Posts Tagged ‘ cleaning ’

Magic Tricks with the Magic Eraser

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

While working on 23 Clean Discoveries, our April issue’s ultimate spring-cleaning guide, I polled Parents staffers about their favorite tidy-up tools. By a landslide the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser was crowned everyone’s not-so-secret weapon. It may be an old standby for removing crayon murals from walls, but we discovered 17 other genius ways to put it to work. Test our editors’ and readers’ tricks: just wet the foam with water, wring it out, and get scrubbing!


  1. Shine shoes in a pinch, when you don’t have polish. (Julie Taraska, Shop Parents Editor)
  2. Lift food dye and paint from quartz countertops—that’s no mean feat! (Lisa Milbrand, Contributing Editor)
  3. Lightly buff hardwood floors to remove permanent marker without stripping the finish. (Gail O’Connor, Senior Editor)
  4. Rub-off shoe marks on floorboards and stairs in five minutes. (Karen Snyder Duke, Associate Editor)
  5. Remove dirt and fingerprints that collect around light switches. (Dana Points, Editor-in-Chief)
  6. Polish kitchen cabinet doors. (Chandra Turner, Executive Editor)
  7. Keep a white-topped stove in pristine condition. (Jessica Hartshorn, Senior Lifestyle Editor)
  8. Dissolve soap scum from textured, non-slip surfaces like bathtubs. (Laura Fenton, Lifestyle Director)
  9. Touch-up computer keyboards and electrical cords. (Amy Roberts, Contributing Writer)
  10. Scrub stains, spills, and scuffs from hard-to-clean tile floors. (Maryn Liles, Associate Editor)
  11. Get rid of adhesive gunk leftover from price tags, stickers, labels, and tape. (Rheanna O’Neil Bellomo, Editorial Assistant)
  12. Cut 1-inch strips for your toilet tank to keep it fresh and remove hard water stains without scrubbing—just don’t flush them! (Syndi Shoff via Facebook)
  13. Wipe away marks on vinyl siding (and campers!) that the power-washer can’t. (Marcia Workman via Facebook)
  14. Buff the plastic and painted parts of your car to mask small dings and scratches. (Keri Evangelista via Facebook)
  15. Take ink out of leather couches and car seats. (Erin Ford Weiss via Facebook)
  16. Swipe along shutter-style blinds and shades. (Ami McBride via Facebook)
  17. Get grime off the fish tank and its accessories—gently and chemical-free! (Melissa Rodriguez via Facebook)

For more help with spring cleaning, check out our room-by-room guides:

Download the Easy Chore Chart to get your kids in on the cleaning action.

All ideas submitted have been edited and condensed. 

Image: Gloved hand cleaning crayon via Shutterstock


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23 Spring Cleaning Secrets Revealed

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

A recent Parents poll shows most moms spend 15 hours or more each week sponging, scrubbing, sweeping, and vacuuming. To help slash that time, we enlisted the help of our editors, as well as cleaning experts, to deliver clever tricks and products for every room in your home.

In December, I sent 22 editors home with more than 30 of the latest and greatest cleaning supplies on the market. I assigned everyone a mission and they each went home to dutifully vacuum pet hair from carpeting, scour bathroom grout, steam hardwood and tile floors, wash windows, and scrub stoves—hey, we’re not above manual labor! Every sponge, brush, vacuum, and scum-busting solution was put to the test and if our real moms and dads weren’t impressed, we cut it from our list.

To see which products shined, check out our room-by-room guide to spring cleaning:

Your Kitchen
The room that’s the heart of the home is also its most mess-prone. Food prep plus eating is a recipe for sticky counters, gritty floors, and crud everywhere else. Here’s how to cut kitchen cleaning time in half:

Your Living Room and Bedroom
These spaces have a lot in common: soft, comfy furniture, plush carpeting, and personal clutter. They also share the cleaning challenges of upholstery stains, dirty carpeting, and dust. Use our tips for tricky messes:

Your Bathroom
Make the place where your family gets clean spotless. Tackle soap scum, mildew, stained grout, and more:

Find The Best Vacuum for You
We tested the latest vacuums to find the right tools for your home’s carpet, tile, and wood. Find out which is right for your family:


Household Chores During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Household Chores During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Household Chores During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?


Which family space do you need the most help keeping tidy? Let us know in the comments!

Image: Dad and daughter vacuuming by Stephanie Rausser

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Cleaning Tips for a Germ-Free Playroom

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Spring cleaning may still be months away, but it doesn’t hurt to keep your kid’s playroom clean during the winter season when bacteria and germs are more likely to spread.

