Five simple ‘back to school’ cleaning tips for busy parents

Children often come home from school sporting all sorts of stains. Picture: iStock/Gallo Images
Children often come home from school sporting all sorts of stains. Picture: iStock/Gallo Images

As we head into a new school year, newspapers and TV stations will soon be filled with images of adorable children on their first day of school which will mean it’s also “back-to-school” for a whole new generation of parents.

What we won’t see, however, are the pictures of what those adorable kids look like when they’re heading home. With the Grade R school day only lasting a few hours, it is truly puzzling how they can come back home covered in everything from paint and grass stains to juice and other foods.

But there are many ways to preserve and prolong the life of your children’s uniforms.

Start by always reading and following the care instructions, wash with colder water when possible (when clothes aren’t too grubby), don’t hang items in direct sunlight for too long, and get your kids to change into play clothes as soon as they get home.

This last point will prevent additional marks or stains because, at the end of the day, your child is likely to frequently come home from school covered in all manner of grime – grass, dirt, food, sticky juice, or ink.

Since its launch in 2014, SweepSouth, the online platform providing on-demand and regular home cleaning services, has created work opportunities for more than 13 000 unemployed and underemployed domestic workers., Here are a few tips on cleaning school uniforms, courtesy of these experienced SweepStars

Clean the green

Many bottles with abstergent, red cap and green li

One of the most common marks found on school and sports clothes is grass stains. A simple wash won’t always lift them, but fortunately a mix of vinegar and baking soda will. Just mix a little of each to form a paste and rub onto the stain, or use an old toothbrush to scrub the spot before washing.

Fight the food

Many bottles with abstergent, red cap and green li

Many food stains will come out easily, but greasy marks can be tricky. If it’s set a while, a little trick is to dab the stain with dish soap (the ultimate grease remover). Then wash with your regular detergent.

Punish the plastics

Many bottles with abstergent, red cap and green li

It’s not just uniforms that can get stained. Plastic lunch boxes are not immune to grease and can become yellow over time. Be sure to always wipe containers clean before washing with soap and warm water. For stains and stubborn grease, first clean with vinegar diluted with warm water or rub over with a lemon wedge.

De-stink the socks

Many bottles with abstergent, red cap and green li

Socks get smelly after a long day of classes, after-school activities and sports. But you can banish the odour, which can often linger even after washing with the toughest detergents, by soaking socks in warm water and vinegar. Then wash and dry in the sun.

Strike out the ink

Many bottles with abstergent, red cap and green li

A broken pen can result in stains on clothes, backpacks, or even all over your furniture at home. Be warned: chucking the item in the wash can set this stain for good. Try to lift stains that are still wet with salt or cornstarch. For dried stains, try a little nail polish remover.

These tips will not only save you time and make your life easier, but they’ll certainly help you beat those back-to-school blues.

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August 2020

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