Striking the Balance: Cleaning and Disinfecting in School Classrooms

As the importance of cleanliness and hygiene in school settings becomes increasingly evident, educators and administrators grapple with the question: How much cleaning and disinfecting is too much in school classrooms? In this article, we explore the delicate balance between maintaining a clean and safe environment and avoiding overzealous cleaning practices that may have unintended consequences.

Understanding Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Cleaning: This involves removing dirt, dust, and debris from surfaces using detergents or cleaning agents. Cleaning physically eliminates germs and reduces their numbers, making it an essential step in maintaining cleanliness.
  • Disinfecting: Refers to the use of chemicals or disinfectants to kill or inactivate germs on surfaces. Disinfecting targets specific pathogens and helps prevent the spread of infectious diseases, particularly in high-touch areas.

The Risks of Over-Cleaning

  • Residue Buildup: Excessive cleaning and disinfecting can lead to residue buildup on surfaces, which may attract more dirt and germs over time, counteracting the intended effects of cleaning.
  • Chemical Exposure: Harsh cleaning chemicals can pose health risks, especially to children, who may be more susceptible to respiratory issues or skin sensitivities. Overuse of disinfectants can also contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
  • Surface Damage: Aggressive cleaning practices, such as using abrasive cleaners or scrubbing vigorously, can damage surfaces and materials, leading to costly repairs or replacements.

Striking the Right Balance

  • Focus on High-Touch Areas: Prioritize cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, desks, chairs, light switches, and shared electronics. These areas are more likely to harbor germs and contribute to the spread of illnesses.
  • Follow Guidelines: Adhere to guidelines and recommendations provided by health authorities and cleaning experts. Use EPA-approved disinfectants and follow proper dilution ratios and contact times to ensure effective disinfection without overuse.
  • Implement Routine Cleaning: Establish a routine cleaning schedule that balances thorough cleaning with practicality. Regular cleaning and disinfecting, supplemented by deep cleaning as needed, can help maintain a clean and healthy environment without excessive disruption.

Promoting Hygiene Practices

  • Educational Initiatives: Teach students proper hand hygiene practices, respiratory etiquette, and personal cleanliness habits to reduce the transmission of germs within the classroom and school community.
  • Provide Supplies: Ensure access to handwashing stations, hand sanitizers, tissues, and trash receptacles to encourage good hygiene habits among students and staff.
  • Lead by Example: Model and reinforce hygienic behaviors among school staff, demonstrating the importance of cleanliness and health-conscious practices in the classroom and beyond.


In conclusion, finding the right balance between cleaning and disinfecting in school classrooms is essential for promoting a safe and healthy learning environment. While cleanliness and hygiene are paramount, it’s crucial to avoid over-cleaning practices that may have unintended consequences such as chemical exposure, surface damage, or ineffective disinfection. By following guidelines, focusing on high-touch areas, and promoting good hygiene practices, schools and hiring cleaning companies Columbia MO, can maintain a clean and safe environment that supports the well-being and academic success of students and staff alike.