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20 Cleaning Tips Parents Will Wish They'd Known About Sooner

Because you can't follow them around with a can of disinfecting spray 24/7. The products in this post were updated in April 2018.

1. First, ~safely~ store your cleaning supplies so kids can't get into the potentially harmful chemicals.

2. Toddler-proof your floor coverings by investing in an outdoor rug that's better at handling spills and stains.

3. Clean their backpacks — aka their mobile bacteria hubs — on the reg.

4. Speaking of mobile germ catchers, give your phone and tablets regular wipe downs with sanitizing cloths, especially before you pass them off to the tot to keep them quiet at a restaurant.

5. Designate a mudroom area so that they won't track icky stuff into the house.

6. Add a doormat to both the inside and outside of your entry doors...that way you can stop more dirt from entering your home easily switch the welcome wagon when you feel like it.

7. Clean those car seats! One study found they typically harbor TWICE as many germs as a toilet seat.

8. Wipe a pacifier or toy that fell on the ground with your shirt instead of cleaning it with your mouth.

9. If kids want to "help" clean, start them off with matching socks.

10. Sanitize a sippy cup with white distilled vinegar, a bowl, and hot water.

11. Always make your kids wash their hands before eating meals.

12. Loosen stuck-on debris from a high chair by spraying it with a white vinegar-and-dish soap solution and plastic putty knife.

13. Throw hard plastic toys — especially Legos — in a mesh laundry bag and then in the dishwasher to sanitize them.

14. Hand wash soft plastic and rubber toys. And spot treat plush toys.

15. Deal with a soiled mattress the right way.

16. Erase crayon marks from walls and other surfaces with WD-40.

17. Wash potty-training underwear that's soiled from an accident in a freshly flushed toilet.

18. Leave blowout cloth diapers out in the sun to help remove stains.

19. Avoid mold-prone toys and follow a toy manufacturer's directions for cleaning.

20. And clean up the soles of kids' shoes with a Magic Eraser.

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