If you’re constantly battling against a seemingly non-ending war of unwanted dirtiness in your teaching environment, then you must have been dreaming of a quick guide to a fresh and clean classroom, if ever it exists.
A clean classroom can have a huge impact on learning. In fact, it reduces absenteeism, especially for students with allergies. Not only does it look nicer, but it boosts the morale of both teachers and students.
You probably have done everything you can think of yet the effort seems unsatisfactory. So I’ve thought of summarizing some techniques to help improve your classroom cleaning routine. From organizing the children’s classroom supplies to deodorizing the floor, all you need is to upgrade your approach and accomplish all your cleaning tasks easier.
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Clutter is every classroom’s biggest problem. It’s hard to concentrate on your lecturing and managing the entire class when clutter is all around you. Scrutinize your stuff and look for what’s not in their right places. Begin with things that you can see: tables, chairs, bookshelves, countertops, and even your own drawer.
Pick up scattering books, folders, art supplies, bags, toys, shoes, or the children’s water bottles and then put them back to where they should be. Freeing your spaces from all these clutters already creates a space of fresh air. If you have been doing this, you feel a big relief in an instant, right?
If you’re planning to bring new items into the classroom, avoid the temptation of bringing them into the scene until the decluttering course is complete.
Be tricky. Make it a fun rule for your class to return all items back to their own places, every after use. It’s good training for children.
Give a place for everything
There’s nothing like finding test papers, activity notes, folders, and small items quickly and easily when you need them. This is the power of organizing — you are getting a very special place for each item classification.
Why not allocate colorful envelopes for each student’s Humpty-dumpty items like cut-out colored papers, broken crayons, or pencils? This should include any spontaneous paraphernalia that usually builds clutter so fast. That way, you can ask each child to discard everything they don’t need at the end of the week.
Have you tried improvising an “everything basket?” I personally have been doing this “everything tray” practice which I find extremely beneficial in settling off-the-cuff items in one place. Every weekend or whenever I get the time, I sort them out and empty the basket.
Books on the shelves, crayons, and pens on their holders, toys on the toy box, and bags in one area – are so lovely to behold.
Make it a fun routine by assigning the class group assignments. The girls can gather all loitering supplies and return them to their places. The boys can be assigned to straighten desks, chairs, tables, bags, and anything else that blocks the way.
This can be a fun activity that disciplines and trains them to quickly do their tasks without the need for you to tell them. The children can bring these fun organizing ideas at home.
Clean Dust Properly
Don’t underestimate those tiny flecks floating around your classroom. These are pops of air coming from shoe dust, carpet fluff (if you have a rug in the room) clothing fibers, or maybe animal dander. Imagine how many people are going in and out of the classroom, so filth can easily accumulate.
When these pollutants collect and sit deeply into every corner of the room, the odor starts. Therefore the best solution is to keep out as much dust as possible particularly on corners.
Damp a microfiber cloth and dust all surfaces. Old-fashioned feather dusters are fun, but be careful as dust particles will simply fall out of the feathers, float in the air, and return to the surfaces.
Why does your cleaning rug stink?
The cause of pungent odors in your dried rugs is because they have been poorly-washed. Damping it unwashed for use again will scatter the odor around the classroom giving you a foul smell lingering around. Ever noticed that?
Collecting microfiber cloths will allow you to polish tables and chairs, wooden items, picture frames, and almost everything inside your classroom.
Furniture. Sometimes, you forget to hit areas like fans (if you have one), picture casings, back and side of boards, window panes, cabinet tops, and even doors.
Books: You know these items are good at gathering up dust. Dust off using a soft paintbrush. Once in a while, include cleaning the insides of books by opening and gently shaking the pages. You may need a vacuum cleaner to dust off quickly, including the bookcase, if you have to deal with more books.
Floor: Fresh floor feels so good! If you make mopping a part of your cleaning liturgy, you get a well-maintained floor that looks unblemished. Sweeping alone gives dust the chance to kick dust particles right back into the floor.
The trick is to mop the floor at least twice a week paying attention to high-traffic areas like the entryway. If you can mop as often as possible, all the better.
Make Sure to Sanitize
Double clean any shared objects in the room like keyboards and mice, crayons and pencil sharpener, books, shared electronics, chairs, lockers, light switches, doorknobs, and other common activity items.
Sanitize your rugs. If not sanitized, there is a big chance that germs can be passed to many students each day. Even soap and water helps a lot. Washing all your cleaning rugs removes dirt and most germs. You can also opt for green cleaners that are certified organic or safe for classroom use.
Stock your room with sanitizing supplies like tissues, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and alcohol that come in handy every school day. But ensure safety for your students all the time. See to it that you store all cleaning and disinfection materials out of the reach of students.
Vacuum Classroom Rugs if possible
Carpets not only catch dust and dirt but absorb odor. While it looks like your carpets are clean, reality says that they quickly gather dust and soil. You definitely don’t just want your carpet to look clean, you want it to smell clean too.
Do you shake all mats in your classroom – every day? Make it a habit to clean with a hand-vac. The vacuum is the best approach. Another option is to wash them with laundry detergent once or twice a week. This is one of the most effective ways to reduce dust and encourage a clean-smelling classroom.
You’ll have the confidence that your rugs are cleaner for longer. The lesser dust the better it smells.
Deal with waste responsibly
Is there any way for waste or garbage can to smell fresh? Well, in the essence of it – the best approach is to lessen the cause of the odor. How? Practice waste management. This is a good opportunity to teach proper waste segregation to your students.
I found some proven tricks to stop unpleasant garbage can smells:
- Fill a coffee filter with baking soda and secure the top. Place the packet at the bottom of the trash can.
- Try layering dryer sheets at the bottom of the can. This will help control the smell.
- Layering newspaper at the bottom of the trash also helps absorb smelly drippings.
- Trash cans should be cleaned or soaked in water and soap once in a while. Sanitize then dry thoroughly before putting a new bag in it.
A few quick advice
A clean and organized classroom is up to the teacher in charge. Putting into practice the suggestions above will help you get a classroom that’s spic ‘n span right from the start.
Apply what you’re teaching. Your students would love to hear about the consequences of not cleaning after themselves and how the classroom becomes a messy place for learning. Make it an interesting approach to include lessons in cleaning.
Everybody loves a clean environment. Once your students see and understand the outcomes of a classroom that feels and smells unhealthy, they will love the idea of leaving the classroom clean so that they can come back to a pristine room the next day.
I hope the suggestions above will help you maintain a clean and fresh classroom every day.
Do you have anything to add or share? It will surely benefit many teachers and students. Leave them in the comments.