With the Grade R school day only lasting a few hours, it is truly puzzling how they can come back home covered in everything from paint and grass stains to juice and other foods. Picture: Zanele Zulu/ African News Agency (ANA)
With the Grade R school day only lasting a few hours, it is truly puzzling how they can come back home covered in everything from paint and grass stains to juice and other foods. Picture: Zanele Zulu/ African News Agency (ANA)

5 back-to-school cleaning hacks for busy parents

By IOL Supplied Time of article published Jan 11, 2020

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As we head into a new school year, newspapers and TV stations will soon be filled with images of adorable children on their first day of school which will  mean it’s also “back-to-school” for a whole new generation of parents.

What we won't see, however, are the pictures of what those adorable kids look like when they're heading home. With the Grade R school day only lasting a few hours, it is truly puzzling how they can come back home covered in everything from paint and grass stains to juice and other foods. 

But there are many ways to preserve and prolong the life of your children's uniforms.

Start by always reading and following the care instructions, wash with colder water when possible (when clothes aren’t too grubby!), don’t hang items in direct sunlight for too long, and get your kids to change into play clothes as soon as they get home. 

This last point will prevent further marks or stains because, at the end of the day, your child is likely to frequently come home from school covered in all manner of grime grass, dirt, food, sticky juice, or ink, to name a few. 

For a few tips on cleaning school uniforms, SweepSouth comes to the rescue.

Clean the green

One of the most common marks found on school and sports clothes is grass stains. A simple wash won’t always lift them, but fortunately a mix of vinegar and baking soda will. Just mix a little of each to form a paste and rub onto the stain, or use an old toothbrush to scrub the spot before washing. 

Fight the food

Many food stains will come out easily, but greasy marks can be tricky. If it’s been set a while, a little trick is to dab the stain with dish soap (the ultimate grease remover). Then wash with your regular detergent. 

Punish the plastics

It’s not just uniforms that can get stained. Plastic lunch boxes are not immune to grease and can become yellow over time. Be sure to always wipe tupperware clean before washing with soap and warm water. For stains and stubborn grease, first clean with vinegar diluted with warm water or rub over with a lemon wedge. 

De-stink the socks

Socks get smelly after a long day of classes, after-school activities and sports. But you can banish the odour, which can often linger even after washing with the toughest detergents, by soaking socks in warm water and vinegar. Then wash and dry in the sun.

Strike out the ink

A broken pen can result in stains on clothes, backpacks, or even all over your furniture at home. Be warned, chucking the item in the wash can set this stain for good. Try to lift stains that are still wet with salt or cornstarch. For dried stains, try a little nail polish remover. 

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