You’ve got kids in the house and they’re now of an age to help with chores. The little one wants to help when you scrub the toilet, the medium one’s job is to sweep and mop the kitchen, and the older one is expected to wipe down the kitchen table and benches each night. You want to have some child-friendly cleaning products for them rather than the toxic chemicals that may be lurking under your kitchen sink, so the kids safely share the “joy” of cleaning. There are plenty of “green” “eco-friendly” “safe” cleaning products in the supermarket of course, but with a few supplies in your pantry at home already you can make your own.
- A few spray bottles. Pick different colours for different chores or let the kids choose their favourite colour. Decorate them with stickers for extra ownership.
- Bicarbonate soda
- White vinegar in bulk
- Essential oils lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree, clove
- Liquid soap or plain dishwashing liquid
- Lemons or lemon juice
- Rags have a fun afternoon cutting or tearing up old tshirts, teatowels, sheets, face cloths and terry flat nappies
This one is the go-to in my household for basic cleaning. Mix 500mL water, a few drops of liquid soap and 30 drops of essential oils such as eucalyptus and lavender. Spray onto a cloth before wiping over walls, benches, dining table, change mat or sink. This is so gentle that you can hand the sprayed cloth to a small assistant to clean with; they get the hang of the spray and wipe approach to cleaning, the house smells amazing and the cleaning is a learning experience. Kids can clean their own desk, or their placemats after each meal then toss the rag in the washing machine. Hygiene, housekeeping, repurposing and some aromatherapy all in one little spray bottle!
A stronger blend 250mL water, 250mL vinegar, 50 drops of tea tree and eucalyptus oil and a tablespoon of liquid soap mixed together in a spray bottle will help with tougher areas. This one is also great to use for spring cleaning, for cleaning the house after sickness, or if an area is particularly greasy or grimy. It also works well to clean gumboots after muddy puddle jumping, scrubbing school bags and car seats but is still gentle enough for little hands to help with.
Elbow grease required
Lemon juice is an amazing cleaner and when you mix it with bicarbonate soda you get an extra strong combination! Sprinkle bicarb onto the surface and mix the juice of one lemon with a cup of water, in a spray bottle. Kids can help you to spray over the bicarb and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Use a damp cloth to scrub the surface if needed, then rinse clean with plain water. Works well on soap scum on a bath, the oven or stove top.
On the other hand”¦
There are lots of other chores that littles can help with as well as the cleaning! Toddlers and pre-schoolers love to dust so hand them a rag and let them at the skirting boards. The vacuum cleaner might be small enough for a pre-schooler to drive, even if you have to do it again behind them. Shorter kids love to have a stool or chair pulled up to the sink to help wash cups, cutlery (the not-sharp ones of course!) or their toys. A small bucket of water and a few rags can get a spot on the floor extra-clean if you’re happy for your child to dip and puddle with warm water while you mop.
Real-life tasks like sweeping and wiping help to build gross and fine motor skills as well as giving kids a sense of achievement, so consider some kid-sized tools for them for their next birthday. Look at the lessons that these are teaching them rather than how much of the cleaning they are actually doing.
What things do your kids like to clean? What cleaning products do you think you should be using around your kids, and with your kids involved in chores?