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6 Items You Need to Clean Before School Starts

The back-to-school countdown has begun! Many school districts are just a month or so away from reopening to students, which means getting back into a morning routine to feel refreshed and ready to greet the day.  

With a couple of weeks to spare, you’re probably wondering (if this is your kid’s first time going to school or you’ve never been great at preparing for the new school year), “how do I get ready for back-to-school with my sanity intact?” 

That’s a great question, and the answer is back-to-school cleaning! While this involves giving your home a good, deep summer cleaning, there are also some essential school items your child needs to be disinfected before the new school year.  

As your back-to-school cleaning gurus, we have six items that must be cleaned before school starts again. (Trust us; your sanity will thank us later.) 

1. Backpacks 

Backpacks are one of the easiest school accessories to clean (just throw them into the washing machine and call it a day), but most people opt to use them for the school year and then replace them the next year. While this is a pretty common practice, it isn’t always practical. You can save money if you stop purchasing a new backpack yearly. In fact, it’s more cost-effective to replace a backpack every two years.  

2. Lunch Boxes 

Water-resistant plastic and insulated lunch boxes with your kid’s favorite superhero, cartoon character, etc., are durable and washable items that can be cleaned by hand, in a washing machine, or a dishwasher. Regardless of which back-to-school cleaning option you choose, we can help you safely sanitize your children’s lunch boxes. 

Steps to Clean a Lunch Box in the Dishwasher 

  • Step 1: Ensure you own an insulated or plastic backpack that’s dishwasher safe.   

  • Step 2: Clean out all contents and any food particles.  

  • Step 3: Place it on the top rack facing down. 

  • Step 4: Program the dishwasher for a gentle, cold-water cycle and add a mild detergent. 

  • Step 5: Leave the lunch box on a drying rack to air dry. 

Steps to Clean a Lunch Box in the Washing Machine 

  • Step 1: Ensure the lunch box is made of neoprene, linen, or canvas, so it’s machine washable. 

  • Step 2: Put in a load with similar fabric to avoid washing the lunch box alone. 

  • Step 3: Wash on a gentle cycle in cold water using mild laundry detergent. 

  • Step 4: Hang the lunch bag after it’s and let it air dry for at least 24 hours. 

Steps to Clean a Lunch Box by Hand 

  • Step 1: Mix 1/4 cup of white vinegar, a teaspoon of mild dish soap, a teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/4 cup of warm water until it comes to a lather. 

  • Step 2: Use a microfiber cloth and wipe the inside of the lunch box with your natural lunch box cleaner.  

  • Step 3: Take a separate cloth, wet it with warm water, and remove any excess cleaner. 

  • Step 4: Let the lunch box air dry completely before use.  

Pro Back-to-School Cleaning Tip: If a linen lunchbox has particularly tough stains and food residue, mix white vinegar and baking soda to create a paste. Dab the paste into the stain and let it soak for 2-3 hours. Rub the spot vigorously until the blemish disappears and rinse with warm water. Spray Scotchgard® on the inside to prevent future stains.  

3. Shoes 

Are you sick of buying new shoes every year because they get filthy and barely look like shoes anymore? You’re in luck! You can knock out that summer cleaning and prepare your children for the new school year by washing all their shoes.  

The best cleaning method for shoes is the washing machine or hand washing. If you use the washing machine, place the shoes in a mesh bag. Remove heavy clumps of mud and dirt before cleaning in the washing machine. Place on a gentle cycle in cold water.  

Pro Back-to-School Cleaning Tip: Avoid washing shoes in the dishwasher, as dish detergent and other chemicals can be harsh and damage shoes beyond repair.  

4. Car Seats 

We don’t have to tell you how dirty car seats get over time. With small children, accidents are bound to happen with juice, food, and (ahem) bodily functions. Most parents will spot-clean all day, but removing the entire car seat cover isn’t the norm. If it’s been a while since you’ve thrown the seat cover into the washing machine or vacuumed out the many bits of cereal and picked out the tiny blocks, take a day to do that before the kids go back to school. Not only will you keep bacteria at bay, but you’ll also help maintain these important and life-saving components.  

5. New Clothes 

Back-to-school shopping is probably in full swing at this point, so only a couple of weeks are left before a new school year! With all the excitement and preparations, you may forget that your children’s new outfits need a good washing before school starts. Why? To prevent exposing them to possible cancer-causing agents found in some clothing dyes.  

In 2014, Stockholm University researchers conducted a study that found that 29 out of the 31 clothes samples they purchased contained a chemical called Quinoline, classified as a “possible human carcinogen.” 

So, before you fold or hang newly purchased clothes for school, wash them first and avoid potential health problems. 

6. Reusable Masks 

As of July 2022, states no longer require people to wear masks in public due to COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t still utilizing your reusable mask or planning to send your children to school with one.  

Before the kids return to school, round up all the reusable face masks in the house and clean them. We recommend cleaning face masks after every use to eliminate dirt and bacteria buildup. You should wash your children’s face masks on a gentle, hot-water cycle at 140 degrees Fahrenheit to kill germs and viruses. To prevent the fabric from shrinking, let the mask air dry. 

Let Us Perform Back-to-School Cleaning for Your Entire Home! 

You have enough going on trying to get school supplies and new clothing and get everyone back into the swing of early-morning wake-up calls. The last thing you probably have time for is cleaning. No worries! Merry Maids® is ready to get your home back-to-school ready, so it’s one less thing you have to stress about.  

Find your local cleaning professionals or call (888) 490-4227 for a free estimate today!