#EurekaPower #CollectiveBias Messy play is an amazing thing. It builds brain power. It feeds the senses. It’s crazy fun. But it’s also crazy messy!! Don’t let the mess scare you away from the fun… Here are my top tips for How to Clean Up Messy Play. From vacuuming up play dough to cleaning up spilled glitter, I’ve got everything you need to get your play area clean.
Clean Up Messy Play
Here are tips, tricks and hacks for cleaning up 7 of my (and my daughter’s) favorite messy play ideas: paint, play dough, sparkles, slime, face paint, glitter and sensory bins.
How to Get Paint Out of Clothes
First hint here is to use washable paint with the littles. But just in case you didn’t, rubbing alcohol can come to the rescue.
- Soak the soiled garment with the alcohol for two minutes, a bit longer if you’ve let the paint really dry.
- Scrub with a toothbrush until the paint is loosened.
- Then throw in the washer on cold to remove the residue and lingering alcohol smell.
How to Get Play Dough Out of Carpet
Don’t you hate it when you spot that dreaded play dough wad in the carpet. First, don’t use carpet cleaner because it will make the color bleed into your lovely carpet! All you need is some patience and a good vacuum cleaner.
- Let the dough dry completely which may take a day or so. Try not to step on it in the meantime…
- Using the brush tool on your vacuum, break the dough up into small pieces. Vacuum up residue.
- Any remaining small pieces can be cleaned up with a damp, soapy paper towel gently rubbed over the carpet.
How to Clean Up Sparkles and Confetti
Pull out the vacuum cleaner to pick up those pesky little pieces scattered on the floor or the table. Are they stuck to dishes or containers? Make a tape roll around your fingers and press into the confetti. Static cling seems to make them particularly hard to get off of plastic, but the tape easily pulls them off.
How to Get Slime Out of Clothing and Hair
If you’ve hung around Left Brain Craft Brain much at all, you know we love slime. But what I don’t love is slime in clothing. The Brain Slime project ended up everywhere…. Because it was so fun! But, the mixture of dried glue and starch makes for a really gooey mess in clothes, in carpet and in hair! Luckily, he solution is as simple as distilled white vinegar.
- Scrape off as much of the slime as you can.
- Soak the garment in distilled white vinegar until the slime is softened.
- Rinse with clean water until slime residue comes off and launder as usual.
How to Get Out Grease Paint from Anything
One word. Dawn. An engineer friend used to work in a lab that developed lotions and such and told me that Dawn was the best for getting heavy oils out. Ever since, it’s never let me down.
- Wet clothing or a wash cloth if scrubbing skin or furniture.
- Apply a healthy sized drop of Dawn and scrub messy area.
- Rinse until color is gone and no bubbles remain from the soap.
- Wash clothing in cold water for first wash to make sure all traces of grease are gone.
How to Pick Up Glitter
Never fear glitter again! Simply take a ball of play dough and roll it through the glitter. Didn’t quite pick it up at all? Knead the ball so the glitter is worked through it and roll it on your messy surface again. The best part about this? You have some sparkly play dough for the kids to play with when you’re done. Our Tape Resist Glitter Forest used A LOT of glitter, but it was so easy to clean up with this little trick.
How to Clean Up After Sensory Bin Play
There are so many amazing things you can add to a sensory bin. But very few of them are mess free. So we make clean up a game. We count beans. Do a dance with the vacuum cleaner. Because nothing picks up rice better. And we play shop keeper like we did while cleaning up our Donut Shop Sensory Play bin full of coffee beans.
A Few More Tips…
- Timing is important when cleaning up messes. The faster you can get to tough stains like food coloring, grease paint and glue, the better your chances of getting things out.
- Not sure what the mess is on clothing? (My daughter is continuously coming home from school with unknown substances glued to her clothes…) Rinse stains in cold water first to remove as much as possible. Then treat with an oxygen-based stain remover.
Is Your Vacuum Up to the Challenge of Messy Play?
So my old vacuum cleaner wasn’t really up to the challenge of messy play with kids. It left rice on the ground, baking soda everywhere and don’t get me started on play dough. But vacuum cleaners are expensive. So I went to Walmart to pick up a new one. Specifically, the Eureka SuctionSeal 2.0.
I don’t know about you but, I find home appliances challenging to buy. Here were the key things that sold me on the Eureka SuctionSeal 2.0:
- It appeals to the engineer in me. Eureka has designed this vacuum with the best air flow possible. It has the straightest path between mess and canister that it can. Why? Every twist and turn in a vacuum causes friction and friction slows the air down. Slower air = worse vacuuming power.
- It doesn’t shoot mess out the side. Vacuuming up rice from a sensory bin usually means rice is scattered, not sucked, but the Suction Seal keeps the mess under the vacuum.
- It was on sale! It’s on rollback from $148.88 to $129 (now safely in my budget of <$150 with tax).
Here’s the SuctionSeal 2.0 in action…
What’s Your Favorite Messy Play Clean Up Trick?
I’d love to hear your favorite hacks for cleaning up after the mess your kids make. Will you leave me a comment? Or need more ideas? Follow my Getting Organized and Getting Clean board on Pinterest.
Follow Anne @ Left Brain Craft Brain’s board Getting Organized and Getting Clean on Pinterest.
15 thoughts on “How to Clean Up Messy Play”
I have this fantasy about a room with a drain in the floor? Just stick the kids and their fun stuff in there and – done! ;)
Ha ha ha! Love that idea. Definitely adding that to the dream house list.
Great tips! Love how you broke it down into different kinds of play and mess. So helpful.
Thanks so much Erin!
I think I may need another vacuum after all the messy play at our house.
I wonder if they test vacuums with messy play advocates?
This is such good information! Especially the bit about how to clean up glitter! Genius. When my kids make a mess, I like to hand them the vacuum. :)
What great tips! I especially love that such a great vacuum is on rollback right now! #client
Thanks so much Jess!
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I want my 16 month old to experience messy play but it’s hard to explain to him about ‘boundaries’ (no throwing) etc. I’m petrified of him getting paint all up the walls and on the sofa. this has helped, thanks.
So glad to be helpful. It took me a while to get used to it too.
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