Saturday, September 26, 2015

Common Kid Messes and How to Clean Them

New parents are always asking, "Why does my toddler make such a mess?" A better question might be, "How soon can we open a bottle of wine after the kid goes to bed?" Kids are going to make a mess. That's their mission in life at this stage of development. 

You can fight it or embrace the mess. Thankfully, there are plenty of tried-and-true methods for cleaning up the most common of kid messes. This is one blog post you'll definitely want to bookmark!


The hope of every parent is that children find a way to express themselves. This usually starts with a handful of crayons and a coloring book. Good luck with getting the crayons to actually show up on the book. Instead, once a kid learns crayons are for drawing, you can expect those drawings to show up on just about any surface of your home. That includes walls, countertops, floors, televisions and furniture.

Thankfully, crayon makers have heard the cries and answered the call by coming up with washable crayons. At least, that is the theory. Often those crayons will end up on a fabric sofa or carpet. If they aren't wiping up, then blast them with a hair dryer. That will soften the wax for more efficient removal. It's always best to attack the crayon stains as soon as they happen. Of course, snap a picture of the art first.

Spilled Milk

This is nothing to cry over. Actually, spilled milk is only a problem when it gets on fabric. If left to dry, that old milk can create a sour smell. Blot the spill on a carpet. For extra absorption, try lemon juice on the stain but test a small area first to make sure it won’t discolor anything.

Permanent Marker

Permanent marker isn’t so permanent when you know these few tricks. For marker on wood, use toothpaste to get it out. If your child (or you, because we know that’s happened) gets permanent marker on upholstery use rubbing alcohol or non-oily hairspray.

Juice Spills

Just because it comes in a box doesn't mean it won't end up on your rug. As with most messy fabric stains, it is best to blot as opposed to rub. Once the blotting is complete, whatever is left behind can be treated with one quart water, a tablespoon of white vinegar and a teaspoon of laundry detergent. Let the mixture sit on the juice stain for several minutes then rinse with water.

Chewing Gum

Once your child has mastered the concept of chewing gum without swallowing it, they will begin to find other ways to dispose of the confection. That will usually involving putting it in a sibling's hair, on a car seat or in the carpet. When that happens, it's time to break out the ice pack. Freeze the gum and it will be easier to pull up. If there is some residue, then freeze again and use an old toothbrush to scrap it off.


As soon as your kid discovers the simple joy of stickers, you can count on them showing up everywhere. To get them off the things they shouldn't be on, try rubbing them with baby oil or WD-40. That should help with the gluey residue.

A rapid response to these common kid messes is vital. However, sometimes those stains can go unnoticed or you don't have the time to tackle them right away. For a stubborn stain on the carpet you might need to bring in the heavy guns. Professional carpet cleaning extractors will certainly get the job done. They're also easy to rent on an as-needed basis.

Once you tackle those stains and get the kids to bed, you can finally relax with that bottle of wine. Just be sure not to spill any on that clean carpet …

BIO: James works in construction and blogs in his free time at Homey Improvements. He also enjoys hiking, photography, and buying new gadgets. Follow him on Twitter @DIYfolks.