With children home for months on end during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s likely that their bedrooms and playrooms have become disaster zones. Toys, half-eaten squeeze pouches, dirty clothes, shoes, books, stuffed animals, trinkets, clutter, and just mountains of mess all over. It’s time to get a handle on the chaos and put a regular cleaning routine in place. Not only is it important to get in the habit of cleaning and tidying up kids’ rooms just for appearances (and peace of mind), it’s also imperative to help stop the spread of germs and reduce allergens. After all, kids can be messy, but their rooms don’t have to be. Take a deep breath and put these cleaning tips into practice and children’s rooms can stay spotless, neat, and germ-free.
Before Cleaning: Let the Clutter Go
It’s hard to remember that just a few short years ago, my husband and I were minimalists. In our B.C. (before children) era, we actually moved to new homes several times using only my small hatchback car. Now, with just one tiny human in our home, keeping the clutter at bay is a never ending struggle. We constantly have mermaid Barbies, wooden blocks, toy cars, animal figurines, sparkly shoes, little purses, stuffed animals, crayons, and who knows what else strewn all over the place. Not to mention the tiny pink kitchenette, mini trampoline, or the “child-size” Sven from Frozen we have hanging out in our living room. But, our daughter enjoys her things. I also realize that my child’s toys help to engage her senses, spark her imagination, and encourage her to interact with others. And of course, she also has items that are meaningful to her, like her stuffed rabbit she affectionately calls “Bun-Bun”. So there’s just no way I could simply go through her room and tidy up Marie Kondo-style by getting rid of all of the clutter, as much as I want to sometimes.
However, at least once a month, I do go through her toys and clothing and pick out a few things that she’s lost interest in or outgrown, and either donate them to those in need or pass them on to other mamas. This helps reduce clutter in her room immensely, which makes it easier to keep things clean. Unfortunately, some items are just too damaged to be given away or upcycled. Those little pink sunglasses with one lens? That purple throw pillow that’s stained and missing most of its sequins? Broken board books? Crayon stubs you know you'll never melt into little DIY gifts? Learn to let it all go and enjoy the immediate breathing room.
With such busy schedules, even while we’re all home during the pandemic, it can be easy to forget to tidy up. To get in the habit of regularly letting go of clutter, try setting a reminder on your calendar for the first Sunday of each month to go through your child’s toys and clothes and look for things to donate or toss. If you have older children, make sure to involve them in this process so that you don’t accidentally get rid of something meaningful to them.
Now, let’s get to the cleaning routine:
First: Clean & Disinfect
As all parents know, kids don’t often like to share much of anything – except of course their germs – which they’re more than happy to pass around. While it’s not practical to follow kids around with a spray bottle of disinfectant and hand sanitizer (as much as you may want to), you can rid their rooms of germs with a few simple steps:
1. Start with the Toys
Toys are an absolute germ magnet, and they’re often hard to clean without damaging them – and then there’s also the harsh reality that most ordinary disinfectant products leave behind dangerous residue and pollute the air with harmful fumes. There is a better way: Once a week, wipe down hard toys and playsets to remove any dirt or dust. Then, spray with Vital Oxide disinfectant, and let air dry. No need to rinse. For soft toys, including stuffed animals, simply spray with Vital Oxide and let air dry. Vital Oxide kills 99.9% of germs, including SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19, all while being safe and gentle enough to use around children.
2. Tackle the Surfaces
Wipe down any cupboards, bedside tables, tables and chairs, and desks to remove any dust. Spray with Vital Oxide to disinfect.
3. Fight Germs in Kids’ Bathrooms Every Day
It’s no secret that bathrooms are breeding grounds for germs (and kids’ bathrooms tend to be particularly icky!) so be sure to disinfect doorknobs, handles, faucets, light switches, sinks, garbage cans, training potties, and step stools with Vital Oxide on a daily basis. Not only will Vital Oxide disinfect everything it touches, it will also destroy any lingering odors or unsightly stains. Show your older children how to thoroughly clean and disinfect their bathroom, add this to their daily chore list. Younger children can also be involved! My toddler is always thrilled when I give her a scrub brush and ask her to scrub the bathtub.
