With summer quickly slipping away, now is the time to consider the “just right” cleaning and disinfection solutions to prepare for a new school year. You may recall the classic children’s fairy tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears about a curious girl who enters the house of three bears while they’re away, sampling their food and belongings and causing mischief. In the story, some of the items she sampled were not to her satisfaction while others were “just right.” This blog describes a Goldilocks approach to cleaning and disinfection while providing recommendations for maintaining health and safety in K–12 schools.

Just Right Products

Just as Goldilocks discovered not all items were equal, cleaning and disinfection products have differences including efficacy, compatibility, and application. This makes identifying the right products for the job essential for success as you plan for back-to-school cleaning operations. No matter what space you are cleaning, having the right products will contribute to a more effective and efficient process. Consider the following examples of cleaning and disinfectant product types to be used and have on hand.

  • Cleaners: Use a versatile product for your everyday job cleaner. These tend to be concentrated, cost-effective, compatible with many surfaces, and work on different types of soils and stains.
  • Disinfectants: Germs tend to follow students, so be prepared with an EPA-registered disinfectant product with efficacy claims against common germs including norovirus, influenza, and RSV that can survive on surfaces for several weeks.1 In the case of an outbreak of illness, ensure there is a sufficient supply of disinfecting products to combat any spread in your facility.
  • Restroom Solutions: Look for products that are tough on stains and proven to combat odors and human soils such as blood, urine, feces and vomit.
  • Special Tasks: For tough jobs such as mold and mildew remediation and for removal of grease and soap scum, use products designed for and effective at handling that specific task.

Just Right Spaces

Prior to school getting back in session, it is important to ensure that the right products are being paired with the right spaces. Consider performing an assessment of your school facility to understand where the risks are and which spaces will need the most attention. Hot spots for germs and other messes often include high traffic areas such as restrooms, classrooms, hallways, locker rooms, and gyms. Disinfectant wipes and spray products work well on frequently touched surfaces in these areas to effectively remove germs and other dirt.

Just Right Training

When it comes to cleaning and disinfection, products are only as effective as those using them. Staff should be properly trained and have up-to-date protocols which provide clear direction for cleaning and disinfection activities in schools. Don’t forget one of your biggest helpers in classroom cleaning is the teachers. It is important that teachers be provided with disinfectant products to help keep their classroom clean. We recently did a study of classroom disinfecting and found that all the desks in a classroom could be treated with disinfecting wipes in as little as 3 minutes.2 This not only shows the ability for efficient classroom cleaning to take place, but enables teachers to perform more frequent cleaning, helping to keep a cleaner and safer facility throughout the day.

By identifying products, ensuring adequate supply, evaluating spaces, and engaging with trained cleaning staff and teachers, school facilities can be prepared for back to school and like Goldilocks, rest well knowing that everything is “just right.”


1. Wißmann, J. E, et al. (2021). Persistence of pathogens on inanimate surfaces: A narrative review. Microorganisms, 9(2), 343.
2. CloroxPro. Time in Motion Study 2.0 RTU Sprays and Wipes. 2023.