How To Clean Floors and Remove Stains When You Have Children

Children spill things, drop things and smear things. It’s inevitable that no matter how careful you are, at times children will have accidents and your floor will get dirty. So what are the best ways to keep your floors in good condition when you have children? How can you remove some of the most common spills to prevent staining? Read on to find out.

A ceramic tile kitchen floor with milk spilt on it by children
It's inevitable you will get spillages on the floor with you have children, but what is the best way to clean them?

Tips For Cleaning Your Floors When You Have Children

Think Before You Buy

If buying new flooring for a family home then consider your options carefully so they are easy to maintain and clean. Carpet is hardest to keep clean so is best avoided in the kitchen, bathroom and dining areas. Wood, tiles and lino can all be wiped clean easily if there are spills so they are good options when you have children. Wood and lino can get scratched as children drag furniture around (or is that just my kids?) but we have found the ceramic kitchen tiles and those in our bathroom are the easiest to keep looking in great condition. 

General Floor Cleaning

Even without spillages the floor inevitably gets dirty over time due to general use. All flooring should be vacuumed or swept regularly, high use areas in our house need doing daily. Hard floors should be mopped every week or so, which can be really fast to do with a spray mop. Carpets will benefit from a deep clean from a carpet cleaner every 6 months or when looking tired. You can hire or buy machines to do this or use professionals for the best result.

Cleaning Spills, Stains and Marks From the Floor.

If you have new carpet or flooring make sure you follow any stain removal advice provided at the time of installing. Always try new products on an inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t cause damage. For most spillages you should clean it up as soon as possible so it has less chance of staining, but children wont always bring accidents to your attention.

Try to prevent spills spreading further with a dabbing motion and working from the outside to the middle. 

Tips for Removing Wet Stains From Flooring

On hard flooring like wood or tiles you can simply wipe or mop up wet spills, simple.

On carpet first soak up as much as you can, dab (don’t rub) the spillage with kitchen paper, a towel or something absorbent. Keep changing the cloth until it comes up clean. 

If the mark is still visible use a cleaning product, working from the outside of the stain in to avoid spreading.

Tips for Removing Dry Stains From Flooring

Vaccuum the area to remove any loose pieces (but only if totally dry and non-sticky). If still slightly wet, but there are larger pieces use a dustpan and brush to remove these so you can work on what is left.

On hard surfaces take a damp cloth and wipe the mark, if it doesn’t come off spray with a cleaning solution, leave a couple of minutes and wipe again. We have a few marks that have needed a more intensive cleaner, but these always risk damaging the surface of the flooring so using a gentle approach first is best. 

If wood flooring is scratched you can often make the mark less visible by using wood oil, rubbing a nut (eg a walnut) on the mark or colouring in with a wax crayon the same shade as the floor.

On carpets try agitating the surface while vacuuming to see if any pieces flake off. If it wont come off dry then you need to make it damp again. Carpet cleaning foams can work wonders at getting marks out. They generally require you to spray on, work into the mark, leave to dry and then vacuum off. If the stain is still there after using carpet cleaning foam a couple of times it is worth contacting a specialist carpet cleaner who will have various products, tools and the experience to help.

Children having some water play with a washing up bowl on the tiled kitchen floor
Tiles are a great option when you have children as they are easy to clean and dry

Stain Removers for Common Household Marks Caused by Children


Unlike most dirt or spills, mud on carpet is best left to dry before tackling it. Dry mud tends to clump together and can be mostly vacuumed up. Make sure the area isn’t walked on while drying so the mud isn’t compressed into the carpet. Once dry and as much removed as possible through vacuuming use a carpet foam to remove the rest.


Not just an issue because of the mark, but the smell of stale urine is not pleasant. Unfortunately when toilet training accidents on the floor and furnishings can often happen. Pet urine is best cleaned up with a commercial cleaner, but if it’s from your children you can make an effective home made solution using equal parts vinegar, washing up liquid and at least 30 parts water, spray on and dab off with clean cloths until dry. If after completely dry it still smells sprinkle on some bicarbonate of soda, leave for a couple of hours to absorb the smell and then vacuum.


Spots of blood on carpet or fabric can be hard to remove, but we have enzymes in our saliva which break down our blood so spitting on the stain and giving it time to break down can be surprisingly effective. Alternatively a stain removing foam should work.


WD-40 works well at removing crayon marks from hard floors, but it can damage some carpets so try using a washing up liquid solution.


Use a rubber on hard floors, blue tack and play doh also work well if rubbed on the “artwork”. It is pretty difficult to make an obvious mark on carpets with pencil, but if your child has managed it try a stain removing foam.

Felt tip and pen

Felt tip and pen marks are really hard to get out of all flooring types. If you are lucky enough for it to be washable ink then dabbing gently with a little methylated spirit can work, but it might be best just to call in the experts straight away and see if they can rescue it.

Chewing gum 

Freeze it! With clothes or cushions you can easily place them in the freezer, but for rugs, carpets and hard floors you can use a bag of ice or ice pack to make it hard. This gives you a good chance of scraping it off.


Vinegar breaks down most slime so when you have removed as much as you can manually spray some vinegar on the slime and dab off when it has become more liquid.

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