Cleaning the plastic slide along with other playground equipment from time to time is crucial for your child’s health. The slide is exposed not only to outdoor pollutants, but also to the sweat, mucus and blood of others using it. Hence, a thorough cleaning is necessary to prevent disease. Besides, the dirt and scuff marks that reside on the slide make the child’s clothes messy, making you clean them more often. Find below a guide on how to clean plastic slide.
Step 1. Wash the slide
First and foremost, you have to wash the slide to remove dirt and dust from it. Do it once a month or more often during the peak season of playground activity to prevent tough stains and keep the equipment sanitized and safe to use. Here is how you wash the slide:
- Start by rinsing the slide with a jet of water using your garden hose. This will wash the dust away and make cleaning easier.
- Make the cleaning solution. Take an empty bucket and put 2 tablespoons of regular detergent in it. Then fill the bucket with water and mix well to create suds. PlaygroundResource suggests to add 1 cup of white vinegar to the solution if your play equipment has mold and mildew.
- Soak a rug in the foamy solution and run it across the slide. Wipe vigorously using up-and-down motions to loosen the stuck-on dirt. Follow up with a brush if needed to deal with the tough grime.
- Rinse using the garden hose or a bucket of clear water. Take your time to remove all soap residue to prevent child’s interaction with it while playing.
Step 2. Lift stains
Sometimes washing may be enough to bring the plastic slide in sparkling condition. However, if you haven’t cleaned the slide for long, there may be mold and stains on it that spoil its appearance and make the ride messy and slow. To deal with this type of culprits you can use either a bleach-based solution or a vinegary one. Mix bleach and water in a bucket in a ratio of 1:10.
Add the solution in a spray bottle and sprinkle it on the slide. Allow 2 minutes for the bleached water to take its effect. Then grab the brush and scrub until the stains dissapear. Rinse with a generous amount of water to make sure that all bleach residue has gone. Let the slide dry. When completely dry, you may notice that the bleach made the slide less slippery. Luckily, you can easily fix it by polishing the slide surface with some wax, which we will discuss later.
As an alternative to bleach, you can use a mixture of equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Shake it to make the ingredients blend into one. Spray the solution on the slide’s affected areas and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Follow up with a brush to scrub the stains and mold away. If the vinegar scent annoys you and makes you concerned about whether your child will be able to play on the slide, your worries are in vain. The vinegar smell dissipates as the surface dries completely.
Step 3. Tackle scuff marks
Scuff marks are the last standing soldier when it comes to cleaning the playground equipment. They are a result of not cleaning the slide for long and are usually a hard nut to crack for detergent, vinegar and even bleach. You can remove them using fine-grit sandpaper. Make sure you wet the plastic surface before sanding to prevent scratches. Rub the sandpaper with vigour against the scuff marks until they vanish. Use fast motions and focus on one section at a time for a more efficient cleaning.
Step 4. Polish the slide
After cleaning, the slide may become less slippery. To bring back its slick allure, you have to polish it. Take some wax paper and rub it across the slide from top to bottom. Apply vigour on areas with high friction. Adventure World Play Sets recommends to use spray wax in case you don’t have wax paper handy, which provides the same sliding motion.
Tips for using a public slide
Cleaning a slide is always easier when it is located in your backyard. You have all the needed tools on hand to deep clean the play equipment. With slides located in public spaces, like on the premises of an educational institution or in a park, it’s harder. You have to rely on the common sense and responsibility of people in charge of keeping the playground clean and safe. However, the slide’s sanitation may take place at long intervals, which allows dirt, allergens and scuff marks to accumulate. Also, if the playground traffic is high, the transfer of germs from child to child occurs faster. That’s why, there are some hygiene rules to follow when visiting a public playground.
- Keep wet antibacterial wipes on hand to wipe the kid’s hands after they finish playing and disinfect the slide before they use it. You can also use the wipes to clean the dirty slide to make the ride less messy.
- Take a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you. AAA State Of Play suggests it will come in handy when your kid interacts with sick children.
- If there is a public faucet, encourage your kid to wash their hands with soap before and after playing. Make sure, though, they wrap a paper bowl around their hand before touching the faucet handle to prevent the transfer of bacteria.
Being a place of child entertainment, plastic slides require permanent care to ensure they don’t accumulate stains and become a breeding ground for disease-carrying germs. A slide’s deep sanitization starts from washing it with soapy water, then addressing the stains using a bleach-based or a vinegar-based solution along with an intense scrubbing.
Remove scuff marks with sandpaper if any exists, and polish with wax to make the slide more slippery. If the slide is located in a public space, make sure you follow the above mentioned precautions to keep your child away from disease.