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Tackle Back-to-School Germs Like a Pro

Tackle Back-to-School Germs Like a Pro

Ah, the back-to-school season. Whether you’re a parent or clean professionally for one, the energy change from the summer is palpable! The first weeks of the school year bring a heady mix of excitement, new class jitters, and the unmistakable sound of gaggles of children laughing and chatting away. It's a time of change, new beginnings, and, far too often, new colds and clutter.

Beneath the academic achievement and extracurricular prowess, there's the ugly underbelly of the season: the mess. From stinky sneakers to an avalanche of school supplies to, as every parent knows, the onslaught of germs. Our little ones might be great at bringing home A’s, but they're even better at bringing home all their classmates' sniffles and stomach bugs.

That’s why Melissa Homer, our in-house professional cleaning expert and mom of two messy kids of her own, is here to help you fight the clutter and colds and return your home to a manageable level you can maintain all year. If cleaning is your profession, not just your passion, be sure to stick around, as many of these tips will help you rack up big tips from your stressed-out parent clients!

The Many Messes of School Season

Remember the days when your home used to have that pristine look? Yes, it was probably before you had kids (me too!). With the school season kicking off, parents are in for the time-honored tradition of navigating obstacle courses of spilled breakfasts, muddy soccer cleats, exploding lunch boxes, and the inevitable coughs and sneezes.

Classroom Colds and Germs

It’s a scene straight out of a bad sitcom: your kiddo comes off the bus, hand reaching out to hug you… but they’re covered in paint, jelly, and about a billion germs. Kids are germ magnets. While we don’t want to stifle their fun and curiosity, we must minimize the fallout.

Frequent hand-washing sessions are non-negotiable, especially when they get home from school. Sanitizing common touchpoints like doorknobs, remote controls, and toys can be a game changer.

Bonus points if you can convince your kids to leave their shoes and school bag in the mud room or entryway, as these two items are the biggest unwashed culprits for tracking in dirt and germs.

Extracurricular Excesses

Whether your child is the next Picasso or destined for soccer stardom, extracurricular activities, while crucial for their development, come with their own mess. Paints, grass stains, and clay are just a few of the stubborn stains parents grapple with.

Pro-tip: Attend to stains ASAP. The longer they sit, the harder they are to get out (Folex is Melissa Homer’s favorite stain fighter for carpets and fabric).

Daily Disarray

Lost keys? Check. Backpack in the middle of the living room? Double-check. Scattered papers, mysteriously disappearing homework, and stinky gym shoes? Triple check!

The daily chaos can be overwhelming, but with a few simple organizational hacks like designated bins for each child or a designated 'school station', you can bring some semblance of order to the chaos.

If you have multiple kids with multiple hobbies, consider buying different color cinch bags for each one so the gear stays separate, organized, and easy to identify when grabbing in a rush on the way to the bus. Throw up a set of adjustable wall hooks, and you have an affordable, modular system that everyone can keep up with, even smaller children.

Your Back-to-School Cleaning Supply Essentials

You've diligently filled up your kids' backpacks with composition notebooks, glue sticks, and enough pencils to last a lifetime (or at least till mid-terms). Now, it's time to give your linen closet a similar makeover.

Think of this as your weapons of war against the germy invaders and mud monsters your kids bring home. At the top of the list? Microfiber! These tiny fibered wonders trap dirt and germs like no other, giving you cleaning powers straight out of your kids' favorite graphic novel.

With microfiber’s fine, dense fibers, they can easily pick up and trap microscopic particles and bacteria. Plus, they're reusable, which means fewer dead trees and trash going into landfills. As magical as microfiber is, though, they’ll need some reinforcements for kid-size messes.

Microfiber Waffle Weave Towel

Ever wish your microfiber had a bit more muscle to cut through your kids' goopy, sticky messes? The Microfiber Waffle Weave Towel brings scrubbing power to your cleaning, helping you conquer stubborn dirt and grime. Check price

Microfiber Mucho Mop

Knocked over cereal and milk? Grassland mud from soccer cleats? Challenge accepted! The Mucho Mop’s 100% microfiber chenille fingers sweep like a broom, sop up spills like a mop, and scrub like Cinderella simultaneously, letting you clean the worst messes in one step! Damp mop your floor in moments with just a few sprays of water or diluted floor cleaner for gloriously clean results fast with no buckets required!

Purell Surface Disinfectant Spray

Kids are literally walking petri dishes, as reuniting with old friends and new sports teams offers so many chances to bring home microscopic new friends! Surface-disinfectant sprays that are no-rinse and food-contact safe make it easy to spray and walk away, saving you time and potential colds. Great for daily high-touch item mist downs, like door knobs and faucet handles.