Second: Reduce Allergens
After disinfecting, the next step is to get rid of dust, pet dander, dirt, and other allergens. If your child suffers from respiratory allergies or asthma, it’s essential to eliminate allergens in areas where your child spends most of his or her time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asthma is the leading chronic disease in children. Reducing allergens in your child’s bedroom can go a long way to help keep asthma symptoms at bay and to prevent respiratory allergy symptoms. Take these steps to limit your child’s exposure to allergens at home.
1. Move Things Around
If it’s been awhile since you’ve vacuumed under that epic fort (or in our case, a giant, sparkly pink princess castle tent) in the corner of the room, it’s definitely time to move things around – or at least move them to the middle of the room while you’re cleaning. It’s not only the best way to clean out all the nooks and crannies, but it’ll also allow you to wipe down all of the baseboards, windowsills, doors and walls. Dust any decorative items, light fixtures, and lampshades while you’re at it. Wash any windows, and wipe down any picture frames and mirrors using a cloth and Vital Oxide. Bonus: You can also use Vital Oxide to remove any crayon marks from the walls.
2. Wash Linens
According to David Stukus, MD, associate professor of pediatrics in the division of allergy and immunology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, “the main allergens to worry about are dust mites and pet dander,” inside your child’s bedroom. To reduce these nasty allergens, wash bed linens at least once a week. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), recommends washing bed linens on a hot water setting to remove as many dust mites as possible, as well as the skin cells they feed on. To be certain that these allergens are completely eliminated from linens, add Vital Oxide to the load. As well as being used to disinfect, Vital Oxide can also be used to eliminate allergens from blankets, sheets, towels, and any other laundry in the washer (add ½ to 1 cup of Vital Oxide, based on the size of the load, along with your regular detergent). In addition, you should launder any fabric window treatments using the same method at least once a month. You can also opt to use an anti-allergen laundry detergent to remove dust mites, pet dander, molds, mildew, and smoke from linens.
To eliminate allergens from your child’s mattress, simply remove the linens and liberally spray the mattress with Vital Oxide and let air dry.
After you’ve moved things around, dusted, and put the linens in the washing machine, it’s time to vacuum the entire room. Don’t forget to vacuum and wipe down the vents and remove any pesky cobwebs in the ceilings or corners! If your child’s room has carpet or rugs, vacuum and then spray with Vital Oxide to freshen up, remove any odors, and get rid of any lingering allergens.
Third: Put Things Away and Organize
Congratulations! You’re almost finished! After cleaning, disinfecting, and removing allergens, it’s time to organize and put things away. Keep in mind that organization looks different in every family’s home. While my daughter’s room is far from Instagram-perfect, every single item has a home. There is a shelf specifically for her animal figurines; a large decorative basket for her stuffed animals; a smaller basket for Barbies and dolls; a section of the bookshelf for large hardcovers and a basket for board books; a larger basket for dress-up items; a bin for building blocks; and a small toy bin for odds and ends. In my experience, space organizers, baskets, and bins are extremely helpful for storing items neatly.
When you’re finished, give your kids a high five and sit back together and read a book, watch a movie, or play a board game to celebrate all your hard work!
Whether your child suffers from allergies or asthma, or you’re simply looking to eradicate germs, Vital Oxide is a powerful, versatile product that’s safe to use around children while better for home and the planet.
Aside from that, all of us at Vital Oxide believe that it’s important to look ahead. When the country reopens and kids start going back to school, it will be crucial to already have a cleaning and disinfecting regimen in place to help prevent the spread of germs from school to home.
If you have any thoughts or questions, please Contact Us at any time. We’re here to help.