Updating school cleaning norms

13th of November 2015
Updating school cleaning norms

As Thomas Schulte-Marxloh reports from Germany, there are new standards for school cleaning.

10 years after the first edition of DIN (Deutsche Industrie Norm ~ German Industry Standards) 77 400 – ‘Cleaning services for school premises’ has been completely revisited. The new edition of DIN standards work redefines cleaning requirements and provides guidelines how to provide cleaning services that comply with legal, environmental and hygiene demands.

School provides education to children and teenagers, the basis for a successful life and career. A clean and hygienic learning environment is an important prerequisite for effective teaching and learning; the maintenance of high standards requires qualified cleaning services with expertise of materials, methods and hygiene.

It is a particular challenge for both, school authorities and cleaning companies to keep school premises tidy. Hygiene requirements have to be balanced out with notorious small budgets of schools; both factors define the frame of cleaning services and how they are carried out.

In 2003 the Federal Ministry for Environment noticed some alarming hygiene standards in German schools which were the result of budget cuts for school cleaning and, consequently a reduced frequency; reacting to that, the UBA developed the first edition of the norm.

There is still room for improvement. The time was ripe for a comprehensive revision which included the views of all involved parties like representatives of municipalities, suppliers, research institutes, accident insurances, unions and the UBA; the school cleaning standard had to be updated to consider the latest technologies – not only in terms of cleaning but in the organisation of modern education and the design of schools.

The DIN standard’s main focus remains on minimum standards which guarantee a sufficient level of cleaning of school premises – provided the architectural and organisational requirements are met by the school.

The standards for ‘contractual, environmental conscious and hygienic cleaning’ include duties of the supplier – internal activities and contractual services, define required cleaning methods, specification of services, procedures, extent and frequency of cleaning services and even consider how to control the quality of work.

The specification of services defines the minimum cleaning frequency areas on the school premises. This list is complemented by a ‘nuts-and-bolts’ checklist, taking into account all specific school-related factors that affect the cleaning requirements in schools. The publication of the new DIN- standard provides profound assistance to all ordering and contracting parties who are involved in school cleaning. The DIN standard helps to detect and delete potential flaws of school cleaning and also defines future calls for tender.

The preface of the DIN standard underlines the intention that “a qualified call for tender, realistic specification of required services, professional cleaning services and respective quality monitoring may be the basis to guarantee a compliance with  the minimum requirements of school cleaning – between a desired situation and tight budgets of schools”. Application will hopefully lift the level of hygiene in German schools.


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