Cleaning Up After Messy Art

Making a mess can be an important part of the creative process. For many kids, it seems the messier the art project, the more FUN and memorable the experience becomes! Don’t let the mess stop you from making some amazing memories with your kids.

Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for cleaning up after messy art:

Cleaning Up After Messy Art - 5 tips to make clean up easy

Contain the Mess

Before you begin, lay a plastic tarp or a shower curtain liner down on the floor. Try using baking sheets or trays as a work surface to contain the mess. We have a set of baking sheets from the local dollar store that are used only for art work. Divided trays help to keep supplies organized while you work too. Try saving the messiest projects for outdoors when the weather is cooperating.

Quick Tips for Cleaning Up Glitter

Perhaps one of the messiest art supplies is glitter. A lint brush works well for cleaning up glitter. Alternatively, if the glitter is on a hard smooth surface, you can use play dough to clean it up. Afterwards, you can call it “galaxy dough”. Very cool! Here is a short video of my 11 year old demonstrating how this works.

Paint Messes

Where possible, use washable paint and wear an apron or smock to protect clothing. You may want to designate a set of “art clothes” that are old and worn out that can be used for messy projects.

Go for Low-Mess Projects

We are not afraid of mess, but it is nice not to have to clean up after every single project. Here are some low-mess or mess-free alternatives the kids (and you) will love! 10 Simple No-Mess Crafts for Tots, and several other no-mess crafts here.)


Disinfect the Work Surface

I like to use Clorox Disinfecting Wipes to clean up fingerprints and also prevent the spread of germs. These are one of my favorite multi-tasking cleaning wipes to remove germs, bacteria, and kitchen grease! During cold and flu season, I try to keep these on-hand for killing up to 99.9% of viruses and bacteria including Staph, E. Coli, Salmonella, and Strep.

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  1. My daughter uses old shirts from Dad as art smocks when we are going to get really messy. We use plastic tablecloths from the dollar store as tarps and the disposable baking trays for working on those super messy projects too.

  2. The kids pitch in and I use antibacterial wipes.

  3. tweet–

  4. Jessica To says

    I do the deep cleaning and my son puts things away.

  5. I clean up by putting everything away and at times will disinfect things too.

  6. I clean up after playtime using Clorox wipes and the kids help me.

  7. I always use Clorox wipes to clean after playing

  8. I wipe down all toys with clorox wipes and have my daughter was her hands after playing!

  9. Steven weber says

    Use clorox wipes on all toys and play surfaces

    groogruxking40 @ gmail dot com

  10. Steven weber says
  11. Julie Wood says

    I us the Chlorox wipes to clean all the toys by wiping them down and making sure they are germ free, and wiping down the table that we use.

  12. Julie Wood says


  13. I have a toddler so I’m teaching her to help me.

  14. CR Williams says

    I usually use a cleaner and a sponge. I definitely gonna start using the clorox wipes.

  15. CR Williams says
  16. natasha lamoreux says
  17. natasha lamoreux says

    We definately always have Clorox products on hand, its a trusted brand. We use the wipes on the surfaces and spray for the bathrooms.

  18. I clean up after play time by using germ wipes to clean and bins to store our supplies.

  19. Lisa Brown says

    I clean up by using hot water and soap on surfaces and/or disinfecting wipes.

  20. Lisa Brown says


  21. I clean up with a microfiber towel and sometimes use a cleaning agent with it, depending on how bad the mess is!

  22. Susan Smith says

    I wipe down all the toys with Clorox Wipes.

  23. Susan Smith says
  24. We try our best to remind the kids to wash their hands constantly!


  25. I use Clorox bleach to deep clean kid’s toys and wipes to clean random items.
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

  26. tweet-

  27. Put things in their bins and wipe off surfaces

  28. Judith VanAlphen says

    Enlist the help of kids.

  29. Judith VanAlphen says
  30. I always had a treat for the kids as an incentive to get everything cleaned up.

  31. We clean up after play time by wiping toys down before putting them away in the toy box.

  32. Clean up isn’t always easy…probably the least fun part for any project. I do love Clorox wipes, they make things super easy and I love the fact that it kills germs that I can’t see.

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

  33. I would use Clorox wipes! And make my kids help!

  34. Using Clorox disinfecting wipes.

  35. We use a spray and paper towels, but wipes would probably be easier.

  36. Claudia Davis says
  37. Claudia Davis says

    Depending on how bad the mess is, either clorox wipes or a old t-shirt with bleach.

  38. I don’t have kids, but I clean my mess with a green products spray – then once a week I go over counters with Clorox bleach spray!

  39. I use wipes!

  40. Newspapers usually make the cleanup easier. And then I use Clorox wipes.

  41. It depends on the mess and the surface but usually paper towel and water and a bit of disinfectant.

  42. I disinfect most surfaces and vacuumed all the crumbs. Kids a crumb factories

  43. sarah hirsch says

    i clean up after playtime by putting toys away and wiping up any messes

  44. The first and most important part of cleanup is putting things away where they belong, but if they’re messy, a wipedown keeps the mess from living on to rear its ugly head another day.

  45. Here’s my tweet about your blog post and the Clorox giveaway:

  46. It depends on the mess but usually with paper towels, sweeping and then using disinfecting wipes.

  47. Anastasia Falling says

    Clean up after play time? That’s nap time!! lol but starting with washable markers is a good way to get a head start on cleanup 🙂

  48. Anastasia Falling says
  49. Wanda McHenry says
  50. erica best says
  51. Jessica Beard says