Kids can be messy, but their bedrooms don't have to be. Put these quick-clean tips into practice and children's bedrooms can stay spotless.
To clean a child's room, you must first declutter it. Kids as young as 3 can help by tossing toys into open bins, putting books back on low shelves, and placing dirty clothes into a laundry basket.
Washable toys can be cleaned with a soft brush and soapy warm water. Disinfect plastic toys by soaking them in a mild bleach-water solution for 10 minutes. Rinse and dry before returning to your child's toy chest.
Use a lint roller or lint brush to whisk dust off of fabric lampshades. With the lamp off, dust the base and bulb with a soft cloth or dusting wand.
Extra tip: Enlist your grade-schooler to use the lint roller on anything fabric-covered in his or her room. In addition to lampshades, this cleaning technique works on ottomans, soft furniture, and even fabric toys.
First, remove all items from the tops and shelves of dressers, bookshelves, and nightstands. Next, give each piece a thorough dusting, top to bottom. Don¿t forget the sides and feet. Use a thin cloth moistened with cleaner appropriate to the furniture's material (wood, glass, plastic) to wipe away fingerprints. For a deeper clean or to maintain fine wood furniture, rub lemon oil or other polish onto the surface of the piece. Use small, even strokes. Wipe and buff with a dry, soft cloth for a final shine.
Extra tip: It is best not to use cleaners or polishes inside drawers. Instead wipe them out with a dry cloth or use the soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner.
Get a sparkling clean finish by wiping down mirrors and windows with a lint-free cloth or paper towel. Better yet, ask older children to clean their mirrors and windows using this green technique: Dip crumpled newspaper into a shallow dish of distilled white vinegar and wipe the mirror until it begins to dry. Give it a final shine with a soft cloth or another piece of dry newspaper.
Dust blades with a long-handle fan duster. Or, wipe blades with a cleaning cloth or paper towel moistened with all-purpose cleaner. Use the fan duster to touch up hard-to-reach light fixtures and hard-surface mobiles, too.
Extra tip: If there is a lot of dust accumulated on the blades, place an old towel or drop cloth on the floor or bed below the fan to catch any runaway dust bunnies.
Give the corners of the bedroom and the ceiling line a pass with a cloth or dusting wand to capture dust and spiderwebs. Remove crayon marks with a light scrub using a damp rag dipped in baking soda. Need an allover deeper clean for the walls? Mix 1 cup of baking soda, 1 cup of white distilled vinegar, and 1/2 cup of ammonia into a gallon of warm water. Dampen a sponge or cloth with this mixture and wipe down walls and woodwork.
Strip linens at least every two weeks (little hands can help with this task) and wash in the hottest water recommended on the care labels. Wipe down headboard and footboard with a cloth and cleaning solution appropriate to the bed's material. Vacuum under the bed. Use brush attachment to vacuum under the top bunk and around the edges of the mattress and box spring.
Extra tip: Check your pillows' care labels for washing and drying instructions. Many pillows can be put through a medium- or high-heat dryer cycle to freshen and fluff them. If the mattress requires spot cleaning for stains, avoid using excessive water, as it can encourage mold growth in the mattress. And make sure the mattress is completely dry before redressing the bed with mattress pad and linens.
Be careful: What looks like trash might be a part of a school project in progress! Get your child involved in cleaning his or her homework station. Suggest tasks such as stacking books, organizing school notes, and corralling supplies in kid-friendly canisters or bins. Require a full desk clean-off once a week so the desktop can be wiped down with an all-purpose cleaner.
For a hardwood floor, a weekly sweeping with a dry mop or broom is sufficient. Deeper cleaning will require a little more elbow grease. A floor sealed with polyurethane can be damp-mopped. On floors treated with other sealants (such as shellac or varnish), use a cleaner or polish and a wax mop. Rub in the direction of the grain.
Shake out small area rugs outside. (Older kids can handle this and might actually think it's fun.) Check care labels: Some small rugs are machine washable.
Vacuum weekly, using a crevice tool attachment to get into corners and edges.