Over one-third of all under five-year-olds in Australia use some form of licensed child care, so ensuring your environment is healthy and safe is essential for protecting their physical and mental health. With every surface of your play area and lunchroom being assaulted on a daily basis, we’ve listed some important tips to help keep your childcare centre clean and hygienic.
Choose cleaning products that are safe for children
It goes without saying, but cleaning products and disinfectants need to be used carefully in childcare settings. Many of them contain ingredients that can irritate the eyes, skin, nose and throat and can be poisonous if swallowed. A commercial cleaning company should be able to recommend the best products for you to use, but always read the labels yourself and double-check if any children have a history of complications with certain products or chemicals.
Common cleaning supplies for childcare centres include:
• Mops and buckets
• Bin bags
• Vacuum cleaners
• Microfibre cloths
• Paper towels
• Laundry detergent
• Washing-up liquid
• Dishwasher tablets
• Hand sanitiser
When buying cleaning products for your childcare centre, avoid any items which are labelled as dangerous or corrosive.
Clean up spills or accidents immediately
Spills should be cleaned up straight away to prevent the build-up and spread of germs. If you have used paper towels, make sure these are removed safely and placed in a waste bin. Mops should also be rinsed in a solution of hot water and detergent and allowed to dry out fully before being used again. Remove any contaminated clothing from the child, place it in a sealed bag and give it to the parent to take home.
Place soiled items in a container
It’s not always possible to clean toys straightaway, so having a container to store items in until they can be washed is a handy tip. This might include toys which have been chewed, paintbrushes and trays and any other stationery items.
Follow government health and safety guidelines
The NQF is a national system for the quality assessment and regulation of child care services. Making sure you comply with these regulations guarantees your centre is a healthy environment for kids to be in.
The main areas to clean
Ideally, surfaces and play equipment should be cleaned after every use and sanitised at the end of each day. Childcare centres are breeding grounds for germs, so doing your best to limit cross-contamination between children is important.
Soft toys, blankets, mats and sheets should be washed once a week as a minimum. Toys which can be wiped clean should be disinfected regularly or even placed in a dishwasher.
Nappy changing areas
Gastrointestinal illnesses are easily spread in day care centres and can cause diarrhoea and dehydration, so make sure all nappy changing areas are disinfected between each use.
Mealtimes are messy with young kids, so tables, chairs and high-chair trays will need to be wiped down quickly between sittings to ensure everyone is fed on a clean and hygienic surface. However, at the end of each mealtime, be sure to give food areas and preparation surfaces a more thorough clean to reduce the spread of bacteria.
Bathrooms and kitchens
At the end of each day, all toilets, sinks, taps, doorknobs and light switches need to be disinfected. In the kitchen, make sure fridge handles, stools, counters and dirty dishes have all been cleaned and bins have been emptied. Most day care centres will hire commercial or contract cleaners to handle this for them.
Entrances and office desks
As well as door handles, light switches and floors, don’t forget about phones, keyboards and any stationery your staff use on a regular basis.
Looking after young children is a tiring job, so to ensure your childcare centre is cleaned properly at the end of each day, you may decide to enlist the help of a commercial cleaning company. Not only do contract cleaners know the best products to use in childcare settings, but they will also ensure you comply with all the relevant standards and regulations.
For more information about cleaning supplies and products for your childcare setting, contact us at Apex Cleaning Supplies today.