Melissa Homer, Chief Cleaning Officer at MaidPro and busy mom on-the-go, specializes in helping other busy moms like you maintain a clean home in no time at little cost.  Below, she shares four strategies for organizing and cleaning a playroom.

Disinfect the ToysA toy must be completely disinfected for it to be clean. Soak the toys for 5 minutes in a solution of 3/4 cup bleach mixed in a gallon of water. Rinse and let dry.  For large toys, use a disinfecting multipurpose spray cleaner and wipe them dry with a clean rag. One of Melissa’s favorite mommy time savers is making a large batch of bleach water in the bathtub to disinfect a large number of toys at once.

Give Each Toy a Home - Keeping things clean with kids is already hard enough in a cluttered, disorganized room.  To keep things under control, use tubs, baskets, and shelves to place and store toys in a neat and compartmentalized way.

Keep Toys in Rotation - If you have too many toys to keep in one place, try rotating toys regularly (every few weeks or months).  Keep a majority of  toys stored away (e.g. basement, garage, storage closet, etc.), but leave out an interesting and varied  mix to keep your little one entertained.

Enlist the Help of Professional Cleaners -  Cleaning tasks should be divided and shared between both parents.  If there isn’t time, make room in your budget for a professional cleaner to take care of deep scrub cleaning once a month.  This way, you can spend less time maintaining the house the rest of the time so you can spend more time with the family.

More about germ-free living on

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Keep a Germ-Free Home With Our New House-Cleaning Tool

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

We know it’s hard to find time to clean the house, especially during the holidays. To make your life easier, we created the Healthy Home, an interactive room-by-room guide to help you efficiently clean your home during the cold and flu season. The tool goes over routine procedures like kitchen-cleaning (watch out for those sponges!) and shows you how to clean stuffed animals and other germ-hosting items. You’ll want to start cleaning immediately after you read the tips, trust us!

Do you have any home cleaning tips you’d like to share with us? Leave a comment!

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TLC for Your Coffee

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Let’s be honest—sometimes it’s hard to get things started in the morning without a really good cup of coffee. In fact, more than 125 million people in the U.S. drink a total of 416 million cups of coffee every single day (I may contribute a cup or four to that statistic, myself).

Surprisingly, 77% of American coffee drinkers actually consume their coffee at home. That’s a whole lotta home brewing going on! And that’s great—brewing at home allows you to save some cash, and you can control what goes in. But be honest—when is the last time you really gave your coffee or espresso pot a good clean?

Lucky for all home-brewing fans, Urnex, a company that has been manufacturing industrial cleaning products for coffee and espresso equipment since 1936, is now offering a home line of 4 new products for your regular coffee pot, your Espresso machine and your grinder.Check out their handy how-to directions on the site for easy use as well.

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Share Your Best Mama Tip!

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

23912994_8a0b5eb062 Got a great tip or trick that makes your life easier? Tell us about it and you could be featured in Parents magazine!

Whether it's a surefire way to get your picky eater to eat her veggies, a simple organizing solution, a clever way to keep kids busy on long car-rides, or the perfect go-to present that's a hit with every child, we want to know our readers' best nuggets of homegrown advice! It can be about anything—so go on and share! To add yours, go to our new community site. We can't wait to read your amazing tips!

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Share Your Best Mama Tip!

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

CLINICAL BOX It certainly doesn't feel like summer in NYC yet, but if you're lucky enough to be in warmer temperatures, you may be getting a whiff of the fact that your regular deodorant isn't getting the job done. The latest odor-attacker out there is BAN Clinical Defense Roll-On, $7. It claims to work better than the other clinical-strength deodorants you've seen in drugstores because it uses a technology that eliminates two stress-related odors—spicy odor and s-odor—instead of just masking them. Give it a roll and let us know what you think.

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Cleaner Keyboard

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

I just got over my first killer cold of the season. And if you’re like me, right after a bug like this one, you get the urge to clean everything in sight. As soon as I was back in the office I wiped my workspace down with an antibacterial cloth, but what I really wanted was to take a sudsy sponge to everything on my desk, including my keyboard. I resisted. I doubt IT would have been very happy with me had I caved. But my clean craving did lead me to Unotron, makers of washable keyboards, mice and smart card readers. Their latest product, the SpillSeal washable antibacterial keyboard, can be fully cleaned with soap under running water. It’s recommended for health care office settings; which probably makes it reasonably useful in houses inhabited by germy preschoolers. Plus, spills, crumbs and general gooeyness won’t ruin it. They have wireless versions too. I’m sold.

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