There’s nothing more embarrassing than receiving judgy stares from other parents in public because your kids can’t keep their clothes clean. You buy them the best outfits, style them to perfection and march them out of the minivan only to discover multiple stains minutes later.
This experience can be maddening for new parents. But experienced moms know just how to keep their kids from soiling their outfits. It involves some bribes, a little extra care, and a lot of good parenting.
Here are some of the tricks that parents in your position use to keep their kids looking spotless, despite their playful tendencies.
1. Make them wear bibs
A great place to start is to give your kids bibs every time they need to eat something. Juice box? Wear a bib. Some light snacks to keep them quiet? Don’t forget the bib! Eliminate stains from food and you’ll solve a huge percentage of your problems.
2. Have them sit and eat properly
High chairs have two functions: they keep your kids happy and they help them stay tidy. This isn’t always an option, especially in the car or somewhere public. But if you’re at home or in a restaurant, see if you can get your kids to a booster seat or table.
If you think about it, even adults sometimes have difficulty keeping their clothes clean during certain meals. Accidents happen that make you have to change your shirt, so imagine what it must be like for a toddler who’s still developing motor skills.
3. Avoid colors that stain easily
White clothes come to mind here and the reason is very simple; they don’t hide stains at all. This is why many people love dark jeans. You can wear them for a while before worrying about doing laundry.
Even though they are cute, you have to resist the urge to wear brightly colored clothes like white, yellow, or even pink for your kids, especially when it’s going to be a long day. Instead, opt for dark, older clothes. They don’t stain as easily and if they do, it’s old anyway!
Keep this tip in mind when you expect that your child will eat outside or spend time with friends or even throw a tantrum as the day progresses. Save the bright colors for Instagram pictures and short outings.
4. Clean stains as soon as they appear
You can’t be 100% careful when it comes to kids. They will escape your oversight for a while, get up to trouble, and soil themselves. When this happens, you need to swing into action and take care of the stains immediately.
With most stains, the longer they are allowed to sit, the harder it’ll be to get them out. That’s why a designated stain kit is invaluable. Some of the items to include in your stain kit are baking soda, dish soap, ammonia, white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide.
Sometimes, the stains are clearly visible, and you can’t exactly depend on your toddler to tell you about it. Instead, you may have to inspect their clothes at night and handle the stains accordingly.
5. Soaking helps
Here’s another tip that mothers have used to remove stubborn stains for centuries. Soaking toddler clothes after applying some stain remover can help with tough stains. It also works wonders for old stains that you’ve only recently discovered.
Some washers have a basket on top that lets you soak one or two clothes prior to washing. You can also plug up your sink and simply fill it with water. The goal is to let the cloth soak in some soap and water and allow the stain to gently come off.
6. Extend the clothes’ lifespans
It’s annoying enough to find stains on your child’s new Kaftan but you know what’s worse? Having new clothes look like they’ve been worn for years. This rapid aging is a consequence of many factors, including constant washing, chemicals in detergents, and of course, exposure to sunlight.
Minimizing all of these can keep the clothes looking fresh for a long time. But that’s easier said than done because you still have to clean the stains as soon as they appear, and some of them even need to soak.
Here are some tips you can use to slow down the aging:
- Use name-brand detergents. Most of them invest a lot of money in R&D and usually have gentler formulas
- Don’t use too much detergent. More detergent isn’t equal to cleaner clothes, even though it may feel that way.
- Avoid sunlight. The UV rays can break down bonds within the fabric and weaken it
Some more tips
As a parent, you’ve probably tried one or more of these tips. But sometimes, they don’t seem to be enough because kids will be kids. That’s why we’ve included these 2 extra tips.
They can help you keep everything else clean so you can have more energy to focus on keeping your kids away from stains.
7. Teach your kids how to keep things clean
It’s true that toddlers don’t have the attention span to focus on cleaning long enough to actually do anything. But some studies have shown that kids that start cleaning as early as 3 years old tend to carry the habit into later life.
It’s also great that toddlers like to help in almost any activity. They try to pick things up when they see you cleaning, and may even make cute attempts at doing the dishes. You can take advantage of this by letting them participate in chores.
Everything from sorting socks to dusting low surfaces will bring them satisfaction and eventually give you less work to do later on.
8. Create a list of chores and a routine
The more kids you have, the harder it is to keep track of everything. Unless, of course, you’re intentional about it. One great way to do this is to make a list. You can download an app like ChoreRelief and create daily to-do lists on it.
Then, schedule blocks of time for when you can get the little chores out of the way. By breaking up the tasks into smaller sections like this, you’re more likely to get things done and keep your home clutter-free.