Each back-to-school season brings an influx of students, staff and visitors through school doors. Because a clean environment promotes health, safety and learning, Cintas Corporation is sharing a list of insider facility management tips from seasoned school custodians and this year’s Janitor of the Year finalists.

“With so much foot traffic occurring during the week, it’s often a challenge to keep educational environments in top shape when school is in session,” said John Engel, Director of Marketing, Cintas. “Seasoned janitors become familiar with best practices so we looked to our 2016 contest finalists for tips on creating spotless schools.”

The top tips for a clean school environment include:

1. “Create a workable system.”
If you don’t have a system in place, cleaning will become more time consuming and results may suffer. Determine daily, weekly and monthly tasks, and map out how best to clean the school’s floor plan. Work from top to bottom, especially in restrooms. Then, check your work before leaving an area to spot any lingering messes.

2. “Don’t overlook key areas.”
There are many high-touch surfaces within schools where germs and dirt settle. The janitor’s cleaning checklist should not overlook walls, door handles, windows, supply closets, outdoor areas, the base of toilets, restroom drains, behind doors, under desks, in corners and areas above eye level, such as shelving units and lighting fixtures.

3. “Remove stains and spills to avoid slips and smells.”
Janitors should address coffee, milk and soda spills as well as dropped food such as fruit and even bodily fluids as quickly as possible. Quick clean up can keep stains from setting into carpet and grout, smells from permeating, food from being tracked throughout the school and spills from creating slippery floors.

4. “Take care of cleaning tools and equipment.”
Many schools have tight budgets, so it’s important for janitors to keep equipment well maintained so that it lasts longer. Wring out mops as best as possible and store them in buckets so that they don’t contribute to odors and mold growth in supply closets. Always work with clean mops, rags and other tools to avoid spreading germs. For instance, replace a microfiber cloth if it’s been contaminated and swap out the mop head after cleaning restrooms.

5. “Solicit students and staff for help.”
Staff and students can reduce their janitor’s workload by following a few simple strategies. Eliminate clutter to allow cleaners to more easily navigate classrooms, breakrooms and offices, and reduce the time it takes to clean rooms. Limit food in classrooms to keep spills and stains from occurring, and throw away gum rather than sticking it under a desk or chair. Teachers should make students responsible for cleaning up after themselves and instruct them to keep desks, chairs and other assets free of graffiti.