Back To School: Cleaning School Supplies

Back-to-school time is just around the corner. Families are gearing up to get their kids ready to return to the classroom. But between shoes, clothes, backpacks, and supplies, August gets pretty pricey. Save some cash, and promote reuse and recycling, by cleaning up some of last year’s school supplies.

While not every school supply is cleanable (paper, pencils, and pens usually have to be bought new) here is a list of supplies that, given a little TLC, will look like new.

Pencil Cases

Raise your hand if you have about seven of these already roaming around your home. These containers hold pencils, markers and erasers and can easily be renewed. If the container is plastic, simply clean it with a damp cloth. A little spray of disinfecting cleaner can help erase any lingering germs. Allow the case to dry and you’re good-to-go.

For cloth cases, turn inside out and shake out all the pencil shavings and broken pieces of lead. Soak the bag in warm water with a couple of drops of dish soap added for about 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and let dry.

Math Tools

Protractors, compasses, calculators and rulers can all be re-used after a gentle wipe down with a damp cloth. Add a little vinegar or all-purpose cleaner to help sanitize these items. For dried-on gunk and dirt, use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to get into all the nooks and crannies.


Depending on the material backpacks are made with, they can easily be thrown into the washing machine, inside out, on the gentle cycle. Or wipe down the inside with a warm, damp, soapy cloth and spot clean the outside. Many moms and dads swear by the Tide pen to help make last year’s jelly blowout a thing of the past. Whichever method you choose, hang or lay flat to dry, skip the dryer.


Lunchboxes are specifically made with materials that can be wiped down and disinfected; a cleaning wipe is perfect for this task. Insulated lunchboxes can be cleaned like a backpack and thrown into the washing machine or spot cleaned. Don’t forget to wipe down any ice packs that come with it and wash and dry the thermos.


Plastic binders are easily reused by scrubbing stains and marks with a trusted Magic Eraser. A damp cloth also does wonders. To get out long-forgotten inky artwork, use a little rubbing alcohol to create a clean canvas ready for this year.

Hopefully, these tips will not only save you some green but make you realize you don’t always have to buy new. Recycling and reusing these products keeps them out of landfills and from cluttering your home. Speaking of clutter, if you haven’t taken care to reuse or recycle school supplies from years past, The Maids can help put your home to rights.

You can schedule a one-time cleaning service, recurring cleaning or a same-day cleaning to get your house not only clutter-free but clean and healthy. Give your home a great start to the school year and contact us today for a housecleaning estimate.

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