Parents can’t always expect their kids to keep the children’s playhouse as pristine as it should be. Spills will happen, dirt will be tracked in and the playhouse will eventually succumb to general wear and tear if not properly cared for. It will also suffer the onslaught of the elements. However, after following some general cleaning and maintenance tips, most playhouses will last for years to come.
General Cleaning Tips
From day to day and week to week, the upkeep for a playhouse is pretty basic. First and foremost, placement in the yard can make a big difference in your cleaning routine. A plastic playhouse should be kept out of direct sunlight as much as possible, as the sun breaks down plastic.
Any playhouse placed under trees will make for frequent cleanings, especially once the leaves begin to fall. Perhaps the best placement is in the shade created by your own home. Also, avoid barren areas of the yard, as the least bit of rain will only cause children to track mud into their playhouse.
Beyond that, most of the needed cleaning from day to day or week to week will be things handled just like your own home. Use a broom for excess dirt on the floor, a sponge and soapy water when one of the kids spills a juice box. Toys, if not weather resistant, should either be picked up and brought inside, or placed in a weather-resistant toy box within the child’s playhouse.
Plastic playhouses typically make for easier cleaning. Giving the whole playhouse a once-over with soapy water a couple times a year is usually good enough. As mentioned above, they should be placed somewhere with a minimum of direct sun. Also, if you have a model that can be broken down easily, it is a good idea to store it in a garage or basement if you know that it won’t be used for long periods of time. Lastly, if mildew develops anywhere, use a mixture of one part bleach to ten parts water to thoroughly wash it.
Wooden playhouses, when properly taken care of, only require cleaning a couple times a year. However, the type of wood and any stains and sealants will dictate what sort of cleaning is necessary. Some types of wood, such as eucalyptus, are very durable and already resistant to such things as rot and infestation. Other woods, especially pine, require treating with a preservative to prevent decay.
A good cleaning mixture for wood is 1 tbs. bleach, 5 tbs. soft dish detergent, and 1 gallon of water. Use a soft bristle brush on the wood. After cleaning, it should become apparent whether or not a fresh coat of stain or paint is needed. Also, any wood left damp, or in a humid, shady area for long periods is susceptible to rotting and mildew. If the playhouse isn’t too big, it is a good idea to have a plastic cover for those rainy days, and build it someplace where it has good sunlight for at least a portion of the day.
As a final note, if purchasing a used playhouse, or one that hasn’t been used in at least several years, it is important to do a thorough cleaning immediately. Some things to check for are rot and infestation in a wooden playhouse, loose screws in a plastic playhouse, and mildew and fungus.