Is Your School's Cleaning Policy Making Your Indoor Air Quality Worse?

The whole point of having a cleaning and maintenance policy for your school is to keep your students healthy, comfortable, and ready to learn. However, many schools make mistakes in their cleaning policies that lead to poor indoor air quality, increasing students' chances of becoming ill and reducing their ability to study and perform well. Here are 3 mistakes you could be making.

Are You Using the Wrong Cleaning Products?

One of the most common mistakes schools make when setting out a guideline for their cleaners is failing the enforce the use of non-toxic cleaning products. Most traditional sanitising fluids are filled with chemicals that release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into your school's atmosphere. Breathing these VOCs in for dozens of hours each week can cause both students and staff to suffer from breathing problems, fatigue and headaches.

Prolonged exposure to the harmful toxins can even lead to more serious problems like asthma and even cancer. To avoid releasing these compounds into the air, make sure your cleaners only use low-VOC, 'green' cleaning fluids around the school.

Are You Cleaning at the Right Time?

Are your janitorial staff scheduled to clean the building throughout the school day? If so, slipping on a wet floor isn't the only hazard that your students face. They'll also be breathing in the compounds released by cleaning products. Even if you choose a low-VOC cleaning product, minute amounts of toxins will still be released into the air; many natural cleaners are also scented with chemicals that can be harmful to those with more sensitive respiratory systems. That's why it's best to leave the bulk of the day's cleaning until after students have left the building.

Ideally, cleaners should only attend to urgent messes (like spilled drinks or overflowing toilets) during the school day, then mop and wipe the rest of the premises after the final bell rings. Doing the more heavy duty cleaning once everyone has gone home gives the building time to ventilate and air out before children and staff can breathe in any toxins.

Are You Giving Special Attention to the Right Areas?

If your school's cleaning policy gives janitors general instructions that apply to every room in the building, it's time for a change. It's important that you instruct your cleaning staff to spend extra time on the most problematic areas if you want to keep your indoor air quality healthy. In particular, bathrooms, sports halls, locker rooms and art classrooms need the most attention.

Mould grows quickly in bathrooms and locker rooms, so walls, floors and fixtures need to be cleaned more often and more thoroughly than they do in other rooms. In sports halls, students will stir up any dust in the room as they exercise, so it needs to be kept at bay. As for art classrooms, many of the supplies used (such as paint and photograph developing fluids) contain VOCs, so all spills need to be cleaned up well.

To learn more about how to improve the quality of your school, contact local air quality services.