Cleaning up after the kids

Always after tips on clearing up after the little ones? In need of some advice on caring for the children’s toys so they last longer? Mummy bloggers Pamela Miller and Jade Lloyd give answers to your most-asked kid-related cleaning questions.

“My child has knocked my black coffee on to our cream carpet. How is it best to remove it without damaging the pile?”

Spilt coffee – it’s the stuff of parental nightmares! 

In this case, act quickly. Pat the spilled coffee with kitchen roll to soak up as much liquid as possible, starting from the outside of the stain to stop it spreading.

However much you want to panic scrub or press down hard on the stain, don’t. You risk rubbing the stain deeper into the pile. If you don’t have kitchen roll to hand use a clean dishcloth – using a dirty one may lead to more stains!

After blotting the stain, flood it with cold water. This thins and lightens the stain.

As stain removers and carpet shampoos go, there are numerous ones available. Ensure you buy the correct one for your type of carpet, that you blot or use circular motions when applying, that you ventilate the room after use, and that little fingers are kept away from any nasty chemicals too.

A big advocate of ‘housewife remedies’, I would suggest a tablespoon of washing up liquid or three tablespoons of white vinegar added to a cup of lukewarm water over the mark.

Having used a remover (be sure to follow the exact instructions) or one of the above home remedies, then take a dry cloth to blot up any remaining liquid. Let the pile dry and then hoover over the affected area.

For dried on stains, leave the remover to on for longer (again, check with the instructions) or leave the washing up liquid/vinegar mixture to soak into the stain for 5 minutes.

If the above measures don’t work, you could either hire a professional carpet cleaner (and then bill your child when they turn 18!) or enquire as to whether the damage is covered by your home insurance.

You can read more by Jade Lloyd at theparentingjungle.com/.

“My toddler's toys get so grubby with dirt, grass stains and water marks. What's the most effective way of cleaning them?”

It’s hard to imagine what the kids have been doing with their toys when you see how grubby they’ve become after only a short period of time.

By far the quickest and simplest solution for plastic or wooden toys is to use some soapy water and a sponge (try an old toothbrush for tricky areas) to shift dirt. For outdoor toys and bigger items (like play houses and cookers), spraying them down in the garden with a pressure washer usually works.

For the more fiddly toys, such as footballs, dolls, and games with different pieces, place them all in a bucket or large tub of multi-purpose cleaner and warm water and let them soak for a while. Again, use a toothbrush for any awkward nooks and crannies at the end. Any stubborn marks that still remain can then be tackled with a stronger multi-surface cream cleaner.

For any really tough stains on plastic toys, you can dilute a few tablespoons of bleach into around five litres of warm water and soak them in that. Of course, be sure to rinse the toy thoroughly before giving back to your child.

If you have any fabric toys in need of a wash, you can either hand wash them with laundry detergent and a stain remover, or place them inside an old pillowcase on a slow cycle in the washing machine.

To avoid any streaks or watermarks, make sure you give all the toys a dry off with a towel.

If you’re still bothered by certain stains and marks, and want to breathe new life into a plastic playhouse or scooter, say, there are spray paints available to give your toys a bit of a makeover. Wooden toys can be protected for a good few years by applying a varnish or an anti-stain paint. 

You can read more by Pamela Miller at lifewithmunchers.com.

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