Summer break for K–12 students may be in full swing, but as those responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of education facilities know, now is the best time to begin preparing for the school year ahead. Proper cleaning in schools is crucial in creating a safe and healthy environment for youth to learn. Not only does it contribute to higher productivity and performance in students, but it also plays a significant role in better attendance rates. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), schools without a major maintenance backlog have a higher average daily attendance by an average of four to five students per 1,000, and a lower annual dropout rate by 10 to 13 students per 1,000.
From classrooms to the cafeteria, many school areas should be prioritized for overall cleanliness, including the restrooms. Consider the following tips as you stock up and prepare your restroom cleaning strategy for the busy school year.
Choose an inventory of cleaning solutions
Having a well-rounded inventory of cleaning solutions is essential for effectively cleaning school restrooms. Stock up on all-purpose cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, hand soap, disinfectants, and glass cleaners. Along with the basics, don’t overlook the importance of choosing the best hand sanitizer. Look for a sanitizer that is safe to use in schools, like a benzalkonium chloride-based product that kills germs and is not flammable.
Train your staff
The right cleaning solutions can only take you so far. Staff training is imperative for the effective and safe use of each cleaning product. Take advantage of the summer break to provide thorough training sessions for your cleaning staff. Make sure they understand proper dilution ratios, application techniques, and safety protocols. Well-trained staff can help maintain a cleaner and healthier environment for students throughout the school year and prevent mishaps that can cause disruptions.
You can develop and implement these training courses yourself or utilize a third party for your training.
Combat restroom odor
Restroom odor is a common problem in schools that can negatively impact the perception of a facility’s overall cleanliness. Fortunately, there are easy ways to combat this issue ahead of time. Stock up on air fresheners and/or neutralizers, deodorizing systems, urinal screens, commode clips, and mats. Practice regular drain maintenance to prevent unpleasant odors from building up. Look for a restroom disinfectant that not only kills germs but also includes odor counteracting additives.
By addressing odor issues proactively, you can create a more pleasant and inviting restroom
environment for students and staff.
Promote hand hygiene
Hand hygiene is a critical aspect of maintaining a healthy school environment. Use the summer months to repair and reinstall broken soap and sanitizer dispensers. To engage and educate students about the importance of hand hygiene, consider using signage that is appealing and easy to understand.
Encouraging proper hand hygiene practices can help reduce the spread of illnesses within the school community—something that became of greater importance during the COVID-19 pandemic and is still emphasized now in the endemic stage.
Maintain a consistent cleaning schedule
Consistency is key when it comes to maintaining clean restrooms. Establish a consistent cleaning schedule that ensures all areas are regularly cleaned and restocked. This often-overlooked aspect can make life easier for all involved and help maintain a consistently clean environment.
Consider using cloud- or app-based software programs that allow you to manage quality assurance, documentation, and inventory tracking from your mobile phone. These tools can streamline operations and provide valuable insights to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
Use the summer wisely
Summer flies by quickly, so take advantage of your school’s empty classrooms—and restrooms—to plan your cleaning strategy, train custodians, and stock up on supplies. Before you know it, school will be back in session, and custodians will be on the run to clean up messes. With preparations in place ahead of time, schools can start the year off on the right foot, ensuring a clean and healthy environment for all.