Tips on Spring Cleaning with Toddlers

How to keep your home healthy and clean for little ones

If you have tots, you have messes -- and far less time than you used to keep it all clean. You also are probably conscious of the need to keep small children safe around cleaning supplies and chemicals. So how do you balance it all? Use these tips to create a cleaning plan that helps you find time to clean, an effective and non-toxic way to clean, and a method that lets you get things done while little hands and feet and spitty mouths are making a mess simultaneously.

Clean Green

lusi /

Clean is good, but cleaning with toxic chemicals can cause problems. You may get the gook off your tub, but the odor irritates the throat of you and your child. The runoff is also bad for the environment -- and do you really want to make your child's bedroom germ proof today at the expense of sullying up his future world? A better option is to look for commercial eco-friendly cleaners that usually use plant-based and non-toxic ingredients.

An even better option is to make your own cleaning products. You can put together a safe, effective green cleaning kit that includes natural products -- probably many of the same products your great grandmother used in her spotless home. The essentials include:

- Baking soda
- Borax
- White vinegar

Work in Bursts


Sometimes knowing where to start is the hard part. And other times, it's being afraid you won't be able to stop. I can't count how many times I have scratched plans to scrub the bathroom or the attic because I figure I just won't have enough time to finish before my toddler wakes up or I have to start dinner. So I wash dishes and call it a chore success.

Next time, don't shy away from tackling the big jobs. Instead, figure out what you can do in 15 minutes. A series of small 15 minute clean ups can go a long way to getting the whole house on a tidy track.

Clean As You Go

toddler with cups
P. Burns

Your 15 minute bursts of cleaning don't have to be for scrubbing and wiping only. Use some of those sprints to get yourself organized -- is like with like in the pantry? Is everyone's laundry in the right draw? Do you have bills and document sin the right place? Taking some time to attend to these small matters will make it easier for you to move through the day with less stress and clutter.

You can also spend your 15 minutes being sure that there are quick clean up kits in all your big mess areas (so you don't have to go to the kitchen to get the vinegar bottle to clean the bathroom) when you have a potty disaster.

Don't Wait for Nap Time

Little Playzone

Of course, you can't plan all of your cleaning activity around a toddler's nap time -- that's just too undependable and subject to change, and some days you need nap time yourself!

While you can try to include your tot in your chores by offering her a dust cloth to "help" you clean the floor, it's better for your own sanity and her safety if you find a safe, secure place for your little one to play while you do chores. Setting up a secure play space within eye view of you allows her to have some fun while you get some important work completed.

Make it Happy


In my opinion, the best way to get motivated to scrub and dust is to put on some music. Whether you lean towards Dropkick Murphy punk or prefer to dance around to classical guitar music, find what gets you moving and load it on your iPod. Move around as much a possible while you wield that broom and think of the calories burned! For after the kiddies are in bed, I even suggest pouring a glass of wine and letting yourself "celebrate" the thrills of a clean home.

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