children in daycare center playing with toys

Ultimate Daycare Cleaning Guide All Providers Must Read

As a daycare provider, you wear many hats — educator, caregiver, playmate, and even chef. But one of your most crucial roles is that of a guardian of health and safety.

We’re not talking about preventing liabilities. It goes beyond that. The cleanliness and conduciveness to life of your daycare facility directly impact the little ones’ well-being in your care. You aim to create a safe space where children thrive, learn, and play without the risk of illness and infection.

That’s why we came up with this comprehensive guide to daycare cleaning. It covers everything possible that you have to know about keeping child daycare centers clean, from having a daily toy cleaning checklist to adhering to strict cleaning standards.

We’ll offer practical tips, and effective cleaning times, and recommend cleaning and disinfecting products to help you create a spotless, hygienic facility where children can learn, play, and grow.

image of daycare center room
daycare center toy cleaning schedule and checklist, furniture cleaning, surface cleaning schedule

Additional Cleaning Tasks:

  • Weekly:
    • Wash soft toys and stuffed animals in a washing machine according to care instructions.
    • Disinfect books and shelves with disinfectant wipes or sprays.
    • Clean cubbies inside and out with an all-purpose cleaner
  • Monthly:
    • Deep clean carpets and rugs
    • Wash curtains and blinds as per care instructions
    • Check and clean ventilation systems

Remember: The table presented above is just a guideline. Specific schedules for your daycare center may vary, depending on the number of children, activity type, and any specific regulations in your city.

Disinfecting and sanitizing daycare centers: What’s the difference:

These two terms are often used interchangeably but they couldn’t be more different:

  • Sanitizing refers to the process of reducing the number of germs to a safe level.
  • While Disinfecting refers to the elimination or killing of a broader range of germs.

The EPA has provided a list of registered disinfectants that are available in most stores. Common options include:

  • Bleach solution: A diluted bleach solution is effective and affordable
  • Disinfectant sprays and wipes are convenient and easy to use. Look for ones labeled effective against common childhood illnesses. Clorox Anywhere Hard Surface daily sanitizer or Lysol Disinfecting Wipes are common examples.
  • Commercial disinfectant solutions are often used for larger-scale cleaning and can be more concentrated than household products. Examples are Benefect Botanical Disinfectant or Peroxide Multi Surface Cleaner and Disinfectant by Oxivir.

What to deep clean in a daycare center

Deep cleaning covers areas often overlooked during routine cleaning, such as behind furniture, under appliances, and inside HVAC systems.

Deep cleaning should be done at least twice a year or more frequently if your daycare has high traffic or frequent illness outbreaks. Some areas to focus on include:

  • Carpets
  • Floors
  • Walls and ceilings
  • Windows and blinds
  • Toys and play equipment
  • Shelves
  • Tables
  • Playmats
  • Ceiling fixtures
  • Shoeracks
  • Blackboards

You may well be able to deep clean some of these yourself, but if you aren’t confident cleaning carpets, floors, or walls and ceilings, you can engage the services of a commercial cleaning company.

A step-by-step guide to cleaning flooring in daycare/childcare centers

Before cleaning, gather all necessary supplies and floor cleaning materials like:

  • 1 Broom and dustpan
  • 1 Mop and bucket
  • 1 Floor cleaner designed for the floor type (pH-neutral for vinyl, non-abrasive for tile, etc. There are also lots of all-purpose floor cleaners in the market. Be sure to check the label before applying on a specific area of your flooring)
  • 2-3 Microfiber cloths or mop pads
  • Step 1: Clear the area of any obstacles or obstructions by removing toys, furniture, or clutter from the floor.


  • Step 2: Prepare the surface by sweeping the floor in a wide motion to remove loose dirt, dust, and debris. Begin from the farthest corner of the room and work your way towards the exit, ensuring all areas are covered. Then start dry mopping by using a microfiber pad or a dust mop to effectively trap and remove dust particles. Empty the dustpan or shake out the mop regularly to prevent dirt from spreading back onto the floor.


  • Step 3: Fill a bucket with warm water and add the recommended amount of floor cleaner.


