Your playground is like a magnet to kids eager for fun. And it gives parents hungry for relaxation a time to unwind. However, if not properly cleaned they can become a hazard to children's health and safety. A proper cleaning schedule is extremely important for keeping your playground safe for children. Effective playground cleanliness requires cleaning, and sanitizing or disinfecting equipment surfaces.
First, let’s look at the differences between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting.
• Cleaning: using soap and water to remove physical, chemical, and microbial substances from surfaces.
• Sanitizing: using chemicals or other verified methods to reduce the number of germs on clean surfaces to a safe level.
• Disinfecting: using chemicals to eliminate all of the germs listed on the product label, which may include bacteria, fungi, or viruses.
Even if playground surfaces appear clean, properly cleaning then sanitizing or disinfecting should be done to reduce harmful germs and children’s risk for illness and disease. Then, how frequently should playground equipment be cleaned and sanitized or disinfected? Please read on!
A. Routine cleaning and sanitizing
Indoor playground surfaces should be cleaned and sanitized daily, and spot cleaned throughout the day, even if they do not look dirty. Clean and sanitize surfaces immediately if dirt is present. Clean surfaces thoroughly with soapy water before sanitizing. Indoor Playgrounds International recommends assigning a staff member to constantly spot clean throughout the structure during business hours. Not only does this ensure a clean playground, but it helps reassure parents.
B. Cleaning and disinfecting after body fluid incidents
Body fluids (blood, urine, vomit, fecal matter) are highly contagious and should be cleaned up immediately. The affected area should be closed so staff can clean and disinfect. Clean surfaces thoroughly with soap and water before disinfecting.
Below are two playground equipment cleaning tips:
1. Wooden Equipment
Wooden equipment and wooden parts of equipment need to be checked for cracks and splinters. If the wood has been painted, stained or varnished and is starting to deteriorate, consider revitalizing the wood as part of the cleaning routine. Generally wood will simply need a good brush down.
2. Metal and Plastic Equipment
Clean metal and plastic with soap and water. Check for rust spots and deterioration. If the equipment such as teeter-totters or swings have supports or pivots, clean them with an oily rag to remove old grease. Check for excessive wear and apply fresh grease.
Cleaning and sanitizing or disinfecting your playground are not easy tasks. But they are well worth the time and effort to help make sure your playground is not only fun, but also safe and healthy.