Environmentally Friendly Ways to Clean Your Classroom

Environmentally friendly ways to clean your classroom sustainability

Written by Bronwyn
Posted Monday December 10, 2018

Sliding on in to the break, teachers are dutifully cleaning their classrooms from top to bottom. We’ve popped together some of the best tips and recipes to clean your classroom in an environmentally responsible way.

When I first began teaching, it was common practice for teachers to use the final day cleaning their classrooms with their students. Kids would be allocated jobs and could be seen outside on the grass (wearing hats and sunscreen of course), scrubbing desks and tidy trays with all their might, preparing them for their new owners. They actually seemed to relish it. Cool splashes of soapy water were a welcome reprieve from the thick December humidity we know and love here in Queensland, Australia.

But, as the years went on, allergy awareness increased and schools became concerned with children’s potential exposure to chemicals in commercial cleaning products. It became the teacher and aide’s sole responsibility to clean their class set of desks, chairs, walls, windows and whiteboards. Yay.

By embracing sustainable classroom practices we promote a green future for our students and create products which are safe for us all.

Basic Kit for Green-Cleaning Your Classroom


With just a few staple groceries you’ll be able to assemble your basic kit for environmentally aware cleaning. You can then modify this to suit the purpose of each particular cleaning job.

You’ll need:

  • Bicarbonate Soda
  • White vinegar (from distilled spirit – it should say this on the label)
  • Reusable microfiber cleaning cloths
  • Eco-friendly scrubbing brushes

Pop these in your cupboard and you’ll be ready for almost any thrills and spills throughout the year, and ready for the big end-of-year clean-up, too!

Desk and Chair Wash Recipe

Environmentally friendly ways to clean your classroom girl student cleaning teacher school

I’ve got two words for you: Ew, gross.

Over the course of 12 months, desks and chairs can collect a lot of sticky muck (you know what I mean). When it’s time to clean your classroom furniture, you want something that’s going to get rid of all the grime and leave your classsroom sparkling. Mix up:

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon eucalyptus oil or tea tree oil

The oils act as a natural disinfectant and pleasant fragrance. Disinfecting agents and fragrances are some of the more concerning ingredients in commercial cleaning products.

Pop the mixture into a rinsed, recycled spray pack. You may wish to ask students to bring these in so they’re reusing plastics from home.

Classroom Window Cleaner

Environmentally friendly ways to clean your classroom kit green sustainable

When I had my own classroom, I used to love using chalk paint to write spelling words and notices on the windows (and so did my students). At the end of each year, I had to quickly get rid of any evidence of the chalky rainbowy coating. This recipe is specifically for glass and is perfect for using to clean your classroom.

  • 125mL water
  • 60mL white vinegar
  • 4 drops eucalyptus oil or tea-tree oil

Pour ingredients into a spray bottle and shake to mix. Use to clean your classroom windows with a microfibre cloth.

Green Goo Remover for Blu-tack and Chewing Gum

Let me set a scene: you’re cleaning your classroom. You reach under the desk you’re wiping and fear strikes as your hand brushes against hardened glob. (Please be Blu-tack!).

This recipe is really great for removing revolting globs of all kinds:

  • Bicarbonate soda
  • Coconut oil
  • Drop of dishwashing liquid (optional)

Mix the bicarb and coconut oil into a paste and use a spoon to apply a thin layer over the glob. Then use a hard bristled brush and a little elbow grease to scrub off. This also works for persistent sticker adhesive that’s plastered on your classroom walls by kids!

Environmentally Friendly Whiteboard Cleaning Solution

Environmentally friendly ways to clean your classroom kit green sustainable

This solution is not recommended for interactive whiteboards.

When looking into cleaning your classroom whiteboard, your first instinct might be to reach for the expensive commercial spray variety. But our environmentally friendly alternative has to be the easiest cleaning solution ever, and yet it’s so effective at removing stains from dry-erase markers left on whiteboards!

It’s vinegar. Just spray a little onto your board and wipe clean with a microfiber cloth. So simple, inexpensive and best of all, safe! Enlist the student helpers for this one!

Non-Cleaning Jobs and Duties for Kids

Even if your students aren’t able to help with the hands-on side of cleaning your classroom, they can definitely help prepare for the end of the school year. Some jobs that are suitable for kids include:

  • recycling writing books (make sure they take sticky labels off first) and paper (remove staples)
  • returning library books and share resources
  • stacking chairs
  • removing Blu-Tack from the back of posters
  • sorting artwork
  • checking that board games and toys have all pieces.

Here at Teach Starter, we are passionately striving for a green future. Join us in caring for the world we live in by using our Classroom Practices to Promote a Green Future guide for teachers.

Comments & feedback

  • I’m surprised that this article wasn’t written by Ali, she always loved a clean classroom!

    Comment by Matt Bulger on December 12, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    • Hey Matt, great to hear from you!
      Yes, I still love a clean classroom and the smell of dettol! Hope you are on hols and relaxing.
      Hope you are well.

      Official comment by Alison Smith on December 13, 2018 at 9:25 am

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Go Ultimate and score two free sticker books!

Go Ultimate and you will be eligible to claim two free sticker books, delivered to your door (while stocks last).

Not an Ultimate Plan member? Upgrade now...

Go Ultimate

Terms & Conditions: The free sticker books offer is only available to active Ultimate plan members during the promotional period commencing on 6 December 2018 and closes when stock runs out. To claim the promotional gift, claimants must validate their postal details via an online form. Teach Starter reserves the right to change, amend, or end a promotion at any time without notice. 

We Recommend

Teaching Ideas

7 Sensational Sentence Structure Resources and Activities

Read this blog for some of our top sentence structure activities.


28 Punctuation Resources and Activities

Posted Wednesday September 28, 2016 by Holly (Teach Starter)

Our Vision

We believe in a world where every child is inspired to build a purposeful and happy life through learning.

Jill Snape & Scott Tonges (founders)

About Teach Starter

Start saving hours each week...

Free 200+ page pack Easy to use Save hours

Already a member? Log in...