Back to the classroom – planning an effective cleaning and facilities management routine for the academic year

Monday, 21 August 2023

The new academic year presents an ideal opportunity to refresh facilities management routines, says Robert Scott’s head of sales, Gill Ireson.
As the summer holidays draw to a close, many facilities management teams within schools, educational facilities and student spaces will be reaching the end of seasonal deep clean periods. Taking advantage of the quieter months is an effective way to address once-a-year cleaning tasks, however the start of a new academic year presents the ideal opportunity for facilities managers to review and implement refreshed cleaning routines ideal for busier term times.

Splitting tasks

It’s helpful to split tasks into groups based on how often they need to be performed. Daily cleaning tasks include wiping down surfaces in regularly used areas – even more so in this post-pandemic era - ensuring high touch points like door handles, light switches and elevator call buttons are disinfected.

Tasks that might only be required once or twice a week include sweeping and mopping floors, as well as a more thorough surface clean and bathroom clean too.

Meanwhile other, more intensive tasks can be performed once or twice a month, such as floor scrubbing and window cleaning.

Developing a coded list of jobs scheduled at specific times, is a good starting point to ensure that enough hours are allocated each day for the tasks required.  

The right tools for the job

Educational settings will benefit from cleaning solutions that are targeted to the sector. Schools, colleges and universities generally experience very high footfall, wear and tear and can sometimes experience levels of vandalism. As a result, consistent cleaning and maintenance is required to keep the facility at its best.

Choosing the right tools for the job at hand is important for ensuring the best end-result. For example, investing in aids such as floor scrapers will help facilities management teams to remove tough dirt, chewing gum and dried on grime from most hard surfaces. Following this up with floor pads like the Flexis Ferrzon Floor Pad will provide a deep clean that produces a light reflective finish.

Ways to reduce your environmental footprint

Cleaning practices can affect an organisation’s overall green credentials. Choosing to use chemical cleaning agents, disposable cloths, single use items and plastic tools will negatively impact a business’ environmental footprint.

Robert Scott’s most recent customer research indicated that almost four in five businesses said that sustainability was important to their objectives, with 34% deeming it the biggest cleaning trend of the year. It’s unsurprising, then, to find that many facilities management teams are actively looking to introduce eco-friendly cleaning options.

An example is United World Colleges (UWC) Atlantic, the founding and flagship College in the UWC movement, located in 12th Century St Donat’s Castle in South Wales. Championing the UWC mission ‘to make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future’, sustainability has always been part of the College’s DNA.

UWC Atlantic started using our Toucan Eco cleaning system in 2019, installing a completely chemical-free system across its 122-acre campus. Toucan Eco makes a sustainable, effective and non-toxic disinfectant and cleaning solution on-site from nothing more than water and salt. This removes the need for over 80% of chemical products, while significantly reducing single-use plastic waste and creating cost efficiencies over time. Additionally, any surplus cleaner reverts to a saltwater solution which can be safely disposed of down the drain, protecting waterways and the natural world.

So, as the new academic year begins, the time is ripe for facilities management teams to evaluate how best to optimise the cleaning effectiveness and sustainability of educational and student facilities; even during busy term times.