How to Keep Your Classroom Clean
Imagine a well-lit classroom with fresh air. All that stands between you and this ideal classroom may be some regular cleaning! A clean classroom can help increase students’ morale, and it can count as some exercise for you. You can even involve students in cleaning the classroom so they learn about the positive effects of being responsible for their environment.
Students deserve to feel safe, comfortable and relaxed while they learn in your classroom. Cleaning is a great way to work towards an environment that allows these feelings to grow in your students.
This article looks at why classroom cleaning is essential, what you should be cleaning in your classroom, tips for keeping a clean classroom and where you can get your cleaning supplies!
Why Classroom Cleaning Is Important
Classroom cleaning can have a positive effect on students in many ways. While students may not say that they’d rather learn in a clean environment, keeping a classroom clean can reduce the consequences of learning in a dirty environment. The following are important features of a classroom you should keep clean and in proper working order:
It’s essential to keep ample lighting in your classroom. Ample lighting can positively affect your students’ mood and keep their eyes from straining while they work. This boost in mood and lack of eye-straining can lead your students to perform better on tests and other schoolwork. One way to ensure there is enough light in your classroom is to keep any lights clear of dirt and dust. You can do this with regular cleaning.
Good airflow in your classroom can prevent students from feeling too drowsy to focus on their schoolwork. It can also protect them from dust and dirt circulating through the air, causing them respiratory complications or increasing the communicability of a virus that may be present. Keep air conditioning units, vents and air filters clear of dust and dirt to ensure your students benefit from good airflow in the classroom.
Ensuring that your students learn in a clean environment is essential to protecting them from increased absenteeism, lower test scores and reduced morale.
Classroom Cleaning Checklists
There are various simple ways you can keep your classroom a clean and healthy environment. For example, you can keep hand sanitizer, tissues and disinfecting wipes on hand and use no-touch trash cans to limit the spread of germs. Most importantly, encourage your students to stay home if they feel sick.
Need help figuring out what you should clean and how often you should clean it? Try these clean classroom checklists:
Be sure to handle these cleaning tasks every day:
- Pick up waste
- Wipe down student and teacher desks
- Wipe doorknobs, light switches, pencil sharpeners, remotes and sink faucets
- Sweep floors
- Put all items in their designated places
- Wipe down hard nonporous surfaces
These are the things you should clean once a week:
- Clean touchpoints on devices
- Dust hard surfaces
- Mop or vacuum floors
- Tidy teacher desk and workstations
- Clean whiteboards and chalkboards
- Scrub and dry classroom sinks
- Wipe down chairs with disinfecting wipes
- Order bookshelves and book baskets
- Unplug and clean keyboards
Take care of these cleaning tasks once per month:
- Wipe down and disinfect wastebaskets with disinfecting wipes
- Wipe down nonporous cabinets and shelves with disinfecting wipes
- Wipe down any classroom appliances or electronics
- Toss expired perishables
- Dust or clean blinds and window coverings
- Dust ceiling fans and vents
Every Six Months
Clean these items at least twice each year:
- Clean windows
- Clean and descale coffee maker
- Clean mini fridge and mini microwave
- Clean baseboards and moldings
Once per year, clean these items:
- Wash walls
- Take all books out of shelves and clean shelving
- Empty and clean inside of all desks
- Empty and clean inside of all cabinets and cubbies
- Wash window screens
15 Tips for a Clean Classroom
Beyond keeping up with cleaning checklists, there are many other small ways you can keep your classroom a healthy place for your students to learn in. Here are our top tips for keeping your classroom clean:
1. Educate Your Students About Cleanliness
Educate your students about handwashing. Let them know to wash between their fingers and under their nails to keep those germs away. Educate your students about what germs are and how they spread. Make it one of your first science lessons! Then, students will better understand why it’s important to keep their classroom clean and everyone in it healthy.
Create diagrams for what a clean desk or a clean classroom might look like. This will help your students visualize how they should leave the classroom at the end of the day. You can even hang up pictures of your particular classroom when it looks clean and tidied up.
2. Get Supplies
Stock up on tissues, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. You will likely use these items every day. You can even tie a full tissue box and an empty tissue box together to have a place for your students to dispose of their used tissues easily.
Distribute cleaning supplies throughout the classroom. For example, keep trash cans under each table or a collection of desks. Kids may not think about cleaning up while they work, so keep a small bin for trash by each table or collection of desks that students can empty into a larger trash or recycling bin at the end of the day. Create clear rules for what can and cannot go in these bins.
If you’re wondering how to clean keyboards that have dust and dirt stuck in their grooves, try sticky notes. Even small pieces of dust and debris will adhere to sticky notes, making them a great way to clean out that debris. As a bonus, kids will likely have fun with this cleaning activity as well.
Essential oils smell nice, and some of them can also have a calming effect, such as lavender oil. Tape a cotton ball with your choice of essential oil to the back of your classroom fan, and the air in your classroom will smell as lovely when you’re done cleaning.
