Depending on the stage that the playground is in, you’re going to need the right materials and supplies, from cleaning products to the appropriate tools and products like wood stain, brushes, scrubbers, and buckets.
If you’re planning on doing a deep clean of wood or metal playground equipment, indoor or outdoor, here are some useful supplies to bring along:
Ammonia-free window cleaner
A mild detergent
Rags or cloths for wiping
Soft brushes for more persistent grime and dirt
A non-toxic disinfectant
If you’re working on an outdoor playground, especially one that has wood, if you want to go the extra mile, bring along sandpaper and a high-grade wood sealant. These materials can be used to remove mildew or other grime from wood and the sealant will allow you to treat the wood so it lasts longer.
Safety And Long-Term Planning
For indoor equipment, make sure to do a quick safety spot check. If anything is loose or wobbly, locate the source of the issue and correct it. Often bolts and other connective devices will loosen over time due to wear and tear, so keeping an eye out for anything out of the ordinary is a good idea.
Also, remember if there’s ever a biological contaminant (urine, feces, blood, vomit), you need to make sure that it is properly cleaned and disinfected. You want to make sure that there’s no possibility of pathogens spreading due to improper cleaning. Keeping bleach on hand is a great idea.
With outdoor equipment, there’s an additional component to the routine checking and maintenance of equipment--the flora and fauna in the area. Depending on the location of the playground equipment, you want to make sure that there are no insects or other vermin that might degrade or pose a hazard to children playing on the equipment. Bees, raccoons, and other pests require careful management to keep them away from the playground.
Keep an eye out for any potentially hazardous plants that might have grown near the playground. Poison Ivy in particular is a common plant that can have painful consequences for unaware children (and adults, for that matter).
Know Your Equipment
It goes without saying that it’s almost essential to know how your equipment works, and what materials were used in its construction. This is going to go a long way to helping keep it clean and well maintained.For instance, metal playground equipment needs to regularly have rust cleaned off of it, and in cases where rust has gone wrong, cleaning it off and applying a new coat of paint is vital to the longevity of the equipment. You wouldn’t want a car with rusted parts, and playground equipment is no different.
An excellent way to discover more about the equipment you’re cleaning and maintaining is to talk to an expert, or see if you can track down the assembly or maintenance manual for the equipment you’re working on. Not every piece of equipment is going to have this, but going in with a can-do attitude will go a long way in keeping things clean and shipshape. It may also help to understand the price and upkeep cost of the equipment you are considering purchasing.
Now, before we get into the actual how-to of cleaning playground equipment, there’s one final note to hit: scheduling. Whether it’s you doing all of the maintenance on the playground equipment, or one of your employees (or a team of employees in the case of larger operations) you want to make sure that you’ve built and maintained (no pun intended) a maintenance schedule. This schedule should include:
How often each piece of equipment should be cleaned (and if you want to get more granular, what should be used to clean it)
How often each piece of equipment should have a maintenance check done
Who is going to be responsible for the cleaning
When it was last cleaned, and when it will need to be cleaned next according to the schedule (don’t forget to count holidays!)
A scheduled routine will help keep all the playground equipment clean and maintained well, which overall decreases the amount of work for everyone involved.
Cleaning playground equipment isn’t exactly rocket science, but it helps to have a few pointers before you go out and start doing it.
First, utilize a mild detergent, hopefully with some form of degreaser present. This will help with the initial cleaning, knocking away any tough stains, grease spots, or other undesirable materials. Give a thorough cleaning with a washcloth and warm water, or a soft brush. Avoid using abrasive materials on plastics as over time this can make them uncomfortable and damaged over time when children are suing them.
Next, rinse off the detergent. If you’re using a very watered down detergent solution, you might be able to skip this step.
Finally, use a disinfectant solution, for instance heavily diluted bleach water, to rinse off and sanitize the equipment. Germs on playground equipment can be tough to get rid of, and sanitizer solutions are important part of the overall cleaning process.
Follow the schedule, and make sure that trash is disposed of too. If everything is done right, you’ll end up with a gleaming playground that’s all ready for use!
If you’re setting up indoor or outdoor playgrounds for the first time, quality waste receptacles are an important part of keeping these areas clean and tidy. We offer a wide variety of trash bins, from rolling trash cans to decorative recycling bins. Our outdoor trash cans are the perfect fit for a park environment. Browse our enormous selection of trash cans, and stay tuned to this blog for more info on playground maintenance and care. We also offer a host of general playground equipment: from benches to safety barriers to tables we have your needs covered. And, as always, if you have any questions, get in touch with us.