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summer cleaning tips

Summertime and the living is easy... If your kids are in year-round boarding school, that is.

If not, as moms everywhere know, living gets a lot wilder and dirtier with our little darlings at home all day.

How will you (and your home) survive this constant onslaught of mud, fingerpaints and toys?

Simple. Set your ground rules for summer cleaning now. And stick to them.

1. plan for a clutter-free summer.

Set a summer goal of having a clutter free home. Having lots of stuff around leaves plenty of places for dust and allergens to collect. If you haven't already, do a bit of decluttering now to get the ball rolling. Encourage kids as young as preschoolers (ages 3-4) to put dirty clothes in the hamper and put away playthings after use.

They can also help keep their bedrooms neat and, with supervision, remove unbreakable and blunt-edge items from the dishwasher. (Read Daily Kids Chores by Age for more on this.)

By making a clean, clutter-free home the precursor to a fun activity, such as a day at the beach or lake, and by helping your child master the cleaning tasks, you can make housecleaning an enjoyable, confidence-building activity. And thanks to summer, there's finally time to get almost everything done.

2. reinforce daily hand washing.

Have everyone in the family wash hands with soap and warm water regularly to help stay healthy and keep nasty viruses, dirt and germs off household surfaces. A sick house during the lazy days of summer is no fun for anyone. And regular hand washing is your best way to ensure the family stays healthy.

3. lighten up on summer cleaning by stopping dirt at the door.

Even your little stomper can wipe shoes on entryway rugs or front door mats to protect floors and carpets, and to catch dirt, dust, pollen brought in from outside.

Consider getting nonslip, rubber floor mats, which are easier for summer cleaning - or, instituting a no-shoes-in-the house rule. The more you prevent dirt from being tracked in, the less time you'll spend cleaning floors.

4. throw open shower doors and curtains to prevent mold and mildew.

Leave shower doors and curtains open after use so shower walls can air dry. Older kids and adults can use a daily shower spray on walls and shower curtains to keep mildew and mold from growing. If mold and mildew can't get a toehold, you won't spend a single sunny day scrubbing it away.

5. clean up crumbs and food scraps from floors.

Promptly vacuum or sweep up crumbs and other debris after preparing or eating food. Sweep or vacuum hardwood, laminate, and other solid floor surfaces daily to keep dust and dirt from being ground in to the floor's surface. You'll need to help your littlest family members, but grade-school-age kids, preteens and teens can do broom and vacuum duty on their own.

6. summer isn't the time to pay kids for chores.

Resist the urge to reward your kids for their home cleaning help - compensation tells kids a task is above and beyond the call of duty. Instead, let younger children know specifically which chores you expect them to do, and let the satisfaction of a job well done provide its own reward. Let teenagers know they are contributing more to the family and learning skills that will help them in life.

7. treat summer clothing stains promptly.

Prompt stain removal will keep favorite play clothes from ending up in the rag pile.

Rinse or dab stains with cool water as soon as possible after they happen.

Keep a stain remover near the laundry room, and when you get home, dab the stainer remover and throw in a load of laundry.

Get more tips on removing summer laundry stains here.

8. remember: safety first!

Practice prevention this summer when it comes to housecleaning and cleaning products. Show kids the safe way to use cleaning products when they go about their chores. Store your cleaning supplies safely out of reach of curious little hands.

Visit the Clean Organized Home Store for the kid-safe cleaning supplies and tools you need this summer!



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About the Author

Tara Aronson

Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.