How To Clean Pack N Play Mattress (3 Ways)

How To Clean Pack N Play Mattress (3 Ways)

Tips for parents who have a pack n play or playpen at home and need some guidance on how to clean it.

Most parents have a pack n play on their must-have items list when they have a new baby at home. It is very handy to have in the home and while you travel.

Pack n play can be referred to as playard, playpen, and a myriad of other names, but it is a foldable crib-like baby item that provides parents a safe space for their little ones to play and sleep.

These pack n play’s are so versatile and are used on a daily basis, which means they can get pretty yucky, pretty quickly.

The good news is, a lot of these pack n plays were designed for easy cleaning and sanitizing, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to properly do that so your little one has a clean and safe space to be in.

If you are curious about which pack n play you want to purchase, here is a wonderful guide to help you out.

If you are here to learn how to clean pack n play mattresses and the entire unit, then keep reading.

Before you clean your pack n play, there are 3 main cleaning strategies you can consider.

Depending on how deep of a clean you need, these are all great ways to ensure your little one has a clean and sanitized playard.

It is a good idea to give your pack n play a thorough deep clean once a month if you are using the unit on a daily basis, and less often if you’re using it less. It’s a good idea to give it a good wipe down on a daily basis as well, to ensure you are keeping it safe and clean for your baby.

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3 Ways To Clean Your Pack N Play

Wipe Down

To stay on top of any spit-up messes and stains, a wipe-down method is a good way to ensure your pack n play stays clean.

To use this method, it is best to use a vinegar-water solution and spray it onto the mattress directly, followed by a dry rag to clean and dry the mattress.

If you don’t enjoy cleaning with vinegar, then a natural cleaning solution that is baby safe will do. We love the Better Life Natural All-Purpose Cleaner for these types of things!


To effectively clean the entire unit, it’s a good idea to take the whole thing outside or into your bathtub so you can give it a good rinse.

Most playpen mattresses have covers that you can take off, so you can just throw that into the washing machine. To wash the rest of the unit properly, take out the mattress and put it into the bathtub.

Mix a solution of baby-safe laundry detergent and water and use a brush to scrub down the mattress. Be sure to rinse it off well and then leave it to drip dry. It’s always nice to leave it in the sunshine for drying, but the bathroom will do as well.

Deep Clean

If you are needing a deep clean method for your pack n play then you might want to try this approach. First, take the entire mattress out of the pack and play and use the RINSE method mentioned above to clean it.

When the mattress is clean, find a space for it to fully dry and then fill your bathtub with water and add a half cup of detergent to the water. Once the tub is full, submerge the rest of the pack n play in the water and soak the unit for an hour.

When the hour is up, simply drain the water and rinse off the pack n play, leave it to drip dry in the tub or in the sun. On a hot day, it can take about 4 hours for the base to dry in the sun, but I would leave it overnight in the summer for 24 hours to make sure it dries completely.

Extra Tips

  • Check which materials your mattress pad is made from. If it is wood or cardboard, it’s not a good idea to submerge it into the water as it may become warped.
  • Make sure to lay everything out flat to ensure it all dries correctly to prevent mold growth.
  • You can swish the mattress around or scrub with a washcloth or soft brush while cleaning, just be sure not to scrub too hard so you don’t damage the material or rip the mesh.
  • Direct sunlight is awesome for killing germs, so if there are any germs that were leftover from your deep clean, the sunlight will help get the rest of them off.
  • Try to avoid using bleach on the mattress as this is a space your baby sleeps in and bleach is not great for their health.

Why You Need To Clean Your Pack N Play

All things that your baby interacts with on a regular basis should be cleaned regularly according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

To kill germs and get rid of the dirt that can potentially hurt your baby is important and should be done on a daily basis. While this is very much applicable to toys and bottles, it is also very important for sleep spaces such as the pack n play.

To prevent the buildup of mildew and mold in your child’s safe sleep space, it is a good idea to use these methods listed above to keep that space clean for your baby.

Mold can build up over time, so your pack n play should be properly sanitized which you can do with vinegar to keep chemicals out of your babies’ safe space. Try to be on top of baby messes such as spills and spit-up incidents so you can get that pack n play cleaned up right away.

If your pack n play gets caught in a flood while it’s being stored away, I would throw it out right away, because you never know what kind of gross germs can stay on your playpen even if you give it a deep clean.

If you are purchasing a pack n play a second hand, I recommend giving it a deep clean before placing the baby in it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can washing make the pack n play warp or change shape

Depending on your pack n play it is possible to ruin and warp the unit. It’s a good idea to look at the care instructions on your pack n play before submerging it into water. Some pack n plays have cardboard inside of them, so they should not be deep cleaned but spot cleaned.

How do I get the stains out of the pack n play mattress?

The best way to get stains out of the pack n play mattress is to mix a 1/4 cup of baby laundry detergent with 2 tbsp of baking soda and a little bit of water and then rub that solution on the stain. Wait a few minutes, (10 is good), and then wipe it off with a cloth and a little water if you need to.

What if I do not have a bathtub and cannot wash my playard outside?

If you have a shower, then you can always rinse the unit off. You won’t be able to soak it, but you could scrub it down and wash the soap off in the shower.

How often should I wash the pack n play?

Depending on if you use your pack n play on a daily basis or one in a while. If you use your pack n play everyday, then you should wash it more often, but if it’s not in use most of the time, then you can get away with a casual wipe down once in a while.

How to clean a pack n play in winter?

You’ll want to clean your pack n play in the bathtub in the winter time, don’t do it outside. Use the deep clean method and soak the unit in the tub for an hour and rinse off with the shower head.

Final Thoughts On How To clean Pack N Play Mattress

Keeping your pack n play clean and clear of germs is important and it’s pretty easy to clean a pack n play so you can do it as often as you like. Wiping it down on a regular basis is always a good idea, as baby spit up seeps into the mattress, making it harder to clean later and giving mold an opportunity to grow.

Keep your baby safe and keep your pack n play clean!

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