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By: John Adams, author of and dad of two young daughters
Posted on: Nov 1, 2019

How Cleaning for the Family Changes Over Time (and How You Can Change With It!)

TCH's guest blogger, John Adams (aka Dadbloguk), shares his thoughts on cleaning for the family and how it changes as children get older.

I recently found myself on my hands and knees cleaning nail varnish off the bathroom floor. It had been spilled by my eldest daughter while painting her nails. Shortly after this, I was in the kitchen with my youngest daughter asking her why the top she was wearing (which was meant to be white) was an odd shade of brown. It turned out she had been curious to know what chocolate powder tasted like so had spooned some into her mouth…but had got it all over her top at the same time.

It’s instances like this that have made me realise how cleaning up after my children has changed over the years. And as my children get older, what I clean and how I clean has changed with them.

Once upon a time it was all about keeping the changing station clean and hoovering up breadcrumbs from the floor. There was maybe the occasional spilled drink and clothes might get dirty if they’d played outside, but that was it. As my daughters get older, they’ve become more independent and their interests have changed. These days I frequently find myself removing make-up stains from the carpet. I also regularly speak to the kids because they’ve got ink on their bed sheets after doing arts and crafts in bed.

So, what can you do to ensure your cleaning adapts to the different stages of family life?

Find a good multipurpose cleaner

I was horrified when I found my daughter’s spilled nail varnish in the bathroom. I thought I’d never be able to shift it. However, I’ve discovered nail varnish is very easy to clean from hard surfaces using a multi-purpose cleaning solution. The one thing you should never do is use nail varnish remover. It may sound like a good idea, but it will strip the colour from any painted or lacquered surface.

Swap harsh chemicals for eco-friendly products

With children who are slightly older and who enjoy dressing up, we have a lot more mirrors in our house than we used to. For years we had one mirror in the family home but they’re now in every bathroom and bedroom. They often need cleaning because of the hand prints the kids leave behind, so I use a wonderful, eco-friendly cleaning product for mirrors and windows. It relies on a corn-based cleaning agent instead of ammonia, cleans very well, and saves me from using harsh cleaning products in places the kids might play.

Maintain a cleaner, fresher family home every day - choose products and surfaces enhanced with Microban antimicrobial technology.
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Lay down some ground rules

Something I struggle to keep clean is the car. With school runs and trips to after-school clubs and other activities, my offspring are often leaping in and out of the vehicle, getting messy hands over the windows and interior. If we ever do a trip to the beach, we seem to travel home with half of it and I find myself vacuuming sand for days! When they were younger, my children travelled from one place to another and everything they needed was kept in a changing bag. These days they leave dirty sports kit behind, get the interior dirty and change the radio station so I never quite know what I’m listening too! That’s why I like to impose some basic rules for avoiding a car disaster zone, such as banning consumption of food and drink, and using car organisers.

There has been one very positive change as my children have got older; they will help tidy up and clean. Sure, they sometimes need a bit of encouragement, but they actually like washing the car and using the vacuum cleaner. We generally insist they spend some time each day tidying and cleaning their bedrooms. This gets them used to the idea of looking after themselves and thinking independently - after all, one day they will leave home and my wife and I won’t be there to clean up after them. Although when that day comes, I’m not too sure I’ll know what to do with myself!