If you’re planning on opening a daycare, whether it’s a smaller in-home one or a larger on-site one, something that you’re going to need a lot of is good cleaning supplies. Children, as you may already know, are very messy, and every daycare has more than its share of spills, leaks, and messes that need to be cleaned up regularly.
State guidelines may even require a daily cleaning of certain areas, such as tabletops, kitchens, and bathrooms. Other areas may be required to clean weekly or monthly. All that adds up to a lot of cleaning. Luckily there are a few cleaning supplies that can help make that job a little easier.
The 7 must-have daycare cleaning supplies are hand sanitizers, wet wipes, bleach, a dishwasher, a vacuum cleaner, disinfectant spray, and paper towels. Be sure to read all directions on any disinfectant, soap, and other cleaners prior to use to be sure they are safe for children.
Having these supplies, and knowing just how often you need to use them, will make your daycare run more smoothly, and cleanly. Remember to take stock of your cleaning supplies regularly so that you don’t run out at the worst time. Always being prepared for a mess is what keeps a daycare clean.
Probably the most important cleaning supply you can have in a daycare is hand sanitizer. A lot of hand sanitizer. Children tend to touch a lot of things, and they also tend to put their hands into their mouths.
Having hand sanitizer readily available is a must for any daycare. Some areas that should have a bottle of hand sanitizer nearby include:
- Entryway – A good habit to build in all of your children (as well as your staff) is to use the hand sanitizer whenever entering or exiting the daycare. That way, you can mitigate any yucky stuff coming into or going out of your daycare as best you can.
- Kitchen – Some older children may be asked to help in the kitchen, and it’s always a good idea to have them use hand sanitizer before they do anything else. Having them use it before leaving the kitchen area can also help stop the spread of germs.
- Eating Area – Children should always wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before and after they eat. The messiest eaters will probably need to wash up, but even the cleanest eaters should use the hand sanitizer.
- Bathroom – With children, you can never be too safe. Ensure that they always wash their hands AND use sanitizer after they use the bathroom. Using it beforehand probably won’t hurt either.
Wet wipes are a daycare worker’s best friend. Instead of running back and forth for wet paper towels, wet wipes can be used more easily. Conveniently, wet wipes come in small packs that can (and should) be kept in pockets of daycare workers, and larger containers that can be placed around the daycare.
Wet wipes can be used to clean up smaller messes in the kitchen, eating, or play area, and are especially good for those sticky spills. While larger messes may still need paper towels, wet wipes are convenient and don’t cost a fortune. They also are good for wiping a kids’ hands and mouths after meals.
Nothing cleans better than good, old fashioned bleach. A two parts hot water/one part bleach solution can clean and disinfect nearly any item or area, including cubicles, tables, chairs, and plastic toys. Soaking items in a bleach solution can also remove stains. Just be sure to thoroughly wash any items that you soak in bleach before returning them to the child area.
As bleach can be toxic, it is best used after-hours, when all of the children have gone home for the day, or in an area that is out of reach of the kids. Any areas that tend to get messy should be cleaned with a bleach solution at least once a week to sanitize and remove any germs left behind by the normal daily cleaning.
A dishwasher in a daycare has many uses. Not only can it quickly and thoroughly clean any dishes, cups, and utensils used by the children, it can be used to clean toys as well. Be aware what dishwashing soap you use, as some can be harmful for children. However, most today are made to be safe, as well as efficient.
One of the benefits of a dishwasher is that you can set it and forget it, leaving it to do the cleaning while you focus on other things. And, let’s face it, in a daycare there are always other things to be focused on. Dishwashers are a more efficient, and better, way to clean than washing cookware by hand, and it prevents the buildup of dirty dishes in a sink that can grow over time. If you are thinking about opening a daycare, you should seriously look into a good, reliable dishwasher to make your cleaning job that much easier.
A good vacuum cleaner is another necessity for a daycare. It may sound simple, but a hardy vacuum cleaner can do wonders for the cleanliness of your daycare. Vacuums today can even be utilized to clean wet, as well as dry, spills and messes, and will eliminate a majority of the dust and dirt that can accumulate anywhere that humans gather. Especially tiny, messy humans.
Vacuuming should be done either before or after the children arrive or leave, to ensure that you can get all of the areas that you need to. If applicable, use the extension to get to those hard to reach places, such as under equipment or corners of the room. Vacuuming should be done at least once a week to keep dust and dirt from accumulating in your daycare.
While bleach does a great job at disinfecting, it isn’t always appropriate to use, such as when the kids are in the building. For times when you need to quickly sanitize something, a good antibacterial spray, such as Lysol, can be just what you need. Be sure to read all the directions on your can of disinfectant and follow them. Some will have you re-wipe the area with a wet paper towel, others will be fine on their own, and some others will require a longer wait.
Whichever disinfectant cleaner you choose, be sure it is safe for children before use. Once you find one that is, it may just become your new best friend. Spraying communal areas, tables, chairs, and even toys on a consistent basis will keep your daycare as germ free as it can possibly be.
This one may go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: buy lots of paper towels. An average daycare will go through two or three paper towel rolls in one week. Depending on the size of your daycare, it could be even more. Paper towels can be used to wipe up small spills, dry wet hands, clean dirty mouths, and wipe up disinfectant spray.
You don’t need high-end paper towels in your daycare, but you also don’t want cheap ones that don’t do their job. You’ll just end up using more anyway. So buy a good, sturdy brand and keep your daycare stocked up. You’ll be amazed at just how many paper towels you go through in your daycare.
Learn how to make a daycare emergency plan here.
Below is a list of how often items in your daycare should be cleaned. Remember to add additional items that your daycare may have if they aren’t on the list.
Clean After Every Use
- Changing tables
- Tables, before and after meals
- Kitchen and food prep areas, before and after use
- High chairs
- Potty chairs
- Toilet seats and door handles
- Dishes and utensils
- Any toy that a child puts in their mouth
- Nap mats and pillows
- Vacuum floor
- Garbage cans
- Diaper Pail
- Bibs and hand towels
- Any art supplies used
- Sanitize changing tables
- Doorknobs, light switches, cabinet handles
- Walls and windows
- Mats under changing tables
- Any play clothing, rain coats, etc.
- Soft toys and stuffed animals
- Cubbies and shelves
- Books and bookshelf
- Garbage cans, inside and out
- Oven and oven top
- Oven hood
- Food trap in dishwasher
- Dust window blinds, sills, and less used shelves
- Pantry and cabinets
It may seem like a lot of cleaning, and with a daycare, it really is. But also remember that any time spent cleaning can be kept track of and used for tax purposes, because, as we all know, cleaning is working!
Are cleaning supplies tax deductible?
Yes! The majority of cleaning supplies you buy for your daycare are tax deductible in the year that they are purchased. Remember to keep your receipts so that you can accurately deduct the amount used on cleaning supplies. If you use items, such as vacuum cleaners, that were bought prior, they will most likely not be deductible. Only items purchased in that year can be deducted.
How much bleach should I use in cleaning solutions?
Bleach can be a very powerful cleaner, and a small amount of it can go a long way. According to Clorox, ¾ of a cup of bleach in a gallon of water can be used to clean showers, tubs, toilets, floors, and even baby toys. A mixture of 1 tbsp. of bleach in a gallon of water can be used to clean plastic cutting boards, counter tops, stove tops, and even trash cans. Filling a spray bottle with these solutions can provide you a quick and easy way to clean with bleach.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
To learn more on how to start your own daycare checkout my startup course and documents here.