The 5 Worst Messes Kids Creates and How to Clean Them

Published on Oct 19, 2021

how to clean up common kids' messes

Cleaning before children was a whole different ballgame.

It was simple, efficient, and free from the sticky unidentified goo and countless interruptions.

Here are the most common kid-related chores and some handy hacks to help you get ahead of the game.


5 Common Kids' Messes and How to Clean Them


1. Gritty floors

how to deal with gritty floors

Let me set the scene. It’s been a long day and you’ve just brought your child home from daycare. As you start their bath and prepare dinner, your child takes their shoes off. And empties the entire contents of the daycare sandbox onto your floors. The first thing to do when this makeshift beach appears in your kitchen is to grab a dustpan and brush (or vacuum), contain the sand, and be as thorough as possible. Sand could scratch your hardwood or tiles so it’s best to put the bath on hold and get on top of this.

You could also implement a shoes-off at the door policy to keep any sand or mud outside.


2. Sticky tiles

Some sites recommend vinegar, but because it can etch natural tiles and wear down hardwood floors, it isn’t your best option. Mix a squirt of dishwashing detergent (pH neutral) in a bucket of warm water to wipe down the area. Dry the area properly to ensure it isn’t slippery.


3. Furniture drag marks

how to avoid furniture drag marks

My 3-year-old has recently taken to moving her portable step around the house to take on important tasks (such as retrieving snacks from the pantry). Unfortunately, our timber floors are paying the price. How to fix this? Pop felt pads on the bottom of any items regularly dragged across the floor.

Try to minimize the use of items on wheels (bikes, doll prams, toy trucks, etc) on hard floors where you can.


4. Dinner messes

split food on floor

After dinner, you can usually pick the child’s seat by the circle of mess left underneath. For babies or toddlers, you can put a mess mat under certain seats to keep the scraps in check. It’s also worth giving under the table a quick check and wipes after meals. It takes a minute or two and could save you from uncovering a nasty surprise during your weekly floor clean.


5. Vomit

how to clean child's vomit

This is one of the most unpleasant stains and it often occurs in the middle of the night. Arm yourself with some old towels and baking soda, and follow our tips here to get that stain (and signature stench) out of your house for good.


6. Urine

how to clean urine stains

Toilet training is always challenging. Unfortunately, this means that our mattress, carpet, or lounge become stained with urine that isn’t always easy to get out.

These disposable mattress protectors do a great job of containing accidents – they were a life-saver when we were toilet training. You can also buy washable bed pads, which are more expensive, but still cheaper than replacing a mattress.

For couch or carpet accidents, try our stain treatment tips.


7. Red cordial

how to treat cordial stains

Although tasty for kids, cordial is disastrous for carpets. The key factor is to act quickly – following these tips could mean a red cordial spill isn’t necessarily curtains for your carpets.


8. Wall art 

how to remove crayon stains from wall

Here’s a handy tip. Rubbing alcohol (also known as Isocol) does a phenomenal job of removing ink. Put some of the alcohol onto a white cloth or towel and gently blot the artwork. Make sure you do a test on a hidden area first if you’re using it on your lounge. It works, but it does take time and patience.


9. Endless Laundry

how to do laundry more efficiently

How can someone so small generate so much additional washing? I remember those newborn days well and having to change my daughter’s (or my) outfit a couple of times a day – so much washing! There aren’t many ways around this one, unfortunately. Other than outsourcing to a maid service (the costs are more reasonable than you may think), you’ll just have to make the best of it.

Fold while you’re watching television or listening to your favourite music. Better yet, if the kids are older, teach them to fold their own clothes. At the very least, kids as young as 3 or 4 should be able to take their own clothes to their room.


10. Toy troubles

how to store children's toys

Great storage is the key to a decluttered home and toys are no different. If everything has a place, then clean-up time should be a cinch.

Set aside an area of the loungeroom for toys and ensure nothing leaves that area. Remember to make use of bedrooms as well – here’s how to keep on top of a messy bedroom.

Make a game of quick clean-ups after playtime, or make ‘take one out, put one home’ a playing policy. A new toy can’t be brought out for playing with until one has been put away.


Final Note

And there you have it, a few foolproof ways to keep on top of the kid-related mess. On a side note, embracing a little bit of mess isn’t altogether a bad thing.

Some experts argue that making mess stimulates creativity, motor skills, and problem-solving for small children – a little inspiration to put your feet up and ignore that pile of Barbies in the corner of the lounge room!

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