School Cleaning Service Tasks, Costs and Benefits Explained

Karen Lawes

Written by: Karen Lawes Maguire

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

Keeping schools clean is critical for providing a sanitary and healthy learning environment, but deciding how to handle these services requires careful consideration. School cleaning involves daily tasks like emptying trash, sweeping, mopping, dusting, and bathroom cleaning.

Women Cleaning Desk in School

It also encompasses periodic deep cleaning jobs such as floor waxing and carpet shampooing. When evaluating cleaning service options, school administrators need to weigh factors like cost, quality and consistency of service, flexibility, and security.

Key decisions include keeping the work in-house with a custodial staff or contracting with an outside cleaning company. Comparing the service levels, costs, and potential benefits of each option will enable schools to make the cleaning service choice that best fits their needs and budget.

In-House Staff Cleaning vs. Outsourcing

Schools have two main options when it comes to cleaning services: using in-house custodial staff or outsourcing to a professional cleaning company.

  • In-House Cleaning Staff: Employing your own custodians to clean the school allows for close oversight and tailored services. But it also involves significant staffing and supply costs that can be difficult to predict and manage.
  • Outsourced Cleaning Services: Contracting an outside cleaning company provides experienced staff, consistent processes, and access to more equipment. However, it means less control and potentially higher base costs.


Factor In-House Staff Outsourced Cleaning Company
Costs Variable staff and supply costs Predictable contracted rates
Quality Inconsistent between staff Standardized processes
Oversight Direct control Vendor management
Flexibility Adjust staffing & supplies as needed Bound by contract terms

According to Jillian Hood, the business development manager at Mercer School of Design, outsourcing her school's cleaning tasks has been the preferable option. She states:

"It's like magic. I simply close the campus at the end of the day and reopen the next morning and it's all clean. I don't have to think about it."

This highlights the convenience Ms. Hood has experienced by relying on an outside contractor to handle cleaning overnight, allowing her and her staff to focus on core education tasks.

School Cleaner Disinfecting Classroom

Customer Perspectives: Real-World School Cleaning Costs

We asked people who used our service how much they paid for school cleaning services.

"As a small private preschool with only 4 classrooms, we pay around $500 per month for daily cleaning services. That includes trash removal, vacuuming, mopping, and sanitizing the bathrooms and play areas."
"I'm the facilities manager for an urban K-8 charter school. For our 10 classrooms and common spaces, we pay $2,800 per month to have the buildings cleaned nightly by a janitorial service company."
"Our high school campus has 30 classrooms across 3 buildings. We were spending over $7,500 a month on custodial salaries and supplies. Now we pay a cleaning service $6,000 a month and they do a better job than our old in-house team."
"My rural school district has 5 school buildings spread over a large area. We recently switched to outsourced cleaning to save money. For all 5 schools, our monthly cleaning bill is around $18,000."

Factors Impacting School Cleaning Costs

On average, basic daily school cleaning costs range from $0.05 - $0.10 per square foot. Deep cleaning and special services are extra.

  • School Size and Number of Buildings: Larger schools with multiple buildings will naturally have higher cleaning costs. More classrooms, common areas, offices, restrooms, and entryways require more time and labor to clean.
  • Frequency of Cleaning Tasks: Daily cleaning of high traffic areas is standard. But floors, carpets, and restrooms may need cleaning multiple times per week, which adds hours and costs. Periodic deep cleaning also impacts budgets.
  • Special Services Required: Extra services like disinfecting, hazardous waste handling, and post-event cleanups add costs over basic cleaning tasks.
  • Regional Labor Costs and Overhead: Cleaning service rates will be higher in areas with higher wages for custodial staff and higher operational costs.
  • Economies of Scale: Large, established contractors can negotiate better deals on supplies, equipment, and insurance costs. They can also optimize routes and processes to maximize efficiency.

Man Cleaning School Entrance

Common School Cleaning Tasks and Services Provided

School cleaning encompasses a wide variety of tasks and services such as:

  • Daily cleaning tasks like trash removal, sweeping, mopping, dusting, bathroom cleaning and sanitizing, etc. This routine cleaning maintains day-to-day cleanliness in high traffic areas.
  • Periodic deep cleaning tasks like carpet shampooing, floor waxing and buffing, window washing, etc. These less frequent intensive cleanings keep the school looking its best.
  • Special services like post-event cleanup, biohazard cleaning, hazardous waste disposal, disinfecting, etc. School cleaning crews need to be prepared to handle unique or occasional cleaning needs.

The right cleaning service provider will be trained and equipped to handle the full scope of cleaning tasks a school requires, from daily trash removal to periodic deep cleanings, in order to maintain a clean, healthy facility and slow the spread of illnesses.

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