Swiffer with muddy rain boots bench raincoats

How to Clean up Springtime Messes Your Kids Make

Mud, dirt and grass, oh my! Learn the best ways to tackle springtime messes with our helpful tips.


The arrival of spring means that you can release your kids into the great outdoors to play. But it also means extra work as you try to keep your house free of the mud, dirt and grass your little darlings drag in, as well as the stains that mysteriously end up on their clothing. No worries – we’re here to help you tackle the main messy culprits with four simple tips.

1. Mud, Mud Everywhere
Kids are like mud magnets – something about the squelchy squishiness of the stuff is so enticing. But rather than keep them cooped up inside on rainy days, dress them in their rain gear, slide boots on their feet and let them splash to their hearts’ content. They’ll burn off some energy, and you’ll get to watch them have fun from the window.

How to master mud cleanup: Leave a change of clean, warm clothes just inside the front door so you can minimize the impact on the house. Once you’ve carefully stripped those muddy clothes off the kids, hang them outside in a covered space to dry off along with the boots. Swiffer WetJet can help remove the mud from your floors – the pad traps dirt your mop can push around, and the solution dissolves tough, sticky messes.

2. Soil and Grass from the Garden
Getting your kids outside is good for both their physical health and emotional wellbeing. The natural bacteria found in soil can help boost the immune system, and being in nature is good for the soul! Just be ready to deal with dirty hands, nails and knees afterwards so your kids don’t get dirt all over the furniture.

How to master dirt and grass cleanup: Place a bucket of warm soapy water on the porch and have your kids deposit any plastic toys they’ve been playing with so you can wash them together. They get to splash around in the water while cleaning their hands and nails in the process. Use a washcloth handy to wipe off their knees. Also consider setting a “no shoes in the house” rule – although it might be worth checking the bottom of their socks, too!

3. Ice Cream Stains
It’s hard to beat an ice cream cone on a sunny spring day – but rare is the child who lets worrying about ice cream dribbling down their clothes spoil their enjoyment. Chocolate, strawberry or mint (or a sticky mix of all three) makes for a tricky combo to get out of cotton tees.

How to master ice cream cleanup: First blot the stain with a Bounty paper towel. Turn the garment inside out and rinse the stain with cold water. Then pre-treat it with Tide Ultra-Oxi liquid detergent by pouring it directly on the stain. Rub the fabric together gently, or use a soft-bristled toothbrush to work the detergent into the fibers. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing again. Then wash normally according to the care label. Stain defeated!

4. The Aftermath of a Picnic
Everyone loves a picnic – especially when you know how to remove stains! Grass and mud (yes, more mud), juice stains, grease from sausages or burgers … it’s likely your brood is sporting a mix of any and all of the above, but luckily, they’re all easily treated.

How to master picnic cleanup: Pre-treat grass and mud stains by applying liquid detergent like Tide Ultra-Oxi directly to the stain. No need to rinse off – just pop it in the machine and wash on the highest temperature recommended for the garment. Treat grease stains the same way. Stubborn fruit juice stains (either from a drink or juice that’s dripped from the whole fruit) can be difficult to remove, so try these tricks. Make a paste using 3 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 tablespoon of water and apply to the stain to help draw it out. Allow the paste to dry for 15 minutes. Rinse off, and apply a laundry detergent. Rinse with hot water and apply a stain remover. Wash items as normal, but hang to dry – tumble drying the clothes if they’re still stained will set it for good. If you need to, repeat these stain removal steps until you’re satisfied no trace remains, and dry as normal. And consider packing a Tide-to-Go instant stain remover pen on your next picnic to treat stains just after they happen!

What are your top tips for cleaning up spring messes? We’d love to hear them – please share your advice below!

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