Mats & Runner

Commercial Cleaning’s best-kept secret! If you take six to eight steps (15 feet), floor mats wipe off 90% of the dirt on your shoes. The problem is homes don't have 15-foot foyers like skyscrapers. The solution? Spread the 15 feet across exterior mats, interior mats, hallway runners, and stair treads, keeping playground sand from grinding on your last nerve.

Windex Multisurface Disinfectant Cleaner

A disinfecting all-purpose cleaner is a must to battle dirt, germs, and whatever else your kids might throw your way. Windex multi-surface is ammonia-free, making it safe for most surfaces, including washable paint and finished wood.

Folex Carpet and Upholstery Stain Remover

Did you know that most really good carpet spotters are also fabric-safe? Whether it’s Gatorade and slime on your couch or clothes, Folex can power through without damage.

Wet & Forget Bathroom Spray

This trick is a busy parent's best friend. Once a week, after you shower, just mist down the shower and tub with the product, then rinse it off the next day before you take your next shower, and you’ll find your shower stays practically scrub-free.

Cleaning Caddy

This is a professional cleaning trick made family-friendly. Fill a caddy with microfiber towels, disinfectant, all-purpose cleaner, scrubbing sponges, a stain fighter, and some pre-diluted floor cleaner in a spray bottle. Now you’ve got a kit that will let you jump into action to tackle any cleaning emergency the second your kids shout, “MOM!!!”

Establishing a Hygiene Routine

A solid routine is key to keeping the mess and germs at bay. While one look at your kid’s dirt-filled nails may make you wish you could deep clean everything every day, a few minutes of targeted daily cleaning is all you need to keep the chaos and germs at bay.

Daily Touch-Ups for High-Touch Surfaces

Doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, and even fridge handles are frequently touched but often overlooked during daily cleanups. Give these high-touch surfaces a quick wipe with a disinfecting solution and microfiber cloth daily to keep germs at bay.

The 10-Minute Tidy

Let’s be honest, after a long day, an hour-long cleanup is the last thing on your mind. Enter the 10-minute tidy.

The Sporty Spillover: Managing Post-Practice Mess

Soccer cleats, basketball sneakers, and even dance shoes can track in a lot of dirt. Designate a “mudroom” space, even if it’s just a tray by the front door, where shoes can be left to avoid bringing dirt into the house. Consider getting bags with at least mesh sections for proper drying and less long-term odor. Don’t forget that shoe dryers can be used for more than just ski boots (the ozone feature can help reduce gym shoe funk while it dries)!

Weekly Deep Cleans

Areas like bathrooms and kitchens see a lot of traffic and can benefit from a weekly deep clean, including scrubbing the sinks, disinfecting countertops and toilets, mopping the floors, and making sure no mold takes hold in the showers and tubs. Remember, a lot of illnesses that get blamed on school are actually food-borne illnesses that stem from mismanaged kitchens and bathrooms (and poor hand hygiene).

Teaching Tidiness: Making Cleaning a Family Affair

Getting kids involved not only lessens your workload but also teaches them essential life skills. And, with a bit of creativity, it can be fun!

Chore Charts

A weekly chore chart can be fun and motivating. Consider offering rewards for completed tasks to add an extra incentive. Pro Tip: Make reward systems family team goals, like fill the pom pom jar for a family movie night or trip to the arcade, to cut down on jealousy and sibling squabbling.

Gamify Cleaning

Set a ten-minute visual timer and run around cleaning with your kids to create excitement. You'll be surprised at how much clearer a space can look after a brief decluttering! Kids win a pom pom jar reward for participating, and whoever cleans up the most before the buzzer sounds gets extra pom poms!

Age-Appropriate Tasks

While you wouldn’t hand a toddler a bottle of bleach, they can certainly help pick up toys. Microfiber towels, a colorful bottle full of water, and a few drops of dish soap can clean up way more than you think and are safe for almost any child! Assigning tasks based on age and ability is easier than ever with plenty of online lists to choose from.

Don’t Go to Exams Without Your Cleaning Crib Sheet!

Navigating the hustle and bustle of the school season with all its chaotic charm doesn't mean compromising on cleanliness and order. With the right tools, routines, and a dash of creativity, you can earn an A+ in Home Hygiene. As the saying goes, "An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure."

Armed with these strategies, you're set to ace this school year’s cleaning challenges before the first fall leaves start to fall. The only challenge is taking these critical steps before the mess settles in.

It’s easy to read an article and say, “That’s a clever idea!” But it’s a great deal harder to motivate yourself to actually buy and do the things it says! Our best advice, buy a few of the things right now and bookmark this article. It’s so much harder to ignore what you know you should do when it’s sitting in your mudroom begging to be used.

You probably nag your kids not to put off school projects till right before they’re due, so what’s good for the gander is good for the goose, right?!

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