Three Easy Ways to Get Your Tables Cleaner Faster

Some of the messiest areas in our classrooms are the tables where students have been busy creating. As a self-proclaimed clean freak, I like to make sure my room looks sparkling clean every time a new class comes in. So, it’s important to me that my tables are spotless.

In the video, I explain three easy ways to get your tables into tip-top shape. It doesn’t matter whether it’s clay week or a messy painting project, there is a solution in there for you! If you’re tired of a big cleanup at the end of the day or you’d like your room to shine, make sure to take a peek and see how your tables can be transformed.

How do you get your tables cleaned up quickly?

Do you clean your room or do you get students involved in the process? What does cleanup time look like for you?

2 years ago

Jennifer Borel

Jennifer is an middle school art teacher in Kansas who is passionate about creating an organized, well-managed environment where students feel comfortable to learn and explore.


  • Mel

    I got my janitor to give me a bunch of cleaning rags, and on messy days I wet and wring out six rags (one for each table) and put them in a basket at the front of the room. After clean up the table mangers collect a damp rag to scrub down their table. Every few days the janitor collects the rags and washes them. It’s been a fantastic FREE way to keep the tables clean. The janitor appreciates it’s less paper towels being used, and he just washes my rags with the ones he needs to wash from his own cleaning.. so it’s not really any extra effort on his part.

    • Yes! My janitor gave me rags too! No more paper towel waste. Do you find your rags get smelly after a few days? That’s one of the reasons I use a spray bottle so they rags aren’t soaked. My janitor has been nice enough to come and collect the dirty rags each day and give me clean ones.

  • Pam Tycer

    I sent a note out to parents that I need towels. Every once in a while I get a bag of them. One of my parents works at the local health club and saves the tattered towels for me. I cut them into strips and hang them on the bracket on each corner of the art room tables. The students use the rags to dry their brush when painting and then to clean tables at the end of art class. I too use a spray bottle with a few drops of dish soap and water in it to clean tables. I never let the kids spray it though. I also use cardboard cut to 24 x 18 inches to keep the tables clean. Each student puts one under their painting while they work to catch any paint off the edges or spills. Students then put their work and the cardboard on the drying rack. The cardboard supports the work in transit to the rack and while the painting is drying. After many months of use, these cardboard panels look beautiful with all sorts of random colors of paint splatter. We sometimes use this cardboard in art projects. I have often thought I should frame one! I have also used the painted cardboard to make artsy looking signs for our art show.

    • Pam, the idea to use cardboard under your paintings is fabulous. Transitions to the drying rack can always be tricky. But something sturdy under the artwork would solve these issues. Do you ever have paintings that get stuck to the cardboard when they dry?

      • Pam Tycer

        No, not unless I use finger paint paper. I am fortunate to have good quality paper that is donated to our school. Sometimes I have students rotate to all the tables carrying their paintings on the cardboard. I put one color of paint with 4 brushes on each table. Kids are roaming and creating. They love this!

  • Gloria Budz

    In one of the conference presenter’s videos of her classroom, I took note that she had laminated lg. sheets of colored paper or oak tag. I just laminated 32 pcs of oak tag for $22. They should last a very long time( I’m HOPING)! They will be easy to wipe down for more messy projects. The sheets are bright colors and will brighten up my room with black top tables.

    • I love this idea very much. I’m thinking it might have been Cassie’s presentation. I also love that it brightens the room with bright colors!

  • Pat Barry

    When we paint I have 24″ by 30″ laminated mats that set in the middle of the tables and hold paints, water, brushes etc. so usually that’s the area of intense spills or dribbles. These are easily cleaned by the student with that responsibility at the end of each class with paper towels that hang off the table leg at the end.

  • Pat Barry

    If we are doing very messy processes, then I use old paper book covers from the bookroom under each students’ piece to catch overpainted small messes…at the end of class these are left for the next class if they are painting, and are usually dry to use or are stacked on the floor by the drying rack in a pile to be used later.