Most people dread doing their household chores, especially kids. Next to the kitchen, the bathrooms in your home are the most demanding of a regular clean. No matter how healthy your family is in diet and exercise, all bathrooms are breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria; E. coli can always be found within six feet of the toilet and sink.
You don’t want the stuff that comes off in the bathroom to make its way to other parts of your home, so experts say you should disinfect and scrub at least once per week. However, when you have a million other things to do — make breakfast, lunch and dinner, get the kids to school and extracurriculars, go to your own job and clean the rest of the house — you might be tempted to outsource household chores like bathroom maintenance to your little helpers.
While bathroom cleaning is a valuable skill that all kids should acquire, it is also more dangerous than other chores around the house. To ensure no one gets hurt or sick while cleaning the bathroom, take these tips for teaching bathroom maintenance to your kids.
4 Tips for Household Chores and Bathroom Maintenance
Choose Cleaning Products Carefully
Too often, chemical manufacturers dye bathroom cleaners flashy colors like blue, purple and green to make the chore more fun and help you identify the different products by sight. Unfortunately, these colors often mimic the colors of kids’ favorite drinks — to the extent that sometimes even adults can’t tell the difference. To prevent the disastrous effects of curious kids sneaking a taste of glass cleaner (or worse) you should focus on buying products with more natural ingredients or else making your own kid-safe bathroom cleaners.
Fortunately, some of the best bathroom cleaners are DIY, made from ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, corn starch and essential oils. Here’s a typical recipe that will disinfect and clean but won’t make your little ones ill:
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons castile soap
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 30 drops tea tree essential oil
- 20 drops sweet orange essential oil
READ MORE: Cleaning Without Chemicals
Keep Bathrooms Clutter-free
The less clutter you have, the less time and effort you need to dedicate to household chores. This is true for every room, but it is especially true in the bathroom, where everything needs to be sanitized on a regular basis. If you want your kids to do a thorough job, you should cut back on the décor and allow them to focus on cleaning what is most important: the sinks, the countertops, the toilets, the tubs and showers and the floors.
Set a Cleaning Schedule and Checklist
Some things are certain: Your kids aren’t going to clean the bathrooms on a whim, and they probably won’t notice when it starts to get dirty. If you truly want to lean on them to complete this chore, you are going to need to tell them exactly when and how they should clean the bathrooms. In any case, it’s wise to give your kids a chore calendar; that way, they can get used to building their schedules around their household duties. While they are still young and unaccustomed to the chore, you should also give them a checklist to remind them what cleaning the bathroom entails. An appropriate list might include:
- Scrub the sink
- Wipe the countertops
- Wipe the cabinets
- Shine the mirror
- Scrub the toilet bowl
- Disinfect the toilet
- Scrub the tub
- Dust the baseboards
- Mop the floors
- Empty the wastebasket
If you have multiple kids, you should consider allowing them to break up the chore how they see fit, either giving each kid a section of the checklist or splitting up your workforce to tackle multiple bathrooms at once.
Don’t Be an Absentee Teacher
Finally, you can’t expect your kids to know how to clean bathrooms without any instruction. Because cleaning the bathrooms is so important — and because it requires potentially dangerous tools — you should stand by to provide instruction when your kids perform the cleaning. In fact, the first few times your kids clean, you should be actively teaching them how to perform the tasks, explaining in detail how you wipe off the counters, scrub the grout in the tile, etc.
You should also explain again and again why all this effort is necessary: to keep everyone healthy, to get rid of the gross stuff and whatever other compelling reasons you can come up with. Eventually, cleaning the bathrooms will become a habit for your kids, and you can enjoy a cleaner house (and more responsible offspring) forever more.
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