Cleaning isn’t exactly rocket science. Sure, it takes some know-how, attention to detail and the right supplies. Keeping your house clean isn’t so tough as long as you stay on top of things. Until you have kids. Cleaning house should really fall into two categories: before kids and after kids. Until you experience the inexhaustible number of ways a kid can make a mess, you just can’t know how challenging cleaning can be.

Spilled milk or a dropped taco is one thing, but there are some notoriously messy toys, foods and other kid-related materials that call for a unique plan of attack. These are the messes we’re talking about here. From cleaning up gooey slime to getting rid of crayon marks, we’ve got the goods on how to clean up those extra-special, hard-to-clean kids’ messes.


Lowly slime may be your child’s favorite thing to play with because it’s so sticky and gooey. It’s a simple product, and you can make it at home out of borax, school glue and water. But for something that contains only borax, school glue and water, cleaning up slime can be tricky. This makes sense when you understand that slime is what’s called a non-Newtonian fluid. That means it can sometimes act like a liquid and sometimes like a solid. It’s no wonder it’s so hard to clean! Hard, but not impossible. Here’s how you do it:

How to get Slime out of Clothing

Remove any excess slime from the clothing. If it’s still damp, use a paper towel or pick it up with your hands. If it’s dried, gently scrape off using a butter knife. It should come off easily but take your time, so you don’t damage the fabric. Soak the stained area in white vinegar for five minutes, but don’t let the vinegar dry all the way. Then run warm water over the stain to rinse off slime particles that came loose with the vinegar and wash the clothing as you normally would.

How to get Slime out of Upholstery and Carpet

The directions for getting slime out of carpet and upholstery are pretty much the same as with clothing. Follow the plan above for clothing until you get to the part about the washing machine. This is where you will pat and blot with a paper towel instead of washing the item. Do not rub. Once the carpet or upholstery is dry, vacuum to remove the leftover particles. You can also use club soda, and it doesn’t have to be rinsed. Just pour it on, let it dry and vacuum.

How to get Slime off Walls

First, remove any excess slime. Gently scrape the surface but be careful not to damage the wallpaper, paint or other finish. Mix a paste of baking soda and water with a small amount of vinegar and stir it into a thick paste. Put on some rubber gloves and lay something protective on the floor beneath. Apply the past to the stain liberally. After about two hours, everything should be dry. Just brush the paste off with a paper towel, and you’re slime-free.

Silly String

Its unique properties make Silly String one of the more challenging kids’ messes to clean. Cleaning up Silly String can be as tough as cleaning up slime. That’s not surprising when you consider Silly String is a solvent that transforms from a liquid to a solid in mid-air. That sounds like a tough stain waiting to happen, doesn’t it? Unless your kids like cleaning as much as they like making a mess, here’s what you need to know.

How to get Silly String out of Clothing

Let the Silly String dry, and brush it off. Sponge the stain with cold water and some dish soap. Gently scrub to pretreat the stain. Wash and dry the clothing as usual. You can use your laundry stain remover as long as it’s safe for the fabric at hand. Vinegar works great as a pre-soak for Silly String that has been caked on and has set in.

How to get Silly String out of Upholstery and carpet

Brush off the Silly String once it dries. Blot the stain with a dry cloth before you start cleaning. Don’t rub. Check your upholstery’s cleaning label before you use any stain remover or another cleaner. Getting Silly String out of carpet or upholstery can be difficult once it has dried thoroughly. If you find yourself in this situation, you may need professional cleaning help.

How to get Silly String off Walls

You better catch this mess early. Wipe up the Silly String with a damp cloth as soon as possible before it dries completely. Once this stuff dries on certain surfaces, it may be permanent. If you are faced with a lingering stain, dish soap and water should wear it down after a few cleanings.  

Peanut butter

Peanut butter may not be as much fun, but depending on how quickly you act, it can be as tough as cleaning up slime. The biggest problem with peanut butter isn’t that gooey, sticky consistency —  it’s the fat in there that makes for a cumbersome cleanup. Just like shortening or butter, peanut butter leaves a greasy film that won’t clean up with water. Here’s what you need to know to clean up this oily mess.

How to get Peanut Butter out of Clothing

Once peanut butter dries, it will often leave an oily stain on clothing that can be hard to get out. If caught in time, these stains can be pre-treated with laundry stain remover and washed as usual. Remove excess peanut butter and blot as much of the oily residue as possible and then apply the pre-treat. If the stain is still there after washing, you’ll need something stronger like acetone. Apply just enough to cover the stain and blot carefully. Be aware that acetone and similar products can discolor or even melt certain fibers.

How to get Peanut Butter out of Upholstery and carpet

Remove any excess peanut butter but don’t rub it in further. Sprinkle baking soda, cornstarch or another absorbent material on the stain. Let it sit for 15 minutes and vacuum. Using a clean, white cloth, dab the stain with dry cleaning solvent and blot carefully until the solvent is absorbed. Repeat until the stain is gone.

How to get Peanut Butter off Walls

After removing as much peanut butter as possible, mix up two cups water, one tablespoon dish soap and two tablespoons white vinegar. Dip a clean white cloth in the solution and wring out excess moisture. Carefully dab the stain and repeat the process until the stain is gone. Be careful not to rub the stain because you’ll just spread any remaining residue for an even bigger stain.

Honorable Mentions


If you’ve got girls, you’ve got glitter. For something that doesn’t leave stains or a sticky mess, glitter makes for a difficult cleanup because each piece is so small and there’s so much! If it’s on the floor, simply vacuum. But you know it’s not going to be that easy. For an easy way to get up glitter that’s not on the floor, roll a lint roller across the surface, and all that glitter will stick.


Playdough ground into the carpet may be one of the most common kid’s messes ever. Luckily, it’s not too hard to clean up. It just takes patience. Let the playdough dry for a couple of days first (trust us). Vacuum using your brush tool and carefully break-up the dried dough. Any remaining pieces that have become attached to carpet fibers can be gently loosened up and removed with a clean towel, dish soap and water.


There’s no shortage of advice for cleaning up crayon marks on walls, from pencil erasers to mayonnaise. But the best way to get rid of those crayon marks is with a damp white cloth and good old baking soda. Rub the baking soda gently over the crayon and repeat until it’s all gone.

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