Daily Cleaning Checklists for Daycare/Childcare Centers

Karen Lawes

Written by: Karen Lawes Maguire

Karen is the founder and CEO of CleanerMatch.com, a leading cleaning industry website. With 10+ years experience, she's an expert on new cleaning technologies, regulations, and best practices.

Keeping a childcare center clean and free of germs is absolutely vital. Kids are more prone to catching illnesses, so having rigorous cleaning routines in place is non-negotiable.

Dr Jeny Segeleon, MD - Childcare Illnesses

Dr. Jenny Segeleon, MD from Norton's Childrens states, "You parents who had children in daycare or preschool or mom's day out, you should expect 10 to 12 cold viruses over the winter months."

Implementing a thorough daily cleaning checklist is one of the best ways to ensure no area gets overlooked and stays spick-and-span.

According to Dr. Daycare,

"Clean and sanitize surfaces and objects that are frequently touched. Follow along with your center's cleaning checklist and immediately clean surfaces or objects that are visibly soiled."

This checklist covers cleaning protocols for all areas - classrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, lobbies, and more. It also digs into special focus areas like toys, play equipment, and diaper stations that require extra attention.

As Dr. Daycare states,

"Sanitizing kills most germs. Clean first, then sanitize. We sanitize all items that have been in a child's mouth, in addition to any surface that could be used for food preparation or eating."

To stay on top of it all, the checklist lays out schedules and tracking sheets to ensure cleaning responsibilities are properly carried out day after day.

Daycare Cleaning Daily Checklist

Room-by-Room Cleaning Guide

Classrooms/Play Areas:

Classroom and play areas should be cleaned and disinfected daily. This includes wiping down all hard surfaces like tables, chairs, shelves, and windowsills with an EPA-approved disinfectant cleaner. Floors should be vacuumed or swept to remove any dirt, crumbs, or debris.

All toys that children play with should be cleaned and disinfected daily as well. Any toys that went into a child's mouth should be set aside and run through the dishwasher or submerged in a disinfectant solution. Books, puzzles, and educational tools should also be wiped down.


Bathroom surfaces are likely the most contaminated, so these areas require disinfecting each day. Toilets should be scrubbed and disinfected inside and out. Sinks, countertops, and floors should be cleaned with a multi-surface disinfectant cleaner and mops/rags should be changed frequently.

As mentioned by Dr. Daycare,

"Disinfecting kills all germs on surfaces or objects. We disinfect bathrooms, diaper changing areas, and any area that may have come into contact with bodily fluids."

Bathroom floors should be mopped using a bathroom floor cleaner or disinfectant. Don't forget to restock supplies like paper towels, toilet paper, and hand soap as needed.

Kitchen/Dining Areas:

All food prep surfaces in the kitchen should be cleaned and sanitized both before and after use. Forks, spoons, plates, cups, etc. should be run through the dishwasher after meals/snacks.

Tables, chairs, and highchair trays should be sprayed with a food-safe sanitizer before and after each use. Sweep and mop floors in the kitchen and dining areas daily.


The entry areas of a childcare facility are high-traffic ares that can always collect dust, dirt, and germs first. Lobby floors should be vacuumed and mopped daily using a disinfectant cleaner. Glass doors and windows should be wiped down to remove handprints and smudges.

Any tables, chairs, or other surfaces in the lobby should also be wiped down regularly throughout the day as children and parents are coming and going. Welcome mats and rugs should be vacuumed daily too.

Daily Daycare Cleaning Checklist
Download a sample checklist

Special Considerations

Toys and Play Areas:

Besides regular cleaning, extra care should be taken when cleaning toys and play areas. Many soft, plush toys (stuffies) cannot be sanitized in a dishwasher or submerged in disinfectant solutions. These should be cleaned frequently in a washing machine using hot water and detergent.

When cleaning hard toys, use a scratchy sponge or brush to remove any dried liquid or food debris before submerging in the disinfectant solution. Be sure toys are fully air dried before letting children play with them again.

Rotate toys throughout the week, cleaning one batch while using a different set. This allows for thorough cleaning and sanitizing without depriving children of their toys.

Play mats, climbing structures, and other large play areas should be cleaned by spraying or wiping down with disinfectant cleaner daily.

Diaper Changing Stations:

Diaper changing areas should be cleaned and disinfected after each use, without exception. Changing pads and tables must be cleaned with a disinfectant cleaner to kill any germs from human waste.

Proper procedures for disposing of soiled diapers and cleaning supplies must be followed to prevent contamination. Hands should be washed thoroughly with soap and water after each diaper change.

Cleaning Schedules and Tracking

While daily cleaning is crucial, some tasks only need to be done weekly or monthly as part of a deeper clean. Having a schedule and checklist helps ensure these tasks get completed as needed.

Daily Cleaning Tasks Weekly/Monthly Cleaning
Wiping all surfaces Washing machine cleaning of plush/cloth toys
Cleaning toys and play areas Cleaning inside of appliances like microwaves, refrigerators
Disinfecting bathrooms Stripping and rewaxing floors
Sweeping and mopping floors Cleaning vents and window treatments
Taking out trash and recycling Deep cleaning toy buckets/bins
Restocking supplies

By assigning daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning responsibilities, staff can divide tasks and use checklists or tracking sheets to check off completed work. Some facilities use rotation schedules so different staff are responsible for certain cleaning duties each day.

Whatever system is used, having checklists holds staff accountable and ensures no cleaning gets missed.

While dealing with frequent colds and runny noses is expected as Dr. Jenny mentions,

Be prepared, your child will likely have a runny nose, ache off and on, for several weeks at a time and this is okay, this is normal,"
thorough cleaning protocols help minimize the spread of illnesses.

Sure, cleaning isn't exactly a glamorous task. But it's an absolutely critical part of running a professional childcare operation and cheaper than outsourcing to a daycare cleaning service. Sticking to those daily cleaning checklists helps create a safe, healthy, nurturing environment for kids to learn and thrive.

For parents, knowing stringent, consistent cleaning routines are in place provides priceless peace of mind that their children are in a clean, well-maintained space. The hard work of cleaning may be tedious, but the payoff is priceless.

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