I've always looked for ways to involve my girls in the cleaning process of our home. First of all, because I need the help in a household of six. And second of all, because they need the experience of being a part of a whole where everyone contributes.
Our cleaning station was invented to provide one location where the cleaning supplies are stored and reachable for the helping children (and adults). This means a couple things, that the cleaning supplies must be safe for kids to handle/use and that the cleaning station should be exciting (enticing) in some way.
I'll start with the enticing part. Our homemade cleaning cloths.
I've dreamt of having uniform, pretty cleaning cloths. Cloths for the daily counter cleaning and cloths for "cleaning day" for both big and little hands. I wanted some fun fabric that would embody the togetherness and hard work of a home. Don't you love this farm scene fabric with wheel barrows full of fall's harvest, a growing garden, and a water pump? I chose a natural terry cloth for the reverse side of the cloth for scrubbing, dusting, and deeper cleaning.
Can I just say that having exciting cleaning cloths has totally pumped up the enthusiasm of cleaning in our house, for all of us?
Let me quickly show you how to make your own cleaning cloths. You could easily just use terry cloth--a great, natural fiber, either doubled up and sewn or just single. If you want something a bit more exciting then find a nice cotton for one side. If you want to take it up one notch, you can combine two fabrics on the one side like I did.
Homemade Cleaning Cloths
1 yard terry cloth
1 yard nice cotton fabric
.5 yard accent cotton fabric
1. Decide how big you want your cloths. I cut my terry cloth into roughly 10.3 inch-squares.
You'll have extra fabric that you could turn into really small cloths for little spills, wipe-up cloths, and such. The kids would love these, too.
2. If you'll be piecing two pieces of fabric for the front of the cloths, decide how much of each fabric you want side by side. I cut my farmyard fabric into 7.3 inch strips so I could piece it with the accent fabric.
3. Cut your accent fabric. Since the total length of my terry cloth square was 10.3 inches and I cut the farmyard fabric 7.3 inches, I cut the accent fabric into 3.3 inch strips. (The extra will be what is stitched together of the two fabrics.)
4. Sew your two front cottons together lengthwise. Now cut your piece so you have multiple 10 x 10 pieces.
5. With right sides facing each other, stitch around your cleaning cloth leaving a 3 inch opening to turn it right side out.
6. Press your cleaning cloth.
7. Topstitch the cleaning cloth making sure to sew the 3 inch opening closed.
Now you have beautiful, purposeful cloths that will truly bring a smile to the little helpers in your home. I get so excited after breakfast every morning to open the closet and pull out a clean, fresh cloth to use for the day.
Now for the rest of the Cleaning Station.
Here is what is on our cleaning tray:
- Stack of cleaning cloths
- Two full bottles of our all-purpose cleaner (Thieves oil blend--an incredible, antiseptic weapon we use for sickness, cleaning, etc. mixed with distilled water)
- A small spray bottle of some lemon essential oil and distilled water (For the kids to use to remove crayon on the walls, stains, and polish wood)
We keep the tray with its supplies in the closet in the kitchen on a low shelf. On cleaning day, the girls get excited to get their own spray bottle and cloth. They dust, clean windows, wipe tables and the likes. And happily, the cleaner is completely safe. (It is the same oil blend they know from their mother rubbing on their feet when they start getting sick.)
Having everything in one place and public invites everyone to clean up after themselves. They can feel confident in cleaning their own spills. I love the cleaning station.
You can make a really simple cleaning station by using your current cleaning cloths folded and stacked neatly on a repurposed tray and adding child-friendly cleaners (whether bought or homemade) to the station. Announce the "new cleaning station" to the whole family and watch with eagerness how something boring can turn into something exciting.
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the sleepy time gal