A Parent’s Guide To Cleaning Up After Your Gross Kids

UGH. Who decided this was a GOOD IDEA??

1. If your bathtub has seen better days…

Just fill half and half with vinegar and dish soap, and make sure to rinse the tub out afterward. Even better…turn it into a game for your kiddos and let them do the scrubbing for you. From here.

2. Booger wall blight? Clean with a warm, damp cloth and some soap.

The trick is to rehydrate them first — hold the cloth over the offending nose gems for a few moments, then wipe away. Lovely booger illustration from here.

3. When you haven’t really wiped down that high chair for a few days…

..the spray-and-soak method works wonders. It’s the same basic principle as cleaning that dish that’s been sitting in the sink for too long. Use a toothbrush to scrub out the nooks and crannies, then wipe down with something antibacterial. From here.

4. Using cloth diapers? Try a Cloth Diaper Butler.

This way, you can flush the soil down the toilet. See how here. Alternatively, you can just hold onto the diaper while you flush the toilet.

5. BANISH those poop stains in three steps:

1. Hold the offending item in the toilet and flush (while holding onto it!) until the biggest particulates are gone. See the cloth diaper technique above.

2. Treat with hydrogen peroxide and rinse well, although be aware that hydrogen peroxide can discolor dark fabrics.

3. Lay out in the sunshine.

6. How do you decide when to clean and when to toss, though?

That’s the real challenge. From here.

7. Get pee stains out of the mattress…

…and buy a mattress cover so you don’t have to clean it again. Directions here.

Don’t forget, if your child wets the bed, make sure they know it’s not their fault.

8. Let’s do something less gross now: carpet stains.

Red Kool-Aid? Mystery mud that’s dried and set? Have no fear: ammonia, hot water, and an iron will get, like, anything out. From here.

9. If your toddler’s somehow turned their jeans a grass-green…

…pre-treat the grass stains with dish soap and hydrogen peroxide.
Then rinse and launder normally. Spoonful tested several different recipes, and this one came out on top.

10. When you’re doing laundry, and discover some used gum squished in a pocket…

Just sandwich the gross bits between two ice cubes. Wait for half an hour. Scrape with butter knife. Full directions here.

11. Oily fingerprints on your fridge?

This is (one of the many, many reasons) why we can’t have nice things. Try this DIY stainless cleaner.

12. When your fairy princess gets glitter all over her bedroom carpet, pick it up with a lint roller.

Vacuum first, of course. From here.

13. If finger paint somehow makes its way into his hair…

Hey, maybe he had an itch. The best thing you can do here: get it out, ASAP. There are lots of strategies to help get it out once it’s dried, but they don’t always work.

Next time, give him a beret, or a shower cap…if you can get him to wear it.

14. When the hand-knit blanket smells a little too much like the crib, you can wash it.

Sure your kiddo messes up everything he or she touches, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t cover them up with that hand-knit blankie her aunt spent HOURS making for her.

The specific washing instructions vary with the type of yarn used, but make sure you don’t stick it in the dryer — you should “reshape and lay flat to dry”, maybe on top of a beach towel. More detailed instructions here.

(Are you the yarn-loving aunt? Get the pattern here).

15. Make cleanup easier by spreading a blanket over the play area first.

150hp/Creative Commons

You can also try an old tablecloth or sheet.

16. If the sick day is over, but the vomit smell still lingers…

Try these techniques to defeat that stench. (It’s even worse if it gets on a favorite stuffed animal.)

17. Scraped knee at a picnic? Treat the bloodstain with cola.

After treating the knee and the bruised pride first, of course. From here.

18. When they turn your living room walls into a canvas, get the ink off with hairspray.

Supposedly you can also use toothpaste.

If they love drawing on the walls, you could use chalkboard or dry erase paint in their bedroom.

19. Detangle Rapunzel’s hair with fabric softener.

And patience. Always patience. Tutorial here.

20. If the summer heat fused a green crayon with your car’s upholstery…

Scrape off what you can with a butter knife, then spray with WD-40, and dab with dish soap.

21. Machine wash legos in a mesh laundry bag.

Then spread out over a mesh sweater rack to dry. From here.

22. When your carpet gets a Playdough massage…

…pick up the chunks that you can, then wait for the rest to dry. When it’s dry, rub your carpet with a stiff brush and vacuum up the bits. Full instructions here.

23. Did he get his hands on a permanent marker?

This mom used tea tree oil to clean her kiddo’s skin (make sure it’s diluted, of course). For most other things, you can use rubbing alcohol to get the marker out.

24. Beloved doll smelling a little funky?

Wendi Gratz/Creative Commons

All of those kisses and cuddles can really dirty a doll up. If the toy’s washing instructions aren’t really clear, try hand-washing with a gentle detergent. More info here.

25. When they super glue their fingers together (you don’t even want to know how that happened)…

vissago/Creative Commons

Use warm, soapy water, and gently peel the fingers apart. Acetone (that is, nail polish remover) can work, too. Get more instructions here.

26. Try to make the problem part of the solution (that means: teach your kids to clean up after themselves)

Frisno/Creative Commons

So much easier than it sounds, sure. But there are lots of techniques to help you out.

But remember that messes are some of the best parts of being a kid!

adwriter/Creative Commons

Do your best to never get mad at a mess — it’s part of growing up!

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