It’s a good thing we cannot see bacteria if not you’d freak out knowing how much you’re putting those little ones at risk for viruses and diseases.

Sometimes you miss a spot when cleaning the entire daycare centre. Oftentimes, the surface you just cleaned is still ridden of germs and bacteria! Get ready to discover some shockingly germy places in your childcare centre – and how to clean and disinfect them.

  1. Clean Laundry

In a childcare centre, it’s not surprising that someone accidentally poops in their pants and you have to clean them up. 

So what happens to their dirty clothes? Chances are, you’re going to wash them. 

A load of regular underwear (or any kind of soiled clothing for that matter), will transfer at least 100 million E. coli bacteria —the culprit behind diarrhea—to the washing machine. That becomes a breeding ground to contaminate other clothing, cloths and linen. 

What you originally thought was a clean set of clothing has now been “cleaned” visibly, but there’s bacteria clinging on to them. And then when you place them somewhere else in your centre, the bacteria spreads. 

It gets worse…if you use a front-loading machine, water settles at the bottom and creates the moist environment bacteria colonies love. With every clothing you put in, more bacteria spreads

Clean it: Disinfect your machine by washing a batch of white coloured linen with bleach first, or clean your washer with bleach at least once a month. You can do so by pouring about two cups of bleach into the detergent compartment. Then let the machine run empty on the hottest cycle before wiping dry the interior spinner and surfaces. Finally, leave the door open to air.

To avoid spreading bacteria to other clothing, soak the underwear or soiled linen (whether it’s poop, vomit, dirt etc) separately in a small basin with hot water and a color-safe bleach replacement.

2. The Teachers’ Table

When British researchers studied 25 handbags, they found that the average handbag is three times dirtier than a public toilet seat. And in the bag, hand and face creams were the dirtiest, along with lipstick and gloss, which are sometimes applied at the teacher’s table. 

Men come into contact with handbags all the time too. On public transport, it’s inevitable to brush against someone’s handbag and have the bacteria transferred on the clothing. And guess where the teacher sits? 

That’s right, at the teacher’s table; transferring the germs again.

Clean it: Keep your bags off the ground, give the bags a wipedown every now and then with disinfectant wipes, or if they’re made of cloth, wash them when possible. When rummaging through the handbag (like when trying to find a tissue pack or wet wipes), try to ensure your hands are not overly oily and grimy. 

For the teacher’s table, clear the table often and get rid of unnecessary junk items (or food wrappers). Then wipe it with disinfectant spray at least once a month. 

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3. Dish Sponges and Rags

In a study by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), 86% of sponges had mold and yeast, 77% contained coliform bacteria and 18% were filled with staph bacteria.

Although most thought the bathrooms were the germiest places in the house, it turned out that the kitchen was actually worse! In fact, dish sponges or dish rags are the filthiest in the entire house. That includes your childcare centre too.

Because these pieces are so absorbent, they are practically always moist (often with tiny remnants of food particles left); making it a superb environment for tiny destructive bacteria to grow. And when they come in contact with plates and utensils that you give to children, the chances of them falling ill is extremely high! 

Cleaning tip: Microwave wet sponges once a day for 30 – 45 seconds to kill the germs, and replace the sponges at least once every two weeks. If you use a rag, soak them in hot boiling water every couple of days. 

It would be even better if you used different colored rags for different uses. Maybe the white rags for tabletops, a blue rag for the plates, a yellow rag for wiping around the pantry, you get the idea. You don’t want someone cleaning the floor with that same rag that you wipe you plates with

4. Kitchen/pantry sink

Since we are on the topic of the pantry area, coming in close behind on the places with the most germs is the kitchen sink. In the same NSF study, 45 percent of sinks tested positive for coliform bacteria, while 27 percent contained molds.

If you dropped a piece of fruit on your toilet floor, would you think twice about popping it in your mouth? But you wouldn’t think twice if you dropped it in your germ-filled sink? 

Food particles left in the sink’s strainer or on the tabletop, left from the underside of dirty plates, can serve as a breeding ground for illness-causing bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella. They easily get onto your hands and clothes before you tend to children…

Cleaning tip: Clean the sides and bottom of the sink twice a week. Once a month, pour a solution of one teaspoon bleach per one quart of water down the drain. Don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly with soap after that!

5. Bathroom Air

Did you know that even though you flush your toilet, bacteria can be released into your bathroom?

When you hold down on the blush button, the water creates a swirl and splash, sending potentially infectious bugs flying into the air and floating to places they shouldn’t be. Some of the bugs remain in the air as droplets and the others settle on surfaces. It can send the bacteria flying up to 25cm above the toilet seat, a lot of them landing on your clothes.

That’s another important reason to encourage children to wash their hands properly after using the toilet!

Cleaning tip: The best way to avoid nasty germs being released into the bathroom is to close the lid when you flush. Wipe down the toilet seat and seat cover with sanitizers at the end of the day. 

It’s highly recommended to also perform routine misting not just in the toilet but also in other parts of your childcare centre since your clothes are carrying them to other rooms. 

The purpose of misting is to create and disperse a disinfectant aerosol to reduce the numbers of airborne micro-organisms and also to apply disinfectant to surfaces that may be difficult to reach. 

Protecting Yourself from Germs

Protect yourself and your students by keeping your hands clean. Your hands transfer bacteria and viruses to your eyes, nose, and mouth. They can also transfer germs to others.

Routine cleaning and sanitizing is highly recommeded to prevent excessive build up of bacteria colonies and getting attacked when you least expect it. We can help with that. Talk to us and we can get your centre protected. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

5 Little Known Places In Your Childcare Centre With The Most Germs

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