Cleaning and Sanitation

It is important to keep your child care program clean and sanitized to prevent the spread of germs. This includes surfaces, toys, and materials. It is also important that staff and children keep their hands and clothes clean of germs.

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Guidelines for Cleaning and Sanitizing

Two-step cleaning process

1. Cleaning removes surface dirt and impurities and reduces risk of infection by reducing the number of germs. 

  • Clean with warm water and soap. If no soap is available, use another detergent with water.

2. Disinfecting reduces risk of infection by killing germs. 

  • Disinfect using commercial EPA-registered disinfectant or alcohol. The stronger the disinfectant and the longer it stays on the surface, the more germs it will kill. 
  • Full-scale cleaning and disinfecting should be done after hours, when children are not present. This will give the space time to air out before children are back.
  • Spot cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched areas should be done regularly throughout the day, even when children are present.
Best Practices
Copy of Norma Morales FCC Equipment
Courtesy of Norma Morales Family Child Care
  • Every day, prepare a new disinfectant solution of bleach and water in a spray bottle. Clearly label the bottle with its contents.
  • Create cleaning and disinfecting stations for toys and materials. Put everything that needs to be cleaned in that place. 
  • Have one staff member be in charge of cleaning throughout the day.
  • Make a schedule for cleaning and disinfecting high touch areas throughout the day


High touch areas include door knobs, light switches, faucets, toilet flush handles, and tables. What else in your program is touched often?

  • Clean and disinfect restrooms after each use.
  • Disinfect shared items before they change hands from one child to another.
  • Post images to reinforce health and safety measures.
  • Get children involved! Teach them about the importance of cleaning by giving each child a spray bottle of water to use while the early educators do the real cleaning.
Ideas for Your Program

This video shows the morning routine at a family child care program, including cleaning and sanitization before and during drop-off time.

Handwashing Guidelines

Nevarez FCC 20200505_075732
Courtesy of Nevarez Family Child Care
  • All staff, visitors, and children should wash their hands frequently.
  • Develop handwashing routines. Have all staff and children wash hands when entering, before and after indoor or outdoor play, before and after eating, and after napping. 
  • Put up signs to remind staff, visitors and children to wash hands. Use signs in all bathrooms to instruct on proper handwashing technique.
  • Make supplies needed for good hygiene easy to access. Put handwashing stations, soap, paper towels, and alcoholbased hand sanitizer in appropriate places in your center. 
  • Make it easy for any adult entering the site or any room to sanitize their hands on entry with soap and water or alcoholbased hand sanitizer.
  • Have children regularly wash their hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
Hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies
  • Supervise all children during handwashing. Make sure they wash for 20 seconds. Make sure they wash between their fingers and around their thumbs.


Do not let young children use hand sanitizer without supervision. There is a risk of alcohol ingestion.

Best Practices
  • Make handwashing fun!
  • Use a timer to help staff and children wash their hands for 20 full seconds.
  • Or, teach children a song that takes at least 20 seconds to sing. Tell children to wash their hands while they sing the song.
Ideas for Your Program