Green Cleaning for Schools

Green cleaning is a critical component of a healthy school environment. Custodial services often involve the use of many chemicals, some of which are toxic to humans and school site ecology.  Making simple changes in cleaning techniques and product choices, such as minimizing the use of harsh cleaners, solvent-based cleaners or cleaners with strong fragrances (which can exacerbate asthma symptoms) and switching to environmentally friendly cleaning products, can go a long way to protecting and improving the health of students, staff and the school environment. Learn more about implementing a green cleaning plan to protect custodial staff, students, teachers, and the natural environment.

Tip: Also visit our National & State Green School Programs page to learn more about local and national Green School programs and resources to help you improve the health & sustainability of your school!

Before You Start

Form an Action Team

Center for Green Schools: Green Cleaning Video (7 mins)

Center for Green Schools: Green Cleaning Companion Guide

Overview: Protect Students & Staff with Green Cleaning (EPA)

Design and Preparation

Conduct a General Environmental Review Checklist

Green Cleaning Program Assessment

Conduct a Healthy Schools Audit

EPA School Indoor Air Quality Assessment Mobile App

Implementation

Green Cleaning Action Plan Forms:

  • Create a Healthy Schools Action Plan
  • Sample Action Plan
  • Simplified Sample Action Plan
  • Blank Action Plan
  • Green Cleaning Initiatives:

  • 5 Steps to Green Cleaning in Schools
  • Use Specialized Green Cleaning Guides to Target Specific Areas
  • Effective School Cleaning and Maintenance Practices (EPA)
  • Tips for Teachers, Bus Drivers, Athletic, Maintenance & Food Service Staff
  • Purchasing Green & Sustainable Products
  • Safe Chemical Management in Schools
  • Also see: Ventilation, Air Quality, IPM
  • Tools for School Facilities Staff:

  • Overview: School Green Cleaning Laws
  • High-Performance Cleaning Program Plan (Implementation Workbook)
  • Sample Indoor Air Quality Management Plan (Implementation Workbook)
  • ISSA Green Cleaning Training & Resources
  • Green Clean Schools Webinars
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards: hygiene information for hundreds of chemicals/classes
  • Also see: Ventilation, Air Quality, IPM
  • Using Your Project

    EPA Lesson Plans, Teacher Guides & Online Resources for Educators

    Eco Schools Sustainability Pathways & Resources

    Eco Schools National Standards & Curriculum Alignment

    Eco Schools Green STEM Initiative

    Green Education Foundation: Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

    Learning Lab Sustainability Lessons

    Project Learning Tree Curriculum Offerings

    Sharing Your Project

    Downloadable Green Cleaning Posters & PowerPoints

    Involve Parents in Creating a Healthy Indoor School Environment

    Create Signs About Green Cleaning & Green Product Tips & Efforts

    Resource Center

    Project Resource Library: Learn More!
    National & State Green School Programs
    Eco Schools USA Handbook
    Bay Backpack Teaching Resources Search Engine
    EPA: Healthy Schools, Healthy Kids!
    Healthy Schools Campaign: Green Clean Schools
    EPA Learning & Teaching About the Environment (awards, resources, more)