Playgrounds provide endless fun and adventure for kids, but they can also harbour dirt, grime and germs if not properly cleaned. Whether at home, in a neighbourhood park or at school, outdoor equipment gets heavy use, leading to the build-up of bacteria and viruses over time. While cleaning may not be as enjoyable as play, maintaining sanitised outdoor surfaces is crucial for children’s health and safety.
This guide will walk us through the steps for thoroughly disinfecting common playground fixtures like slides, climbers, swings and more. You’ll learn effective techniques as well as must-have cleaning supplies.
Beyond basic dirt and debris, we’ll also address deep cleaning and sanitising to remove hidden germs. By establishing good maintenance habits, you can keep outdoor play areas clean and children protected from potential illnesses. Let’s get started with the proper tools and techniques for sanitising your outdoor playground equipment.
Why Cleaning Playground Equipment Is Important
Cleaning public playground equipment regularly is essential for children’s health and safety. Outdoor playgrounds see a lot of use throughout the day, with multiple children playing, climbing, and socialising in the same spaces.
This constant activity leaves behind dirt, debris, and germs. Bacteria and viruses from unwashed hands or coughs and sneezes can live for hours or days on hard surfaces like handrails and seats if not disinfected properly.
Regularly sanitising equipment removes these potential germ hotspots and reduces risks of infection from common illnesses such as the flu, hand-foot and mouth disease, pink eye, and more. Proper cleaning also removes hazards like animal waste or broken glass that could cause injury. Keeping play areas clean empowers kids to explore freely without the risk of sickness.
Gearing Up for the Clean-Up
Before you start scrubbing, take some time to gather the essential cleaning supplies and safety play equipment needed for properly sanitising playground surfaces. Having the right tools will make the job easier and more effective.
Some key items to collect include disinfecting cleaners like bleach solution or multipurpose spray, scrub brushes and rags, buckets for mixing solutions, gloves to protect hands, and even a pressure washer if surfaces are heavily soiled. Always wear protective gear when applying or mixing cleaners.
You’ll also want sun protection like a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen to wear during outdoor cleaning. Make sure to use non-toxic cleaning products that are safe for playground equipment.
Consider child safety as well – use tall fencing or cones to temporarily block off areas under cleaning. Being prepared with the proper supplies up front will save time and ensure you can thoroughly clean all areas without stopping mid-job.
The Cleaning Steps
Thorough cleaning and disinfecting involves a few key stages. Begin by thoroughly inspecting the playground to identify any problems affecting safety or requiring extra attention during washing. Then follow these main cleaning steps:
Take a walk around the play area and look for potential issues like cracked or splintered wood, loose equipment, trash or broken glass. Note these items for repair before children resume play.
Remove Debris and Larger Dirt
Start by sweeping or blowing off wood chips, mulch, leaves and other loose debris. Use a rake or shovel to remove loose dirt that has built up in hard-to-reach spots. A power washer can help blast it away for heavy dirt before scrubbing.
Wash and Disinfect Surfaces
With debris gone, it’s time to sanitise. Use a cleaning solution and stiff brush to scrub away embedded dirt on high-touch surfaces like handrails, seats and ladder rungs. Remember to disinfect less obvious spots, like the backs of signs.
Rinse and Allow to Air Dry
Completely rinse away cleaning residue with water. This is important both for removing chemicals and preventing slipping hazards. Allow play structures to thoroughly dry before reopening for use.
Additional Tips for Specific Areas
While following basic cleaning steps will sanitise most play areas, some equipment needs extra attention. Here are additional cleaning tips for specific sections:
Cleaning Multi-Level Structures
These compact dirt and are tough to reach. Use long-handled scrub brushes to clean railings, platforms and tight spaces at different heights. Consider power washing from the ground as well.
Disinfecting Swing Sets and Chains
Wipe down seats before scrubbing chains using disinfectant. For built-up grime, remove chains from swings to fully submerge in the cleaning solution. Dry thoroughly to prevent rusting.
Sanitising Benches and Tables
Don’t forget eating areas where germs from unwashed hands can linger. Use disinfecting cleaners on the tops and bottoms of benches and trash can exteriors that see frequent touching. Scrub thoroughly and air dry.
For best results and to maintain a clean and safe play area, it’s recommended to develop a regular maintenance schedule. At a minimum, wipe down all common touch points daily using disinfecting wipes or sprays.
Then, aim to clean the entire playground fully once a week. This may involve sweeping, scrubbing surfaces with cleaner, and sanitising.
Deep cleaning monthly will further remove built-up dirt and grease. Activities like power washing, scrubbing problem spots, repairing damages and inspecting for safety hazards work best on a normal routine cleaning monthly.
Severe weather like heavy rains or snowfall may require more frequent cleanings, too. Consistent will keep play areas in top condition for outdoor fun all season. Consult cleaning logs to ensure nothing is overlooked in your maintenance plan.
Keeping Kids Safe and Spaces Clean
By following these steps and establishing a regular schedule, you can effectively sanitise playground equipment and surfaces and ensure they remain safe for outdoor play. Taking the time for thorough cleaning removes dirt, germs and potential infectious risks from high-touch zones.
If you need any advice on maintenance beyond the basics covered here, please contact us at Aaron’s Outdoor. As your local experts in playground safety and cleaning solutions, we’d happily offer tips tailored to your specific equipment or answer questions. Let’s help keep kids healthy by working together to maintain clean, fun spaces for active recreation and learning.