From soft clay in your carpets to IFO’s (identified floating objects) in your bathtubs, there are no shortages of natural disasters your bundles of joy can cause in your homes.
You can dress it up in princess or cowboys suits all you want; even the smallest children can make the biggest, most aggravating messes.
Our love for them goes on. But these following tips can help you contain the five biggest child-made cleaning disasters while maintaining your sanity.
The Play-Dough Play-Date Disaster
I used to love Play-Dough. It’s stood the test of time, survived the technology competition, and remained a mainstay of children’s favorite playthings.
However, the thing that is at risk of not surviving is your carpet.
Puppies, cookies, houses, cars, suns, moons, and stars are all super cute when your child makes them out of Play-Dough. That is, until those things fall on the floor, and especially your carpet.
Don’t panic. And don’t wipe! Doing so will only dig the dough in further or smear it around. Use more Play Dough in larger, blob form to pick up whatever pieces you can get still left on the table or play surface.
Pick up all larger pieces you can off the floor by hand and allow the smaller pieces to dry and harden, whether a tile-based floor or a carpet/rug.
On the tile-based floor, use a vacuum cleaner, broom, or dry paper towel to remove the hardened pieces. You can check out Vacuum Judge to see your options for a vacuum cleaner.
For those pieces stuck in your rug, you’ll have to go to town with a comb, brush, or any object (say a credit card or hard-plastic lid) that will break up the pieces and shake them loose from the carpet fibers. Then run your vacuum as much as needed.
In the event of a stain, use rubbing alcohol on a cloth and blot. If alcohol is too strong for your purposes, blot with dish soap and cold water.
I Scream For Couscous. I Scream at Couscous. And Rice. And Wet Cereal
Unless you’re going to keep a service goat in the presence of your eating child, you are going to get small pieces of food on your floors after each meal.
Food items like rice, couscous, and even wet cereal can be challenging to clean up. The process is similar to Play Dough in that it is simply best to let it dry 1st. Wait an hour or two, then vacuum or sweep as needed.
If anything got smeared into the rug or on your floor, use soap and water after you’ve picked up all you could or rub alcohol to help dissolve it when applicable.
The Milky Way Mishap
Yes, cry over spilled milk. Especially if it dried before you know it was there.
But, if you can catch it immediately, dilute it with soapy water and soak it up with a towel. If you’re lucky enough for the spill to be on something washable, immediately put that item into your machine right after you’ve soaked up as much milk as you could.
For spilled milk that dried, you’ll still have to wet, dilute, blot, and soak up the spot of the spill. You can use baking soda and lemon juice on anything that can handle it (read labels first) to help disinfect and remove the odor.
Commercial products such as Febreze also help contain but not eliminate the smell. Lemon is a natural, powerful cleaning tool but again, be sure your carpet, furniture, the affected area can handle it.
The Indoor Yellow-Snow Storm
The list gets progressively worse, but I wasn’t hiding the fact that it would. Sometimes, accidents happen. And sometimes, they happen undetected while the child is sitting down.
On your fabric chair.
Or your favorite sofa.
Quickly! That is the key here: to move quickly.
Don your rubber gloves and use strong, absorbent paper towels to absorb as much urine as you can. Next, dilute the remaining stain with warm water.
Find a thick towel you can part with and use to blot and soak up the rest of the stain. You’ll have to apply some pressure here.
For odor issues, vinegar, baking soda, and water combinations work, as well as lemon.
It’s not nice to think about. It’s not nice to talk about. And it certainly isn’t nice to discover by surprise (or at all, really).
That doesn’t mean it’s never going to happen, and as a parent, you want to be as prepared as you can be. This bathtub mishap is down-and-dirty and the worst one of all to tackle. Still, a floater in the bathwater needs to be removed.
First, of course, remove your child. If you’re blessed with a second bathroom (thank God you pushed for the extra room!), take your child to the .. .ahem unaffected tub and wash them thoroughly there.
Size and consistency play parts in how you tend to the initial mess. With a younger child or infant, you can likely let a lot of the waste go down the drain. They tend to produce smaller and more liquid waste.
For a more solid situation, you’ll revert to your dog-owning days (provided you don’t own one now) and wear a plastic bag like a glove and remove the waste like you were cleaning up after your pet in a park.
After discarding the item (outside), drain the bathwater and sterilize the tub efficiently. First, you’ll clean the surface with an antibacterial wipe. Spray the tub with a sanitizing spray and even boil water and rubbing alcohol if the mess warrants it.
Allow your disinfecting solution(s) to sit and work for 10-5 minutes before rinsing.
Once you wash your hands of the mess (both literally and figuratively) and put the offending child to bed, do whatever you want – you’ve earned it!