How to handle the springtime messes your kids get into
You’ll be happy that your kids can get outside again to play, but not with the extra work involved in cleaning them up afterwards.
But don’t worry, we’re here to help you tackle the main culprits.
1. Mud, mud everywhere
Oh, how little ones love mud! The squelchy squishiness of it is like a magnet for young children, so zip them into their rain gear, slide boots on those little feet and let them splash to their heart’s content. They’ll let off steam and you’ll get a heartwarming moment watching them squeal with delight.
How to master mud clean-up: Leave a change of clean, warm clothes just inside the front door so you can minimise the impact on the house. Once you’ve stripped those muddy clothes off the kids, hang them outside in a covered space to dry off along with the boots. It might be tempting to clean the mud off right away, but once it dries, it will simply brush off, leaving you to sponge down the rest. Simple!
2. Soil and grass from the garden
Getting your kids outdoors is good for both their physical health and emotional wellbeing. The natural bacteria found in soil can help boost the immune system, and being out in nature is good for the soul! To learn more, click here. Just get ready to deal with dirty hands, nails and knees afterwards, so your little ones don’t get muck all over the furniture.
How to master dirt and grass clean-up: Place a bucket of warm soapy water by the door, add a few of the toys they’ve been playing with outdoors and let them give them a wash before coming inside. They get fun water play plus clean hands and clean(ish) nails that will at least do until bath time.
Keep a washcloth handy so you can wipe their knees while they’re distracted, and the worst will be off in no time. Many households make it a rule to take off shoes before coming indoors, and this will stand you in good stead now – although it might be worth checking the bottom of their socks, too…
3. Ice cream stains from a day at the beach
It’s hard to beat a cone on a sunny spring day – but rare is the child who worries about ice cream dribbling down their clothes. But chocolate, strawberry or mint (or a sticky mix of all three) makes for a tricky combo to get out of cotton tees. Unless…
How to master ice cream clean-up: If you can, rinse the tee as soon as the spill happens – cold water is best because ice cream contains protein, which hot water will just set into the fabric. If there’s soap available (even hand soap will do), apply to the stain and rub in. Repeat until the stain has gone but avoid drying the clothing, as once the stain dries in, it’s pretty much impossible to get out.
Once home, use a stain-removing laundry product such as Ariel Original Washing Liquid applied directly to the stain and in your wash. Ta-da! Perfect results in no time.
4. The aftermath of a picnic
Everyone loves a picnic – but with grass and mud (yes, more mud), grease from sausages or burgers, fruit stains, even blood from skinned knees… not much makes it home unscathed. It’s likely your brood is sporting a mix of any and all of the above, but luckily, they’re all easily treated.
How to master picnic clean-up: Pre-treat grass, mud and greasy stains by applying liquid detergent such as Ariel Original Washing Liquid directly to the stain. No need to rinse off – just pop it in the machine and wash on the highest temperature recommended for the garment.
For blood spots, rinse with cold water before applying detergent to the mark and washing as directed.
Stubborn fruit juice stains can be difficult to remove, so try this: make a paste using three tablespoons of baking soda to one tablespoon of water and apply to the stain to help draw it out. Allow the paste to dry for 15 minutes, rinse off and apply a laundry detergent. Then rinse with hot water and apply a stain remover.
If you need to, repeat the stain removal steps until you’re satisfied no trace remains. Wash item as normal, but hang to dry – tumble drying the clothes if they’re still stained will set it for good.
What are your top tips for cleaning up spring messes? We’d love to hear – please share your advice below.