clothing, towels, linens and costumes.
  • Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely. You can be proactive on this step by trying to select items that allow for warm or hot water when washing, which is the ideal setting when cleaning and sanitizing.
  • To keep yourself and the area around you safe, do not shake dirty laundry.
  • This step is often forgotten: clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to the guidance above for surfaces.

Cleaning And Disinfecting Outdoor Areas

  • Examples include playgrounds, sports equipment and areas, doorknobs, gates.
  • Outdoor areas are exposed to the air far more than indoors, making it the secondary focus when it comes to cleaning. Focus on high-touch plastic or metal surfaces when carrying out a normal cleaning routine. As per the CDC, outdoor areas do not require disinfection.

Cleaning And Disinfecting If Someone Is Sick

  • Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from a person who is sick. When finished, remove gloves, and wash hands right away.
  • Dirty laundry from a person who is sick can be washed with other people’s items.
  • If possible, contain areas where the person primarily spent their time and start cleaning your child care facility with high-touch areas first.
  • If possible, open windows and/or doors to increase air circulation.

Our Final Tips

As you develop your child care facility cleaning guidelines, be sure to develop policies that protect your workers and provide adequate training. Additionally, it is crucial that your child care facility cleaning guidelines comply with OSHA’s standards on Bloodborne Pathogens, including proper disposal of regulated waste and PPE.

Are you looking for more child care management information? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Child Care Management.

Our child care management system makes running your child care program simple and efficient. Get back to what's most important. You shouldn't have to spend more time on the administrative tasks than you do with children and staff. 

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Do you run an early childhood association made up of child care providers? If so, check out our Ultimate Guide to Shared Service Alliance.

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