Introductory remarks

The term ‘sanitation’ refers to the process of keeping places free from dirt, infection, disease, etc. by cleaning and removing waste. In line with this, the term ‘clean’ refers to the absence of pests, bugs, germs and other hazards. The applicable sanitary standards outlined in this subchapter apply to the entire housing, including private as well as common areas located inside the housing or outside (if applicable). Depending on the national context, the development and monitoring of these standards might be the responsibility of other relevant authorities (e.g. sanitation supervisory bodies).

In bigger facilities, ‘private areas’ refer to the bedroom only, whereas all remaining rooms would fall under the category of common areas. Nonetheless, sanitary standards between different types of common areas differ, e.g. between the kitchen, sanitary areas and other rooms, such as offices or activity rooms. In contrast, in smaller facilities the kitchen, bathroom, as well as other rooms should be regarded as private areas, too.

While the maintenance of adequate sanitary standards falls under the overall responsibility of the relevant authorities in the MS, unaccompanied children may also be involved depending upon their age and development levels. In practice, the latter tend to be responsible for the cleaning of the private areas. In addition, depending on national legislation/regulation, other areas could be cleaned by the children on an educational basis, taking into account the age of the unaccompanied children. Cleaning should be advised and supervised by the staff. In some cases, this would also be remunerated as part of small jobs given out within the collective housing. In those cases, the cleaning process should be supervised by the responsible body, or by a special cleaning company.

A detailed description of responsibilities relating to the cleanliness of the housing should be written down in the house rules.

STANDARD 53: Ensure that cleanliness in private and common areas is maintained.

Indicator 53.1: The housing facility observes a cleaning schedule.

  • Additional remarks: For each area, it is mentioned how often and to what standard it must be cleaned.

Indicator 53.2: The cleanliness of private and common areas of the housing is checked on a regular basis.

  • Additional remarks: Checks take into consideration unaccompanied children’s needs for privacy.

Indicator 53.3: The cleanliness is checked when people move to another room or to a different housing facility.

Indicator 53.4: If unaccompanied children take part in cleaning duties (on an educational basis) it is important for staff members to consider their age and development levels and provides the level of support necessary. It is also necessary that they have access to cleaning products and items, as well as protection equipment such as gloves and masks.

STANDARD 54: Ensure that the kitchen and sanitary areas are well maintained.

Indicator 54.1: The cleanliness of the areas is in line with local and national regulations and standards.

  • Additional remarks: These regulations could for example refer to the regularity of cleaning up so as to avoid inviting rodents and vermin.

Indicator 54.2: The areas are cleaned at least daily (in accommodation centres), or more than once if necessary.

Indicator 54.3: In-depth cleaning of the areas takes place regularly.

  • Additional remarks: In accommodation centres, such in-depth cleaning should take place at least four times a year. The standards of cleanliness of kitchens used by unaccompanied children differs from those expected for professional cooking Good practice with regards to ensuring the cleanliness of the facilities. 

Good practice with regards to ensuring the cleanliness of the facilities
It is considered good practice to:

✓ introduce a cleaning schedule which is written down in a clearly visible manner and verifiable by children;
✓ actively check by staff members that cleaning duties have been completed


STANDARD 55: Ensure unaccompanied children are able to do their laundry or have it done on a regular basis.

Indicator 55.1: When the bed linen is provided in kind and washed by the housing facility it should be washed at least once every two weeks.

Alternative indicators:

Indicator 55.1 a):
Unaccompanied children should be able to do laundry (including towels) at least once a week, which can be done independently or with the necessary supervision; OR

  • Additional remarks: This indicator could be clarified in the national context by specifying the number of washing machines and an adequate possibility to dry the laundry per set number of persons.

Indicator 55.1 b): If a laundry service is available it should be sufficiently accessible at least five days per week (including the weekend).