The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

Kids Messy Moments


As all second-time parents know and first-time parents will soon learn, children under 5 grow quickly – and so do opportunities for #MessyMoments.

Whether you have an infant, toddler or preschooler at home, it’s important to understand cleaning priorities and practices as kids crawl, toddle and run. Check out and share our messes, priority surfaces and tips with the parents and grandparents in your life.

How to Wash Messy Hands

Messy Moments Infographic WEB

  1. Wet hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap, either in bar or liquid form.
  2. Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Do this away from running water, so the lather isn’t washed away.
  3. Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.


Free Clean Hands Resources.


Did you know that the Poison Prevention Centers offer free, private, confidential medical advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? You can reach your local poison center by calling 1-800-222-1222. ACI suggests that you program this number into your home and cell phones in case your messy moment turns into an emergency.

Spots and Stains

Children get into all sorts of situations where stains can occur, from eating ice cream (protein) , to playing in the yard (grass, mud and maybe a skinned knee from time to time), to finger painting. The sooner you pretreat/soak the stain the better chance you have to having the stain fully removed. 

A quick and easy reference on how to treat and remove stains can be found on ACI's Stain Removal Chart.

Cleaning Product Storage

  • Never let children handle cleaning products
  • Always store cleaning products up and out of sight and reach of children
  • Always store cleaning products in their original container
  • Always keep product containers securely closed