Cleaning hacks aren't just for parents, but I think we can all agree that cleaning gets a lot more complicated when there are kids in the house. Before I became a mom I used to deep clean my bathroom once a month, max (don't judge me), but then I had a son and I think we all know where this is going. My bathroom floor just doesn't feel...natural. There are stains all throughout my house that I can't even identify, and I don't think I want to. Both of my kids are little tornados, swirling through my house and destroying everything in their path. I'll clean the whole house in the morning and by the afternoon it looks like I haven't lifted a finger in months. I think most moms can relate to what I'm saying here (moms who have "live-in help," you can stop reading now). To top it all off, my Roomba just drove through a puddle of my dog's pee this morning and I just ran out of Clorox wipes. FML.
In an effort to help other moms who are on the verge of giving up (and stress eating their children's X-treme Flavor Blasted Goldfish on the couch), here are 20 cleaning hacks for homes with kids. May they help us all.
Anyone who's ever had a toddler knows that sippy cups are basically cesspools of mold and sour milk, especially if they've been sitting in the back seat of the car or under the couch for the past two weeks. If you've ever attempted to clean a sippy cup then you know that there are a million little parts, presumably to prevent spillage (which usually doesn't work). Unfortunately, the dishwasher isn't going to thoroughly clean the inside of the leak-proof valve/straw, so what's a mom to do? Grab a pipe cleaner, soap it up, stick it down the straw and get it clean! You're welcome.
Everyone loses a sock in the wash occasionally, but it happens even more with kid socks (or tiny baby socks). I just did a pile of laundry this morning (which means I took the clothes out of the washing machine and threw them on my bed, where they will stay for the next week). As I was sorting the clothes into piles I noticed that none of my son's socks matched, which means I'll spend most of tomorrow morning trying to find a match before school. This whole thing could have been prevented had I followed the advice in my own article and put all the socks into a mesh bag before washing them. Learn from my mistakes.
Baby wipes aren't just for cleaning your baby's butt (or yours, just sayin'). Believe it or not, baby wipes are some of the most versatile items on the market! If you're a mom of young children you've probably got a pack of these lying around your house, so listen up. Baby wipes can be used for stain removal, dusting, taming flyaway hairs, degreasing frying pans, and cleaning just about anything (including leather, baseboards, household plants, kitchen appliances, plastic toys, the list could go on). They're the gift that keeps on giving.
Anyone who's ever potty-trained a child knows what a pain in the butt scrubbing out those tiny potties can be, amiright?! By sticking a coffee filter in the bottom of your child's potty, you just dump their #2 straight into the toilet and do minor cleanup with a baby wipe! DONE! A standard size coffee filter fits perfectly in the bowl, so it's almost like it was meant to be. FYI, coffee filters are NOT flushable, so just dispose of them in your diaper pail.
God knows why, but small children get a special kind of joy out of drawing on furniture with a ballpoint pen. I clearly remember my daughter writing her name over and over on the back of the couch (where she thought we wouldn't see it). If your child hasn't done this yet, don't get on your high horse, because they inevitably will. It's like a childhood rite of passage, so be ready. Here is your hack- all you need to remove ink stains from clothing or furniture is some hairspray or hand sanitizer. Chances are you already have like 10 mini hand sanitizers hanging on a keychain, so easy peasy.
Every kid wets the bed at some point, especially when they're potty training. Some children continue to wet the bed for years, leaving their mattresses a disgusting shade of yellow. Don't throw out your mattress just yet (only to have them ruin another one)! I have a cleaning hack for you that will get both the stain AND the smell out! The secret ingredients are baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish detergent. First, combine a cup of hydrogen peroxide with 3 tablespoons of baking soda and add a few drops of dish soap. Next, saturate the mattress with the solution and allow it to dry completely. Finally, vacuum up the remaining baking soda residue once the mattress has dried. Simple.
Just like with ballpoint pens, kids are inevitably going to get a hold of a permanent marker and destroy everything in sight. Be ready! Once my child gave himself a full beard with one a black sharpie and I just let him keep it and bring me coffee (it was like having my own hipster barista). Unfortunately, kids often go full a-hole and draw on your furniture or hardwood floors, but I've got a hack for you! Rub some solid white toothpaste (not the gel kind) into the stain with a damp rag or paper towel, and VOILA! Stain be gone!
What is it with kids writing on everything BUT paper? Give a kid a pack of crayons and it's only a matter of time before he goes full Picasso on your freshly painted walls. Thank God I've got a hack for this! Next time you see a drawing on the wall, spray some WD-40 on it and wipe it down with a clean rag. Don't worry, WD-40 will not damage the paint or (most) wallpaper. Who has wallpaper these days, anyway?! BONUS- this hack will also remove crayon marks from kitchen appliances.
As I'm sure most of you moms know, kids are REALLY tough on shoes. I'll buy a brand new pair of sneakers and by the end of the day, it'll look like I picked them out of a trashcan. To keep sneakers looking sparkly clean, try cleaning them with toothpaste! Like with permanent marker stains, the white PASTE (not the gel) works better. Find an old toothbrush and work the paste onto the rubber AND fabric of the shoes, letting it sit for about 10 minutes. Finish up the job by wiping the shoes down with a damp towel.
