Keeping your house clean when there are kids running all over it every minute of the day can seem nearly impossible. The more of an effort you make to clean and tidy, the more determined little ones seem to be to make a gigantic mess. Being able to get messes quickly under control will not only lower your blood pressure, but maybe even inspire your kids to clean up their own messes before you ever have to. These family cleaning hacks use things you almost certainly have in your home already, and help you keep your house clean and safe without having to hide every single crayon and ketchup packet until your kids turn 18.
Tackle the Kitchen
A Dirty Sponge: Before you even begin cleaning your kitchen, make sure the sponge or dish towel you’re using is clean and germ-free. Using a dirty sponge or towel is like using a raw chicken breast to clean: it moves the gunk around, spreading germs into every nook and cranny. Microwave your sponge for 30 seconds before using it to kill bacteria and keep your family healthy.
A Broken Glass: If you ever drop a glass or ceramic dish, shards can go everywhere and be tricky to see. Sweep up the big pieces carefully, then use a slice of bread to gently press over the areas glass may have gone. The bread acts like a sticky sponge and picks up pieces you might not have caught.
Batch Wash Dirty Toys: Instead of individually ringing off every Barbie doll and Lego piece, fill your dishwasher with plastic toys and run them all through at once on a low temperature setting. This is especially hand if your kids or their friends have been sick recently and you don’t want to risk anyone else catching a bug.
Spills and Scribbles
Misplaced Masterpieces: Use a blow dryer and wet wipe to clean crayon art off of places it’s not supposed to be. Use the blow dryer to heat the wax up and a wet wipe to clean the melted wax off the walls without damaging them. For permanent marker stains, mix baking soda and toothpaste and use the good to scrub away even the most stubborn stains.
Random Red Carpet: Paint, sand, and glitter are a nightmare when you have a carpeted home. Try a lint roller or a ball of playdough to lift tricky glitter and sand piles, then use the best carpet cleaner you can find to clean stains as soon as possible to keep them from setting.
Mess Mastery: Instead of always having to chase your kids around to clean up their stuff, give them each a basket in the family room where they can keep shoes, books, toys, etc. If they leave something out, anyone can toss it in their basket to get it out of the way without having to clean up after them. As soon as the basket is full, they have to empty it out by putting everything back in its place. Giving them a degree of personal responsibility will help them get used to cleaning up after themselves and save you time and stress.
No Empty Hands: Get used to always taking something with you when you leave a room. The more habitual it becomes, the cleaner your house will stay without even trying. Whenever kids leave the car, have each person bring a piece of garbage in with them. Before breakfast each morning, tell them they have to bring an empty glass, dirty laundry, or piece of trash with them when they come to the kitchen. If you want to take it a step further, every time you leave a room take something with you that belongs in the room you’re going to. Slowly, big messes will become little messes, and your house will be a little bit less chaotic every time without any massive effort.
Taking on big cleaning jobs requires time and attention busy parents don’t always have the energy for. Taking little steps every day to keep your house cleaner will not only make it easier when it comes time for spring cleaning, but it will help your family help you keep things in order without fighting.