Sure, it would be great to live in a spotless, stainless house that's magazine-worthy and ready to be photographed at any moment, but nobody really lives that way. (Not even the people whose homes have been photographed.) As anyone who enjoys kids, pets, or parties can attest, saying yes to our messy lives is more fun than being perfect. When you accept that the occasional stain is the price of a full life, a little prep can save a lot of stress. Here are 10 tips for keeping clean and calm through anything.
1. Minimize distractions.
To tackle cleaning tasks, it helps to turn off your phone. Not only does it keep you stay focused on the job at hand; it also gives you a break from the busy-ness of emails, texts and alerts, creating space for you to maybe even enjoy yourself.
2. Keep your supplies stocked.
Smart cleaning starts at the store. Keep a kit on hand for both regular washing and everyday spills. Our go-to helper is OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover. You can pre-treat stains by letting them soak before you wash, add up to a scoop to the wash to get it extra clean...and you can even use it on soft goods that don't make it to the laundry room: water-washable curtains, carpets, etc.
3. Make the bed every morning.
This is one of those keystone habits that sets you up for a better (cleaner) day. Want to take it to the next level? Try tucking your sheets with hospital corners — they'll make getting into bed at the end of the night feel a little more luxurious.
4. Do a little every day.
Staring down a long list of chores can be overwhelming, and it can prevent you from even getting started. If you spend just a few minutes tidying in a different room every day, you'll see that piles don't build up, and you'll be surprised how much progress you make towards maintaining a clean home.
5. Pet-proof your floors and furniture.
If they weren't so cute, it would be hard to deal with the amount of dirt pets track through the house (not to mention accidents and general stinkiness). If you're buying new carpeting, look at stain-resistant options. If you've already got non-stain-resistant carpet, see if a waterproofing spray will work on it. And keeping nails clipped will help on hardwood floors.
6. Don't stress about your whites.
Many people avoid white linens, thinking they'll be too hard to keep clean, but the trick is really just to wash them with the right solution when they're dirty. OxiClean™ White Revive Whitener and Stain Remover is chlorine free and color safe, and brightens whites in just one wash.
7. Be ready for red wine spills.
Go ahead and have that glass of pinot noir. Just make sure you have something on hand to clean up spills. Soak wine-stained tablecloths in a mixture of OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover and warm water, or apply the same solution to water-washable upholstery and carpets.
8. Lint rollers can be life savers.
When you've got pets or kids, a lint roller by the sofa and/or bed can be a quick and easy way to tidy up before guests stop by, or whenever you just feel like giving your home a little lift.
9. Baby-proof your laundry.
For such tiny beings, babies and toddlers can really put clothes, bedding, and toys through the wringer. For starters, soak stained clothes in cold water. For lighter jobs (like drool), it'll do the job. If the situation requires escalation, the University of Illinois has published a helpful guide to deal with baby oil, baby food, and bodily excrement. Make sure the detergent you're using is the mildest possible to avoid irritations.
10. Make your routine work for you.
What works for one person might not work for you. Don't be afraid to try things, but when tips feel like they're tripping you up, take them with a grain of salt. Do what works for you, whether it's timed tidying every day, weekend binge-cleans, or both!
Of course no one wants a stain on a sofa, but no one should live their life around avoiding them. Use your home to enjoy red wine, coffee, pets, children — you know, the things that make life enjoyable — and know that you can clean up after them as needed.
This post is sponsored by the maker of OxiClean™ and was created by the Apartment Therapy Creative Studio.
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