3. Clean Special Items
Clean off keyboards, writing utensils and chairs every day. If not sanitized, these high-touch items can pass germs to many students each day. Keep hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes nearby so you and your students can access them quickly and easily when you need them. You can always come back to the checklists for more information on what exactly should be cleaned in your classroom and when.
Shaving cream is a fun way to get your students involved in cleaning. Spray each children’s desk with shaving cream, and let them trace letters, numbers or pictures onto their desks. Once the shaving cream begins to dry out, have everyone rinse their hands and wipe off their desks with a damp rag.
Have a lot of chalk dust in the air of your classroom? It may be because there is excess chalk on your chalkboard. Wipe down your chalkboard with a damp sponge to get rid of excess chalk dust.
Glitter spills are easy to clean up if you have play dough handy. Just roll the play dough across the spill and watch the magic.
If you notice a group of particular items that need more than a wipe down, collect them in a bin or mesh laundry bag throughout the day and take them home for a more thorough cleaning if necessary.
If all of your students are in charge of wiping down surfaces at the end of each day, consider holding a dirtiest rag contest and give the student with the dirtiest rag a small prize when cleaning time is over.
What happens if a permanent marker gets on different surfaces in your classroom? Try these cleaning tips:
- If the permanent marker is on you or a student’s clothing, use hand sanitizer to get it off.
- If you find permanent marker on the walls of your classroom, use toothpaste and hairspray to clean it away.
- Rubbing alcohol is a great way to get permanent marker off of any wood surfaces.
- For carpet that has permanent marker, use white vinegar to clean it up.
- For furniture with permanent marker on it, use milk to get it off.
- If the permanent marker is on your whiteboard, clean it off with a dry erase marker or a rubber eraser.
- If you find permanent marker on ceramic or glass, make a paste of one part toothpaste and one part baking soda.
4. Discuss Tips for Staying Healthy
Discuss how students can stay healthy. Mention things like getting enough sleep and staying hydrated. This will lead to better health among your students and fewer viruses circulating in your classroom.
Let parents know that it’s best if their children stay home when they’re feeling sick and that you’ve set up a system so they won’t fall behind in school. Remind your students to cough or sneeze into the crook of their elbow rather than into the air or into their hands.
Make sure it’s a part of your everyday routine to have students wash their hands before and after lunch and after recess. You can even incorporate hand sanitizer into your routine in a fun way if you use a bottle of hand sanitizer as your bathroom pass. That way, your students will have an extra reminder to clean their hands when they finish using the restroom.
Keep personal items, such as hats, in plastic slider bags to avoid lice breakouts.
5. Keep Your Classroom Updated
Remove old art projects from your classroom every month. You don’t want your student’s art projects to start collecting dust and germs. If students don’t want to take their projects home, recycle what you can.
Throw away any aged materials that you may have inherited from the previous teacher who used your classroom. You never know how long these items have been sitting around and storing germs.
Ditch the communal pencil sharpener that everyone touches, and instead, keep plenty of mechanical pencils on hand for students who may need to borrow them. Be sure to wipe down borrowed pencils at the end of the day.
6. Keep Your Food Sealed Tight
Make sure you store any food brought into the classroom in sealed containers so your food doesn’t attract pests or get contaminated.
7. Let Your Air Flow
Don’t block air vents with posters, furniture or other items. Air vents supply your classroom with clean air, and blocking them can make your classroom stuffy and stale. If your classroom is dusty despite you cleaning it regularly, there may be a problem with your air vents. In that case, speak to your maintenance staff about resolving the problem.
8. Remove Soft Materials
Soft surfaces like couches and carpets are comfortable but can also be a breeding ground for germs. Replace these items with ones made of materials that are easier to clean, such as vinyl. If you have a cozy reading area, keep in mind that soft materials like stuffed animals and pillows are prime spots for dust mites, germs and allergens to gather. Removing materials like this from your room can help students with allergies and make it easier for you to maneuver brooms and vacuums in your classroom.
9. Make Cleaning Fun
Make a game out of cleaning up by coming up with a fun cleaning mantra or song that you and your students can use during cleaning time to boost the students’ positive feelings around cleaning.
You can also make being a part of the daily classroom cleanup crew fun! If students get chosen for the cleanup crew at the end of the day, reward them with a small piece of candy once they finish cleaning. You can change these crews weekly or monthly. You could also involve every student in the cleanup crew every day and assign them to particular tasks across the classroom. For example, a few students could be on desk wiping duty while others might pick up stray trash from the floor.
Consider rewarding the student who has the cleanest desk at the end of the day. This reward can be as simple as a sticker.
Get Your Cleaning Supplies at the Classroom Store
We have all the supplies you’ll need for your classroom in stock at the Classroom Store. In addition to cleaning supplies, we also sell products in the following categories:
- Art materials
- Classroom materials
- Office supplies
- Special needs resources
- STEM and STEAM resources
- Early learning resources
If you’re looking for particular items, you can shop with us by brand and by grade. You can even shop with us online or in person, depending on what’s easiest for you. Want to learn more about us? Check out our blog or contact us online or by phone at (844) 818-5966.