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Back to School Cleaning Tips for Parents
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Back to School Cleaning Tips for Parents

Are the kids ready to return to school? Find out ways to make sure their uniforms & backpacks are clean and organised, plus more ideas for back to school in this article.

Get Organised for School By Cleaning Up Kids’ Uniforms

One of the trickiest things about this time of year for parents is finding replacements for all of the school essentials that became a little worn out or stained over the last school term.

Rather than buying new things, one of the best back to school ideas for parents is to remove stains and clean up garments. The most common of these stains is ink – so if you’re struggling to remove a stubborn splodge, here are some handy hints:

1) For water-based inks (found in your everyday writing pens), the best method begins by flushing the stain out with water. Begin by blotting the stain with a damp cloth to remove as much of the ink as possible, before applying a stain remover or small amount of liquid laundry detergent directly to the stain. Let it soak into the fibres, and gently massage the stain to really work the product deep down into the fabric. Wash as normal in the washing machine with your favourite detergent, like Surf excel.

As always, when using any new cleaning or laundry product, it’s important to read both your garment tags and the clothing label and to test them on a small, inconspicuous area first.

2) For oil-based inks (found in marker pens), water won’t work to help remove the stains, as it won’t penetrate the oils. Instead, the best option is to apply some rubbing alcohol. If you don’t happen to have any, acid-based nail polish remover should do the trick nicely. Be sure to use on an inconspicuous area first to make sure they won’t cause any damage. Use these products the in same way as the stain remover above – apply a small amount to a cloth and blot the stain. Then, launder the garment as usual, following the advice on the care label.

Clean Backpacks to Get Ready for the Back to School Season

If kids have been using their backpacks over the school holidays, they might be a little dirty, particularly if they’ve been used during the rainy season. Sending our kids back to school with a satchel that’s covered in mud stains isn’t ideal – we all want our little ones to look bright and clean on their first day. Here are some tips for getting those bags clean:

1) Thankfully, many backpacks can be washed in the washing machine, especially those made from nylon or canvas. If you’re unsure if a bag can be washed or not, check the care label – this should tell you the optimal temperature and setting to get the item clean. If you’re dealing with a leather satchel, check out our tips on how to clean leather here.

2) Make sure everything has been removed from the satchel. School bags today come with all sorts of hidden pockets and zips, so check everywhere twice. The last thing you want is to leave some paper in there, which will disintegrate into millions of tiny pieces.

3) Undo any straps and tie the ends together to reduce the risk of them getting caught in the drum of the machine. Alternatively, you could use a mesh laundry bag, which will protect the straps from the internal workings of the machine while still getting the bag clean.

4) Turn the bag inside out – this will help keep the straps contained, and also reduce the amount of colour that could potentially run during the wash.

5) If you have a fully automatic washing machine, use a cool setting – around 30 degrees, or even less if the backpack isn’t too dirty. This will keep the satchel from shrinking, and will also reduce the risk of the colours from bleeding, so the bag will look just as fresh and vibrant as it did when you got it.

6) Dry the backpack naturally by hanging it on a clothesline. Be sure to reshape the bag while it is still wet so that it dries in its usual shape – a misshapen bag could be uncomfortable for your child to wear.

Key Steps:

  • Make sure your cleaning cupboard is well stocked with anything you might need. This should include a good quality stain remover for clothes, plenty of laundry detergent, a healthy supply of sponges and cloths, and some rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover for oil-based stains and dirty marks.
  • Keep a few spare school pens hidden away for emergencies. If your kids come home on their first day with ink all over them after a pen leak, you’ll not only want to make sure you’ve got all the right cleaning products, but you’ll also want to make sure your kids have spare stationery to take with them tomorrow.
  • Don’t assume that just because you washed your kids’ school clothes at the end of the previous term that they’ll still be clean now. Clothes in storage can become musty, subject to moths, and can even attract mould, so it’s worth checking your kids’ clothing a week or two before their school starts – this gives you time to wash them or buy a new set if necessary.

Top Tip

A quick, easy way to clean a school bag is to remove all the large items, and then use a vacuum cleaner to suck out all the little bits of detritus – like pencil shavings or tissue fragments – that have built up over the school term. Then you can wash the bag as usual according to the advice on the care label.