The dishwasher isn't just for dishes! Put this baby to work and save yourself some serious disinfection time (but first check to see if the toys are dishwasher safe). If they are, just place the toys on the rack (big toys can go on the bottom) and wash using regular dishwashing detergent (which typically includes a disinfectant). Set your dishwasher on the NORMAL cycle and use the heated cycle to dry toys, get rid of germs, and prevent mold. If you are worried about the plastic toys melting, feel free to air dry instead. This is a great idea, especially if one (or more) of your kids is sick.
Let's be real, nothing is nastier than a car seat after a long road trip with kids (or just anytime, really). Whether it's an actual car seat, booster seat, or just a regular seat (like the ones above), car seats get nasty fast! Half the time I don't even know what happened to make them look so freakin' gross, but luckily for moms, there's a cleaning hack for this. Start by vacuuming the seats thoroughly, then mix a cup of Dawn dish soap, white vinegar, and club soda together in a spray bottle and shake to mix. Spray over the stained areas and let sit for 5-10 min, then take a scrub brush and rub in small circles. The stains will begin to lift like magic!
It's happened to all of us- we wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of our kids blowing chunks all over the bedroom floor and we spend the remainder of the night guiding them to the toilet and trying to clean it all up without being sick ourselves. Well, lucky for you guys, I've got a hack for this. Grab some baking soda and sprinkle LOTS OF IT everywhere you see vomit. Let stand for 10-15 minutes (or throw a towel on it and leave it until the morning if you want to). As if by magic, the baking soda will transform all the throw-up into small, odorless clumps of powder that you can easily vacuum up.
Legos are both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, they're great because they can keep your little cherub entertained for hours on end. On the other hand, they are notoriously hard to collect and put away. I've vacuumed up (and stepped on) TONS of stray legos that got left behind after playtime was over. Picking up every single lego is time-consuming and practically impossible, but this hack is here to help. Go to the store and grab a brand new broom/dustbin solely for lego cleanup. This works particularly well on hard flooring, but it'll work on carpet too.
This hack will save you SO much time if your child has been sneezing all over his legos (or if the flu, pink-eye or some other super contagious illness has hit your house). Who has the time to individually clean every single lego?! Most kids have like half a billion or so (I may be exaggerating here). The point is, there's a much easier way to disinfect legos. You know that mesh bag I told you to use so you can avoid stray socks? Use that bad boy for your legos and throw them in the washing machine. Sure, it'll make some noise, but it'll save you a lot of time.
Anyone who's ever had a high chair in their house knows what a pain cleaning up dried up food/baby cereal can be, but this hack is here to save you. Dried up food can get everywhere, especially when you have young kids. At one point in his life, my son managed to get spaghetti sauce on the ceiling by waving his tiny spoon in the air, so they have their ways. Heating up a wet rag in the microwave does WONDERS for softening dry, crusty food, no matter where they've managed to get it.
I know some people who get all their towels monogrammed, but I ain't got the time (or the money) for that! Color coding your bathroom towels can keep kids from fighting over them (because kids will fight over everything) and leaving them on the floor (because now you can tell who did it). Why stop there? Go ahead and color code their laundry baskets while you're at it so you can quickly sort laundry for each child as you take it out the dryer.
My husband and I both know to clip our nails in the bathroom or on a paper towel that we can just toss into the trashcan, but our kids will leave their nasty nail clippings EVERYWHERE (granted, it's tough to clip your nails without sending the clippings flying across the room). This is a pretty good hack, though. Try wrapping the inside of the nail clipper with tape so the clippings will stick to it, then just remove the tape when you're done and throw your clippings away. BRILLIANT!
If you have a child younger than thirteen then I'm sure you're very familiar with homemade slime. At one point my daughter's friend had her own "slime creation" page on Instagram and it was literally just videos of her making slime and playing with it. Even crazier, my daughter followed that thing and liked all of the videos. The crazy is real, guys, so we might as well put this slime to good use. Slime can be very helpful at picking up tiny crumbs, particularly the ones stuck in between keyboard keys or between couch cushions.
One of the worst things about my kids doing chores is the way they fight over cleaning products. Whenever my daughter has the windex, my son wants it. When one has the Clorox wipes, the other is yelling up the stairs, asking for more. Chore baskets are the perfect solution! With chore baskets, each room gets their own cleaning kit, complete with a list of items that go in each basket (which makes replacing cleaning supplies super easy). Praise da lort!
For those of you with infants, we've all been there. I remember the massive diaper blowouts, followed by me throwing out perfectly good onesies because I thought they were beyond all hope. As it turns out, I was wrong. There is a perfectly good hack for getting poop stains out of clothes, and all it takes is a bottle of dish detergent. Start by mixing a tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent with two cups of cool water. Using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with the detergent solution and repeat until the stain disappears.