It’s 8pm on a Tuesday evening, just a few days after your Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) outbreak announcement.

You are alone in an empty classroom, squatting with your head tucked under some tables, sweat trickling down your temples…as you do the first round of cleaning.

Tomorrow you and other staff members will be coming in to clean again, in a desperate attempt to remove whatever germs you can remove. 

You think to yourself, there must be a better way to disinfect right? And what could you have done to prevent this whole saga?

Before we begin, let’s cover the basics of how the disease comes about…

How Does It Spread?

The most common cause of HFMD is infection with the Coxsackievirus. There are strains of A16, CA5 and CA10. The HFMD can spread many ways, including:

  • Touching someone else’ dirty hands
  • changing soiled diapers/ underwear
  • through contaminated water and food
  • through microorganisms floating in the air (released during a cough or sneeze)
  • on contaminated surfaces
  • through contact with a sick person’s body fluids (mucus, saliva, blister fluid etc)

When children come into contact with germs, they can become infected just by touching their eyes, nose, or mouth (which they often do). And once they’re infected, it’s usually just a matter of time before your entire kindergarten, childcare centre or preschool…and even their entire family comes down with the same illness.

So don’t underestimate the power of good hygiene and proper hand washing techniques! The extra couple of seconds you encourage your children to spend at the sink could save them a whole lot of suffering.

Here is a checklist of the 5 common areas that you should disinfect regularly, especially after a HFMD case:

  1. Bathrooms
  2. Mattresses/sleeping cots
  3. Toys 
  4. High-touch surfaces
  5. Waste baskets

This task can be overwhelming, but it is a necessity. Follow the 6-Step Disinfection Process and by the time you finish, you’ll have a childcare centre full of clean, germ-free objects. Let’s get cracking!

Equipment You Will Need:

  • Rubber Gloves (to be disposed after use)
  • Apron (to be disposed after use)
  • Boots
  • Clean Spray Bottle (as many as you need)
  • Antibacterial Soap
  • Hot Water
  • Clean, thick towels (for drying)
  • Disinfectant solution
  • Washing Machine
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Bleach
  • Dryer

Highly Recommended:

  • Disinfectant Wipes
  • Steam Cleaner
  • Vacuum Cleaner


  • Surgical Mask
  • Hair Net

Step 1 – Ventilate

The smell of cleaning/disinfectant solutions might be strong. To help make your breathing a little easier and your cleaning less dreadful, ventilate the area or rooms being cleaned. If there is no window, leave the doors open to let fresh air enter and stale air to exit. 

Step 2 – Wear Personal Protection Equipment

Cover yourself up! Hair net, mask, gloves, boots, check.

You already know the pesky HFMD virus is around, not forgetting the other bacteria and microbes hanging around. The last thing you want is to contract the virus and bring it back to your own home!

Step 3 – Prepare Disinfectant Solutions

A commercial disinfectant is recommended, rather than homemade disinfectant solutions. However if commercial disinfectant is unavailable, bleach solution would be the next best alternative.

Bleach solution is one of the more common methods used when carrying out terminal disinfection. This is the recommended disinfection procedure for bleaching by the Singapore Ministry Of Health (MOH).

Excrement soiled surface 1 part bleach* to 10 parts cool water Strong
General Surface 1 part bleach* to 50 parts cool water Normal
Surfaces on contact with food/mouth 1 part bleach* to 250 parts cool water Weak

*Domestic bleach (5.25% sodium hypocholrite) 

Read also: 6 Things That Are Naturally Anti-Bacterial To Safely Disinfect Your Learning Centre

Step 4 – Remove Fabrics and Send for Washing

This might sound like a given, but it’s just a friendly reminder. Fabrics are home to many bacteria colonies and there are so many places to hide!

To combat this, soak all bed sheets and pillowcases, towels, clothing in hot water of at least 60 Degrees Celsius. Even if you have clean garments tucked away in your centre, take them out and give them a good clean again.

Wash them in a disinfected washing machine or send them for a sanitizing laundry service.

By the way, did you know that even clean laundry can harbour germs? 

Step 5 – Clean all surfaces

In serious times like these, you want to completely eradicate all germs, bacteria, viruses, mold and fungus that’s lying around. 

If you don’t have access to a steam cleaner, use this 4 step process:

  1. Mix antibacterial soap with hot water
  2. Dip all toys or wipe all surfaces with soapy water
  3. Spray each surface with the bleach solution and let them air dry
  4. Once dry, soak them in hot water again so that if children put objects in their mouth, it would be safe for them. 

Don’t forget these locations too!

  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Rooms
  • Upholstery and mattresses
  • Curtains and carpets
  • Glass and mirrors
  • Windows, screens, sliding glass doors
  • Floors and tiles
  • Ceramic and metal fixtures
  • Cracks and crevices

 Step 6: Steam Clean / Vacuum

Steam cleaning is the most effective way to disinfect your childcare centre. With a steady stream of water vapour, they have the ability to penetrate a surface’s pores to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria in just 15 seconds!

Just point, hover and disinfection is complete. 

This makes it a safe, healthy, quick and eco-friendly way to clean your centre from top to bottom. 

If you have no access to a steam cleaner you can use a vacuum cleaner. It would be great if you had a high performing vacuum cleaner. Oh and just a heads up, you’ll have to disinfect your vacuum cleaner again after you’re done.

Optional Step: Misting

Misting with a chemical sprayer is an effective way to disperse sanitizing chemicals. 

It quickly delivers disinfectant to large surface areas as well as to hard-to-reach corners and crevices, all-the-while providing better coverage than using the traditional spray/wipe method of cleaning. This helps reduce flu viruses, bacteria and mold on surfaces that can otherwise be difficult to reach.

Other than that, misting kills airborne bacteria too. The air is a commonly overlooked place, but it’s all around us. With particles floating everywhere, it’s best that they are killed before they land back on your just-cleaned surfaces.

Iin general, misting requires far less effort on your part and more effectiveness to ensure that your childcare centre is totally safe for operation again.

If you would like additional disinfecting help, our professional cleaners are here for you. We have all the necessary equipment to conduct a full disinfecting procedure to ensure your centre is properly covered. 

How To Sanitize Your Centre During HFMD Outbreak (Plus Equipment Checklist)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *