How To Disinfect Playgrounds

How To Disinfect Playgrounds

With many childcare centers and schools adjusting to new health guidelines, creating new procedures, and, in some cases, preparing to welcome children back to their facilities, the safety of playgrounds is a question on the minds of many educators and administrators. Explore these CDC recommended tips for Disinfecting Playgrounds.

Please note, recommendations are constantly changing as new information on COVID-19 emerges.

Should I Disinfect My Playground?

The CDC recommends the following when cleaning and disinfecting outdoor areas:

  • Outdoor areas, like playgrounds in schools and parks generally require normal routine cleaning, but do not require disinfection.
  • Do not spray disinfectant on outdoor playgrounds—it is not an efficient use of supplies and is not proven to reduce risk of COVID-19 to the public.
  • High touch surfaces made of plastic or metal, such as grab bars and railings should be cleaned routinely.
  • Cleaning and disinfection of wooden surfaces (play structures, benches, tables) or groundcovers (mulch, sand) is not recommended.
  • Sidewalks and roads should not be disinfected. Spread of COVID-19 from these surfaces is very low and disinfection is not effective.

How Do I Clean My Playground Equipment?

The CDC and manufacturers recommend the following when cleaning outdoor equipment:

  • The CDC recommends using a bleach solution of 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water.
  • Do NOT use bleach as it may cause colors to fade.
  • Scrub with soap and water solution using soft sponge or brush. Repeat OFTEN.
  • Use a 70% / 30% Rubbing Alcohol to Water mix to clean surfaces. The surface must remain visibly wet for at least 4 minutes, allowing it to dry on its own. After 4 minutes, the surface may be rinsed thoroughly and wiped dry to eliminate water marks. This solution will lose its effectiveness in about 24 hours, so a new batch must be made each day.
  • Always contact manufacturers to see what they recommend for cleaning equipment. Some cleaning detergents may void existing warranties on equipment.

Follow These Safety Tips!

Remember the following safety tips when cleaning your outdoor equipment:

  • Make sure cleaning products are not past their expiration date to remain effective.
  • Always store cleaning products away from the reach of children and ensure they are inaccessible to the children in your care.
  • NEVER mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser as toxic gases may form.
  • ALWAYS wear protective gear when applying or mixing cleaners.

References

CDC Guidelines for Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility

Additional Resources

Playgrounds by Kaplan: What You Need to Know

Playgrounds Maintenance: Keeping Your Playground Safe

Developing and Implementing an Outdoor Classroom