Take a green approach to school cleaning

green cleaning

Cleaning products are necessary to keep your school free of germs and dirt. But using the wrong products could have a negative effect on the environment and the health of your students, teachers and staff.

Buildings where green cleaning products are used experience lower costs and reduced chemical use. These products are safer and deliver high-quality results with minimal environmental impact.

Going green in your school can also educate workers and students alike so that environmentally conscious decisions will continue beyond the campus and contribute to a cleaner, healthier world for everyone.

Here are a few tips for making sure the products used in your school are safe for students, staff and the environment:

1. Look at the label

If you see a Safer Choice, Green Seal or EcoLogo label on a cleaning product, you can feel better about using it in classrooms and schools. Products with these labels have been reviewed by reputable third parties and are considered effective and safer for the environment and human health.

2. Rethink paper and liners

Massive amounts of towel and tissue waste end up in landfills, and their production and processing have a huge environmental impact. To reduce it, consider following the Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for bathroom tissue (20%-60% postconsumer fiber) and paper towels (40%-60% postconsumer fiber).

Also, look for can liners containing recycled and postconsumer content. These small steps can go a long way in lessening the environmental strain of these products.

green cleaning

3. Choose the right equipment

In addition to the cleaners you use, pay close attention to the equipment used in the school.

Microfiber dusters not only clean more effectively than other products by capturing dust rather than pushing it around, but they also promote green cleaning (and reduce cost) because they don’t require constant replacement.

microfiber duster

Also, energy-efficient vacuums and floor-cleaning machines that use HEPA filters can improve indoor air quality, which could lead to increased productivity and reduced absenteeism.

4. Go green, not only to clean

Going green doesn’t need to stop with cleaning products. Look for Safer Choice or other eco-friendly labels on products such as athletic field paints, odor removers, graffiti removers and hand soaps used in your school.


Not sure where to start? Click this link and browse product options that meet the Safer Choice standard.

Follow these tips and start doing your part to ensure a healthy planet for years to come and a healthy learning environment for your students, teachers and staff.

For more stories like this, subscribe to the SSC Monthly newsletter. Get news about the latest trends in education and support services, plus tips from our knowledgeable and experienced staff about how to make your facilities run smoothly — and save money.

5 strategies for keeping your school flu-free

Last flu season was a doozy – one of the worst in the past decade – and the virus caused schools to close in at least 12 states.

Even for schools that don’t close, the flu can be disruptive, with students coughing and sniffling in class, or falling behind while home sick.

Between 5 and 20 percent of people in the United States get the flu each fall and winter, according to the National Institutes of Health. And the flu accounted for 39 percent of illness episodes and led to more than 1,075 missed school days over three flu seasons according to a study of more than 1,000 school-aged children published last year in the Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses journal.

Those missed school days can have a huge effect on student outcomes – and the budget.

Flu season typically ramps up in October and November and hits its peak in January and February, which means now is the time to make sure your school is ready.

Want to keep your school safe and healthy this flu season? Here are five tips:

1. Encourage students and teachers to stay home when sick.

Some people may try to be a hero and come to school sick, but it’s important for anyone who gets the flu to stay home until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever to avoid spreading it to other students or teachers.

You could also encourage students, teachers and staff to get the flu shot by offering tips of where and when to get it or even offering vaccinations on campus for staff.

2. Cover your mouth, and teach staff and students to do the same.

Most experts believe the flu is spread by droplets made when people with the flu cough and sneeze. Teach students – and remind teachers – to cover their mouths with a tissue or bent arm to prevent those droplets from spreading.

3. Emphasize the importance of hand-washing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, using a paper towel to dry hands and using that same towel to turn off the faucet. Consider incorporating hand-washing breaks into students’ and staff’s schedules.

4. Regularly clean high-touch areas.

Remember those droplets? They can get on everything, especially objects students and teachers touch often throughout the day. SSC has a special cleaning checklist just for cold and flu season, which puts an emphasis on cleaning high-touch areas like desks, counters and even light switches.

5. Do more than just clean – especially those drinking fountains.

Sometimes a general cleaner won’t cut it. SSC often uses a disinfectant that kills 99.9 percent of germs, and also has policies to prevent cross-contamination.

Did you know? The germiest places in schools aren’t in the bathroom, like most people think, but water fountains, according to Dr. Harley Rotbart, professor emeritus of pediatrics at the University of Colorado. It’s the perfect spot for germ spread since kids put their mouths on the stream of water or on the fountain itself.

Educate your kids to run the water a little first and then drink, or encourage students and teachers to bring their own water bottle – and not share.


Want to learn more about how SSC helps schools prevent the spread of the flu? Get in touch with us.

For more stories like this, subscribe to the SSC Monthly newsletter. Get news about the latest trends in education and support services, plus tips from our knowledgeable and experienced staff about how to make your facilities run smoothly — and save money.

3 ways to bring more joy into your school

What brings you joy? It could be a favorite movie or song, family and friends, or travel. It could also be something you don’t even notice, like the paint color in your office, or art on the wall, or a round paperweight on your desk.

Studies have shown our surroundings can have a significant effect on our levels of joy. Learning environments are no different.

A Global Youth Survey showed that 61 percent of students are most concerned with improving their physical learning environment. And research suggests that the physical environment can significantly affect student achievement.

But there are some easy ways to start bringing joy into your schools. According to designer and writer Ingrid Fetell Lee, joy can be created through design by using color and shapes, and creating a feeling of abundance.

Here are three ways you can add joy into your school.

1. Add color 

In a 2004 study on the relationship between color and emotion, researchers at the University of Georgia found that different colors affect mood in different ways.

  • Green is associated with relaxation and calmness, followed by happiness, comfort, peace, hope and excitement.
  • Yellow is generally said to be lively and energetic, eliciting positive emotions associated with the sun and summertime.
  • Gray is associated with negative emotions, including sadness, depression, boredom, confusion, tiredness, loneliness, anger and fear.

Don’t be scared of adding a little color to your hallways and classrooms. You could do that by repainting the walls or in smaller ways, using colorful furniture, window dressing or rugs.

Or get students involved by having them work together to paint a mural in the hallway.

“One colorful mural can transform a barren hallway or entrance into a vibrant and joyful sight,” educator Steven Wolk wrote in a 2008 edition of Educational Leadership.

2. Round it out

Shapes can also affect our mood. Neuroscientists have found that the parts of the brain responsible for anxiety light up when people see angular objects, but not when they see circular objects.

In her TED Talk, Lee describes how, after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, architects incorporated curves into the design of the building to create a safe-feeling environment for the children who returned to the school. The slightly curved entrance was purposefully made in order to give students a welcoming feel as they approached.

Redesigning your entire entryway may not be feasible now, but you can incorporate curves into your school with pictures of balloons and ice cream cones on the wall, or by adding circular stools and furniture.

And don’t forget about your landscaping. Circle-shaped bushes, anyone?

3. Take it outside

We already know great landscaping goes a long way in making a good first impression, but planting flowers and keeping your lawns pretty can also affect student and faculty emotions in a positive way.

Lawns enhance the quality of life and contribute to social harmony and community pride, according to The Lawn Institute.

And don’t be scared to take the classroom outside. According to The Guardian, “Outdoor learning can make for happier, healthier, well-rounded students – particularly for those with special educational needs.”

Let’s make school environments more fun and vibrant – and joyful.


Want to learn more about how SSC works to create joyful learning environments? Get in touch with us today.

For more stories like this, subscribe to the SSC Monthly newsletter. Get news about the latest trends in education and support services, plus tips from our knowledgeable and experienced staff about how to make your facilities run smoothly — and save money.