Two children are hard work, harder than I imagined, but to be fair to them, the giggles and the way they play together already really makes it worth it. They’re 13 months and 3.5 if you’ve not read any previous posts, so yes, they do now fight over toys. It’s amazing how many toys which B got for her birthday, that 3.5 year old H exclaims she “loves so much” and cries as to why she doesn’t have an x, y or z, on a daily basis. On the flip side, B is desperate to do everything that H does. Use H’s cups, choose a plate as H does, use a spoon and fork. Of course B has just turned 13 months and she can’t actually do all of this stuff without creating a bit of mess. Que cereal all over the floor on a daily basis. Que drinks being fought over and spattered. Que food crumbs here there and everywhere. Over the years I’ve googled countless natural cleaning tips, stain removal tips and of course time saving tips. I can’t profess to having an Instagram perfect home, the spare bedroom is atrocious, the washing pile far too high, and the I-need-to-sort-clean-washing-pile even bigger. Finding time to clean with one child was hard, and it’s so much harder to find time with two.
Like many mums I speak to, I find that I’m always chasing my tail and barely able to keep up. I really don’t think I keep up, it feels like I’m never able to tackle the big jobs which just sit waiting, piling up, just like the washing. However, every so often I do something and think it’s a really quick solution.
Here are some of those cleaning ‘hacks’ which I couldn’t really do with out…
How I clean the house while juggling two kids … well how I attempt to!
A handheld hoover
If I had a penny for every time I use this I’d be a millionaire. We’ve had a Dyson handheld vaccum for 5 years now and I whip out at every opportunity, every crumb gets whizzed up. half the time it sits in the kitchen all day, constantly right to hand, and goes back in the utility room on charge at night. Handheld vacuums make it easy to vaccum the stairs and also quickly whizz around the bathrooms collecting stray toilet paper slithers which H seems adept at dropping.
We’re currently reviewing a Shark duoclean handheld vacuum and it’s fab too! [Amazon: Shark Cordless Vacuum – Duoclean IF200UK)]
Dustpan and brush
Yup, the old fashioned way, but sometimes it’s called for. We keep ours under the sink so that bowl which B just threw on the floor as I unloaded the dishwasher is dealt with in seconds. Seriously she comes running when she hears the dishwasher open. Eager to help. Help she is not – sorry B if it’s now 2020-something and you’re reading this!
I use lemons and lemon juice for everything, from cleaning the microwave to descaling our new glass kettle. I really should have used this trick more often on our old kettle. We live in a really hard water area and it completely caused the filter to fall apart… ooops.
Vinegar is a natural detergent, so I often use it as softer in the washing machine. It’s cheap and works. No horrible chemicals in it either – win win, in my book. I’m so fearful of using bio products in case we set off a reaction.
I’ve also been known to use vinegar in a bag to clean limescale on taps and shower heads – it works wonders all by itself while we sleep. You don’t get easier than that!
Descale a kettle with vinegar
We have a glass kettle, which shows every single bit of limescale. I stay on top of it by descaling using vinegar, or lemon, whichever I can grab first.
Biocarbonate of soda
I sprinkle this over milk spills and it stops it becoming ingrained and gets rid of any smell that might develop.
I don’t know where I’d be without Fairy Liquid, it’s the most amazing stain remover. My blog post on stain removal and photos of how awesome it is will attest to why Fairy Liquid removes poonamis and every other stain I’ve tried. Just rub it into the stain and rinse it away… kind of – do read my post to see the full explanation and before and after photos.
Just pay a cleaner…
Of course I toy with getting a cleaner, at least even a cleaner once a month to give the bathrooms, kitchen and windows a good clean. I struggle so much to keep on top of those ‘good’ cleans and always feel like I’m chasing my tail doing quick cleans all the time.
And, professional carpet cleaning – sometimes the real deal is needed!
Of course, we can’t solve every carpet stain and our vacuums and ‘domestic’ steam cleaners can’t clean as well as a professional. In our case the previous owners had a dog – the carpets and the ‘kitchen carpet’ were ingrained with white dog hair, something which only professional carpet cleaning can really help with. We actually ripped out that kitchen carpet on our second day in the house and replaced it with vinyl.
I’m not convinced carpet should be in the kitchen, even if it is ‘kitchen carpet.’ In any way, with two kids, I think carpet cleaning every so often is definitely something that will help keep on top of family life messes. Those sticky spills just breed bacteria and pets obviously have their own impacts, from shedding and marking their territory, and the rest. I could vacuum constantly and it wouldn’t get rid of them or the allergens that become embedded. We do have a spray carpet cleaner we try to use whenever we spill something – whenever there are beans on the dining room carpet… or on that paint H got under the protector mat when painting polystyrene pumpkins and I didn’t notice it. Bright orange ‘Halloween’ paint, I should add. But it’s not really or fully cleaned.
We’re now truly overdue our ‘let’s get the carpet cleaners in’ as hubby just squirted Calpol over our living room carpet, we’ll get there before the summer is out. Don’t get me wrong as much as I love the smell of Calpol, when I think of the potty training accidents of last year, and the number of Tommee Tippee cups of milk which have been ‘sprinkled’ over the carpet it really does make me think it’s time to call the professionals!
Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post