Calgary·Q&A

How kids can stay clean now that they're back in school

According to Sarah McAllister, the owner of Calgary cleaning business Go Clean Co., a new cleaning routine will take up some time — but when adhered to regularly, will eventually be considered a new normal for kids.

The owner of a Calgary cleaning company gives tips on new cleaning routines for students during COVID-19

Spraying down backpacks with disinfectant and leaving shoes in the garage for a day are a few ways to reduce back-to-school germs, according to Sarah McAllister. (Shutterstock/LightField Studios)

Thanks to hundreds of kids in the halls and plentiful high-touch surfaces, going back to school usually means rubbing elbows with germs.

This fall, that prospect carries a much different weight: as classes resume in the midst of a pandemic, teachers, students and parents will likely be on edge at the sound of a lone sniffle.

And with some kids coming home to higher risk relatives, many families are left wondering what they can do to reduce potential exposure.

Luckily, there are a few precautionary measures students and parents can take to help get clean and fight off germs.

According to Sarah McAllister, the owner of Calgary cleaning business Go Clean Co., a new cleaning routine will take up some time — but when adhered to regularly, will eventually be considered a new normal for kids.

She spoke to guest host Rob Brown on the Calgary Eyeopener Tuesday morning to talk about her top cleaning priorities as kids head back-to-school, and give parents and students some tips-and-tricks.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.


Q: What are the most important things that students should be doing to stay clean this fall? 

A: The best thing is to establish a routine when they come home.

So, the first thing to do is take off their shoes, get rid of their masks that need to be washed, sanitize their hands. It's a really good idea to be spraying off their backpacks with Lysol spray or just rubbing alcohol, and then get them to shower.

That's going to just need to be the daily routine when they come home: get clean. If you can get them doing that every single time, it'll just become the normal. 

Q: What about older students who have cell phones? 

A: They need to clean those babies off and not share them, because they pass them around all the time. So you can wipe them off with rubbing alcohol, just something gentle, making sure that they're popping it out of the case as well. 

And it's not just wiping down the screen in the outside of the case — it's taking it out, because it has lots of little tiny crevices, and just making sure you don't get it too damp.

Older kids are going to have to be really conscious of the fact that they shouldn't be sharing a bunch of things — passing around your cell phone to look at it, or backpacks, and things like that. 

Backpacks are also really dirty. People don't realize how often we put them down on the ground, on the bus, everywhere. So that's a big thing, I think, before you bring them into the house. 

Q: What are some of the things you've been seeing people get wrong, or maybe not cleaning as thoroughly as they could be in general?

A: We tend to take off our shoes when we come into the house, but not all of us do, and I think that's a really big thing. I like to keep those in the garage for a day before I bring them back into the house. 

Remember that we need to wipe off those high-touch surfaces with the kids when they come home — the doorknobs, the light switches, everything like that, just to keep yourself safe. 

It's also all about your comfort level. So what makes you feel safe, I think, is what people are going to put the effort in to do.

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener

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