The Essential Classroom Cleaning Checklist

Classrooms are the epicenter of learning; the place where young minds are molded into the great thinkers of tomorrow. They are also one of the most dirt-ridden places, harboring an unimaginably high concentration of germs, grime and viruses due to the high level of human traffic and shared space. With student’s hands averaging 1,200 aerobic bacteria per square inch1, it’s no surprise that classrooms are in constant need of deep-cleaning. Luckily, there are periodic cleaning activities that students, staff and teachers can perform to keep the never-ending tide of germs and grime to a minimum.

Follow this classroom cleaning checklist to cut down the amount of harmful bacteria and dirt in your school’s learning spaces to ensure a healthy experience for students and teachers alike. If you’re still having trouble keeping your classroom clean, it may be time to contact a commercial cleaning company for their services. 

Classroom Cleaning Checklist

  1. Disinfect Desks and Shared Surfaces
  2. Dust Cabinets and Bookshelves
  3. Vacuum Carpeted Floors and Mop Laminate Floors
  4. Empty Trash Receptacles Regularly
  5. Clean and Dry Sinks and Surrounding Areas Daily
  6. Wipe Down Doorknobs and Other Common Touch Points Daily

With students and staff spending a majority of their time at desks and using shared surfaces like countertops, these places are going to be among the dirtiest in the classroom. Aside from counters and student desks, classrooms that contain shared keyboards and other technology should be cleaned thoroughly; in fact, keyboards harbor roughly 20,000 times more bacteria than a public toilet seat2.

Desks and countertops should be wiped down with a clean towel and non-toxic disinfectants. Keyboards should be unplugged and sprayed between keys with compressed air to dislodge crumbs and other debris. Use a cotton swab or towel with a small amount of rubbing alcohol to clean individual keys.

Dust bookshelves and seldom-accessed cabinet tops with a microfiber cloth or moist towel to trap the dust, as opposed to reintroducing it to the classroom’s air and having it accumulate somewhere else. Any dust that is knocked free will be subsequently vacuumed up when moving onto the next step.

Carpets can hold four times their weight in dirt3, and with an active body of students constantly dragging in more from outside, vacuuming is crucially important for a clean classroom. Before vacuuming, open any windows if applicable, as vacuuming can kick up dirt and pollen buried deep in the carpet’s fibers. Run the vacuum in vertical rows, twice. This ensures that deep seated dirt and pollen are pulled from the base of the carpet fibers and into the vacuum bag to be disposed of later.

If a classroom’s floors are laminate, mix equal parts water and non-toxic floor cleaner, and mop back and forth starting from one corner of the room and working your way to the opposite corner. Allow the floor to dry before reassessing and cleaning any stubborn grime that didn’t come out with the first mopping. For stubborn stains on laminate flooring, mix equal parts white vinegar and water, dampen a clean mop and mop the stain or dirt vigorously.

Trash bins next to teacher’s desks and general ones used by students should be emptied periodically in order to reduce odors and prevent overflowing. If a classroom contains a sink or wash basin, use non-toxic disinfectant and a moist towel or rag to give it a good wipe down daily, to curb the accumulation of germs and grime. Drying the sink afterward will also prevent mold or mildew from building up.

Doorknobs and handles are a hotspot for germs, dirt and viruses to thrive, being high-traffic touch points for students and teachers on a daily basis. Doorknobs and handles should be disinfected using prepackaged wipes or with a non-toxic disinfectant spray and a dry towel at the end of every day. Encouraging students and staff to wash their hands thoroughly and often will also help decrease the amount of bacteria and viruses on doorknobs and handles as well.

Following this checklist can help increase the cleanliness and overall safety of a classroom, for both teachers and students. While classroom layouts differ, this general classroom cleaning checklist will help reduce the amount of germs, dirt and grime from undoubtedly taking hold of any learning space.

Did you follow this checklist but still feel like your students’ learning is being dampened by a dirty environment? It may be time to contact a commercial cleaning corporation to consult about a classroom deep cleaning.


  1. Germiest Places At Schools, The Public Health And Safety Organization
  2. Bytes and Bacteria: Exposing the Germs on your Technology, CBT Nuggets
  3. How Clean Is Your Carpet?, Lifehack

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