  • Step 4: Start wet mopping by dipping the mop into the cleaning solution. Wring out excess liquid and mop the floor in sections. Rinse the mop frequently in clean water to prevent re-spreading dirt. Change the water in the bucket when it becomes murky or dirty.


  • Step 5: Allow the floor to air dry or dry it with another clean mop or cloth to prevent slips and falls.

For carpeted flooring, gather the following:

  • 1 vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter and various attachments for nooks and crannies
  • Carpet stain remover (optional)
  • Carpet shampooer (for deep cleaning)

Step 1: Clear the area as you would, when cleaning regular flooring.

Step 2: Vacuum the entire carpet and make sure to change attachments as needed to clean corners and edges like baseboards and under furniture.

Step 3: If there are any stains, treat them with a carpet stain remover as per the product instructions.

Step 4: Deep clean (optional) heavily soiled carpets. Use a carpet shampooer to deep clean it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.

Crucial floor cleaning factors to consider:

  • Frequency: Hard floors should be swept and mopped daily, while carpets should be vacuumed daily and deep cleaned periodically, every 3-6 months or more often if needed.


  • Safety: Use caution when cleaning floors around children. Better yet, clean during off-peak hours. Put up wet floor signs or ensure an area is completely dry before allowing children back into the area to prevent slips and falls.


  • Allergies: Choose hypoallergenic and fragrance-free products to minimize the risk of allergies or sensitivities.


  • Ventilation: Open windows or use fans to ensure proper ventilation during and after cleaning.

Key Takeaway

This comprehensive daycare cleaning guide equips you with the know-how to make your facility’s environment healthy and safe for children.

As long as you adhere to proper disinfection and sanitization practices, you can rest assured that you’re doing your part to protect the little ones in your care.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Daycare Centers

Can I use Clorox Wipes on baby toys?

Yes, but you have to rinse the toys thoroughly with water afterwards to remove any residue. But please understand that bleach-based wipes are not the most ideal for frequent cleaning due to their potential to degrade materials over time. 

It is highly suggested to use toy-specific cleaners or diluted bleach solutions as these are much gentler.

How often should bedding be changed in daycare centers?

Crib sheets and blankets should hit the laundry ideally every week. If a child soils the bedding, change it immediately. Ensure everything is thoroughly dried before reuse to prevent mold growth and mildew.

How often should toys be cleaned in a daycare center?

If you haven’t checked our table above, toys need to be cleaned multiple times daily. Of course, this depends on how often they’re used and the type of toys. Toys that are mouthed often or shared frequently should be cleaned and disinfected daily.

Other toys can be cleaned weekly or bi-weekly, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions.

What are the best sanitizing products for daycare centers

Here’s a list of some recommendations for sanitizing products you can safely use to clean a daycare facility:

For cleaning walls:

  • Seventh Generation Free & Clear All-Purpose Cleaner
  • ECOS All-Purpose Cleaner Orange Plus
  • Branch Basics Concentrate
  • Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner
  • Babyganics All-Purpose Surface Spray

For cleaning toys:

  • CleanSmart Toy Disinfectant Spray
  • Dapple Toy & Surface Cleaner
  • Babyganics All-Purpose Surface Wipes
  • The Honest Company Disinfecting Spray
  • Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes
  • Babyganics Floor Cleaner

Flor floors:

  • Bona Free & Simple Hardwood Floor Cleaner
  • ECOS All-Purpose Floor Cleaner
  • Pine-Sol Multi-Surface Cleaner
  • Babyganics Floor Cleaner
  • Better Life Naturally Dirt-Destroying Floor Cleaner

For high-touch surfaces:

  • Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
  • Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Spray
  • Lysol Disinfectant Spray
  • Seventh Generation Disinfecting Spray
  • Force of Nature Disinfectant Starter Kit

Remember: Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using cleaning and disinfecting products. Some products may require dwell time (the time the disinfectant needs to remain wet on the surface to be effective), and others may be incompatible with certain materials. It’s also a good practice to wear gloves and ensure adequate ventilation when using cleaning products.

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