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How to Clean Up
Common Kid’s Messes

April 1, 2020

Children can fill your home with laughter, joy, and inspiration, but they can also create some spectacular messes. From lunchtime mishaps and nighttime accidents to wall art and messy bedrooms, kids making a mess is just part of the deal.

There’s not much you can do to stop them, but cleaning up most kids’ messes doesn’t have to be such a pain. Here’s how to clean up spills, sticky messes, and more—and how to get the culprits to take on some of the cleanup.


 Whether homemade or store–bought, the colorful dough can easily find its way onto carpet, upholstered furniture, and clothing. Fortunately, it’s simple to remove. Let the dough dry for a couple of days. Use a butter knife to break up the dried dough and vacuum it up. Finally, use dish soap and water to get the rest out of the fabric fibers.


They make for great entertainment, but like many kids’ art supplies, stickers often end up on things they shouldn’t. To get stickers off most surfaces, scrape away the sticker with a credit card. Use your fingers to roll the adhesive off. For stubborn adhesives, use rubbing alcohol or a hairdryer to soften the glue. Next, scrape it off. For painted or finished surfaces like walls, scrape the sticker and remove the rest with a pencil eraser.

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Maybe this kids’ kitchen mess is nothing to cry over, but spilled milk can spoil and become stinky enough to bring tears to your eyes. Use a microfiber cloth dampened with water and dish soap to dilute the stain. Dab up the milk and dish soap mixture with paper towels.

Permanent Marker

Kids making a mess with a permanent marker may seem disastrous, but even permanent ink can be removed if it’s tackled right away. First, soak the permanent marker with alcohol-based hand sanitizer, let it sit for about 30 seconds, then wipe with a paper towel. Repeat as needed until the marker is gone.


Finding a wad of gum stuck on carpet, blankets, or clothes is a parenting rite of passage. Fill a small plastic bag with ice and set it on the gum. Allow it to freeze the gum completely. Scrape and pick the hard gum out. If it’s still sticking to fabric fibers, use distilled white vinegar and a toothbrush to massage the gum out.

How to Make Kids’ Messes More Manageable

Kids love to make messes and they love to play games. Marry the two and your cleanup jobs will get a little easier. Start by teaching your children to pick up after themselves. Supply them with bins and other storage in fun colors and shapes. Every day they pick up their room, reward them with a sticker or extra screen time.

When they spill a drink or have some other accident that calls for a cleanup, get them involved and make it fun. Turn up some of their favorite music and make the work ahead seem more like a game. If they’re old enough, let them help you concoct some safe DIY cleaning solutions and show them how to use them. At the very least, let them do a little of the work needed to clean up their latest mess.

With those kids’ messes under control, check out our other professional cleaning guides to help you save time and keep your home cleaner more often. Whether you do it yourself or invest in one of our popular cleaning services, we want your home to be a clean and healthy environment for your family. Get your free estimate today and find out how The Maids can help.


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