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Get the Kids to Clean Up Summer Messes

  • The Ice Pop Drips

    Ice pops are always a favorite once summer arrives—until these frozen treats start melting all over the carpet or furniture. Debra Johnson, national cleaning expert for Merry Maids, says the best home remedy for removing an ice pop stain from upholstery or carpeting is to dampen the stained area with a dishwashing liquid solution. From there, place a white terry cloth towel over the solution and run over the towel with a hot iron. This will help transfer much of the stain to the towel.

    Get the kids involved: An easy way for kids to keep their hands clean and the floors dry is to make a DIY ice pop holder. Johnson suggests parents help their kids cut a hole in the bottom of a cupcake wrapper and place the wrapper around the base of the ice pop stick. Use multicolored or printed wrappers to make it fun and personal. This will catch the drips and drops and keep kids' hands (and moms' floors) from getting sticky.

  • Surviving Rainy Days with Glitter

    On rainy summer days, keeping the kids entertained indoors is a survival skill. Many times, the best forms of entertainment involve glitter, glue, paint and markers. A day of arts and crafts is fun, but it makes a mess. Cleaning up glitter can be a nightmare, but Johnson has a simple way to contain the sparkly mess. She suggests spreading paper or plastic over the table before starting any craft projects. Hopefully, most of the glittery residue will stay on the paper, but prepare for some spillover.

    Get the kids involved: Make DIY lint rollers with the kids so they can own the cleanup responsibility. Help them create a loop of tape, sticky side out, that fits loosely around their fingers or hands. They can just tap the sparkly surfaces to capture any glitter that is left behind.

  • Sticky Season

    Neighborhood lemonade stands and juice boxes are summer staples, but there's no avoiding the spills when the kids are running in and out of the house for refreshments. To help prevent the spill area from being sticky, Johnson says the best trick is to wipe up the lemonade or juice immediately—first with a paper towel and then with a wet microfiber cloth soaked in warm water to ensure no residue is left behind. If the juice spill occurs on a cloth surface, rub the wet area with ice cubes and blot the area with a dry microfiber cloth.

    Get the kids involved: Turn the cleanup task into a team project by having one person rub the spill with an ice cube while the other pats the area dry.

  • Sandy Days Ahead

    One fun way to entertain the family during long summer days is with a trip to the beach. However, before leaving the beach, use a towel to dust as much sand off of the kids' feet as possible to avoid tracking it inside once you get home. Johnson also recommends keeping a bottle of baby powder nearby. The baby powder helps remove moisture from the skin, making it easier to wipe the sand off.

    Get the kids involved: Before entering the house, Johnson encourages kids to do a little dance on a door mat with bare feet—taking four or five steps on the mat will transfer the sandy soil from their feet to the mat, instead of from their feet to the floor. This will keep debris out of the house and help prevent scratches on the floor.

  • Water, Water Everywhere

    Warmer weather means kids are spending more time in the water, whether it's jumping into a neighborhood pool, splashing friends with the garden hose or zipping around on a Slip'N Slide. However, water activities lead to wet swimsuits and soggy towels that can leave marks and water stains throughout the house. Once the kids are done playing in the water, Johnson recommends parents entertain the kids outside for five to 10 minutes before heading back into the house, allowing enough time for swimsuits to stop dripping.

    Get the kids involved: To make it easier for the kids to help prevent any slippery messes, Johnson recommends setting up a towel tree by the pool or placing a laundry line in the bathroom on which kids can hang their swimsuits and towels to dry completely.