Today’s topic doesn’t really have to do with Top Secret, Little-Known products you’ve never heard of, but rather a collection of a few things I’ve found immensely useful over the last few years that maybe aren’t the first things that come to mind when you think “Parenting Must-Haves”. I’m hoping you share some of your own in the comments!
Goo Gone. You know when you buy something like a frame or a vase or whatever, and there’s a price sticker on it which appears to be adhered using something invented by NASA? And no amount of fingernail-scraping will get the residue off? Goo Gone to the rescue, my friend. More specifically to the parenthood topic, Goo Gone will work on gum, tape residue, tar (!), soap, crayon, and it even gets pine sap stickum off, say, a size 7 toddler shoe. It’s heavily orange-smelling and really oily, but wipes clean easily. Keep out of reach of children, obvs.
Forever New Stain Remedy. My mom gave me this little pink bottle of stain remover a couple years ago, and it’s been maybe the most useful cleaning product I’ve ever encountered. It’s designed for clothing stains, but I’ve used it on sheets, the carpet, and our cream-colored fabric sofa that’s been spit-up-on, had food spilled on it, and on a recent memorable occasion, had poop smeared on three different cushions. The Stain Remedy cleaned it all up, without leaving a horrible chemical stink behind (I’m looking at YOU, Resolve).
The Stain Remedy is a liquid soapy type product (solvent-free, biodegradable), and I rub it into stains with a little water, wait a few minutes, then blot it clean. Works like a damn charm every time. I can’t recommend this enough — it’s probably even good for clothes, for which it’s actually designed.
(Note: the manufacturer recommends you test to make sure your fabric is colorfast before treating stains.)
Baking Soda, and Lots of It. Baking soda is like some magical elixir of the gods, because you can use it for damn near everything. My favorite uses have to do with cleaning barf- or poo-coated sheets or clothing, and sour-smelling towels: throw about a cup of baking soda into the washing machine when you do your laundry, and voila! The smell, it is gone. Baking soda also works nicely when you need to re-wash clothing that you laundered two days ago and left to fester, wet and reeking, in the machine. Not that I would be intimately familiar with that issue or anything.
Schlage Plymouth Keypad Deadbolt. Okay, so while this is kind of an oddball product to recommend, I have to gush about the sheer freedom and joy a keypad house lock can bring to your life. Imagine the following scenarios:
• You’re trying to warm up/cool down your car, but you realize you left something in the house, and now you have to turn off the engine to run back inside
• You need to let someone inside your house while you’re not home, but you’d prefer not to give them a key
• Your impish toddler has shut and locked the front door while you went out to get the paper. In your nightgown. Without a bra.
We had this keypad installed when we had our front entry rebuilt last year, and next to the ice dispenser in the new fridge I swear it’s one of my favorite aspects of the remodel. You don’t need to carry a housekey, you never run the risk of being locked out of your house, and you can create a temporary code for anyone who needs access. So handy! I can’t comment on the ease of installation because we didn’t do it ourselves, but the company claims it takes less than 30 minutes.
Rain-X Glass Treatment. If you live somewhere where it rains at all, ever, you need this product. If you live in the Northwest and your windshield is not already coated with Rain-X? Just . . . put down the mouse, now. Back away from the computer, and get yourself to an auto-goods store and buy this right now.
Rain-X works by being “formulated with a transparent polymer that fills the microscopic pores of glass with hydrophobic molecules”. Whatever. Here’s the important part: after you put this stuff on, rain just…beads off your windshield. You don’t even really have to use wipers, the water just rolls right off. It’s crazy, and awesome, and for people who live where it rains for months and months on end, it makes you feel a lot safer when you’re driving two kids through a massive downpour because you have so much more visibility.
It works on sleet and snow, too. It’s easy to apply, and it costs, like, TWO DOLLARS. Now get going and Rain-X your car right this minute, okay? Stay safe out there.