Tips for parents who have a pack n play at home and need some guidance on how to clean it.
Pack n play can be referred to as play yard, playpen, camping cot, and a myriad of other names. It’s a foldable crib-like item that provides parents with a safe space for their babies to play and sleep. I recommend the graco pack and play, it’s so simple to use and it’s not as expensive as some of the other brands. It comes with a carrying bag, which is super handy also.
Most parents have a pack n play on their must-have baby gear items on their list when they have a new baby at home. Its easy setup makes it handy to have in the home and convenient to take with you when you travel. It is also easy to convert into a playpen or a cozy little sleep nest. Just simply add or remove the pack n play mattress.
These pack n plays are so versatile and are used on a daily basis. This means they can get pretty yucky pretty quickly, especially with sticky hands and dirty feet from babies.
Before you clean your pack n play, there are four main cleaning strategies you can consider. These are all great ways to ensure your little one has a clean and sanitized playard. The best-suited method will depend on your deep cleaning needs.
If you are here to learn how to clean pack n play mattresses and the entire unit, then keep reading for some easy cleaning tips and tricks.
Before you clean your pack n play, there are 4 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.
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4 Ways To Clean Your Pack N Play
Pack and Plays are easy to clean. Depending on how dirty your pack and play mattress is, you can use one of the methods listed below to clean the mattress.
If you use your pack and play on a daily basis, it’s a good idea to clean the unit at least once a month. However, if you are using the unit less often, you don’t have to deep clean the child’s pack as often. It’s always a good idea to give it a good wipe down on a daily basis. This will ensure that you are keeping it safe and clean for your baby.
Spot cleaning is the best way to clean your pack n play. All you need is a damp, lint-free towel or cloth to wipe down the surface, baby-safe soap, and warm water. With this technique, your pack’ n play won’t be sopping wet. This lessens the chance of it getting damaged or warped.
Regular spot cleaning of the play mat should prevent the need for any of the more intensive cleaning techniques.
In addition to spot cleaning, you can use pack ‘n play sheets or a mattress cover. This will help to keep the mattress clean and spotless. Play sheets and mattress covers are usually machine washable and will prevent you from having to clean the playpen mattress on a regular basis. Just throw the mattress cover into the wash, on a regular basis to keep it fresh and clean.
To spot clean your mattress, do the following. First, open the pack ‘n play to remove the mattress. Now, take a washcloth and wipe down the sides and the rails of the play yard with warm soapy water.
You might need some elbow grease to remove tough stains, spots, and other kinds of nasty messes. To remove some tough stains, try using a soft bristled brush or a scrub brush to remove spit-ups.
If you have a waterproof mattress cover or sheets, you can remove these from the mattress and wash them separately.
Use warm water to clean the pack and play mattress. Simply wipe the mattress off with a clean cloth or a clean towel soaked with soapy water. Once you’re done cleaning the entire pack, you can let it air dry, or you can towel dry if you have the time. You can let it sit in the sun to speed up the drying time.
Before reassembling your pack and play, make sure to give it plenty of time to dry. This will lessen the chance of mold, mildew, or odor from unattended moisture.
If your pack and play is very filthy, you might need to go through the entire cleaning procedure again. Alternatively, you might want to opt for some of the more extreme deep cleaning methods to properly clean your playpen.
The wipe-down method is a good way to ensure your pack n play stays clean. It works especially well for any spit-up messes and stains. This method is easy to apply and will have your mattress looking as good as new in just a few minutes.
To use this method, it is best to use a vinegar-water solution. You can add the solution to a spray bottle and spray it onto the mattress directly, followed by a dry rag to clean and dry the mattress. Ensure that the mattress is completely dry before putting it back into the travel crib.
If you don’t enjoy cleaning with vinegar, then a natural cleaning solution or baby safe washing detergent will do. We love the Better Life Natural All-Purpose Cleaner for this type of cleaning!
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. Just be sure to read the cleaning instructions for your mattress properly before attempting this cleaning method.
Most pack and play 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 sun for drying. Again, be sure to let it air dry completely before putting it back in the playpen.
If you need a deep cleaning method for your pack and 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.
It’s always a good idea to read the manufacturer’s instructions for the play mattress before attempting this cleaning method or any of the other cleaning methods mentioned here. Check the instruction manual to see if the cleaning method is compatible with the specific play mattress that you have.
When the mattress is clean, find a space for it to fully dry, and then fill your bathtub with water and add a half a cup of baby safe washing 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 at least an hour.
When the hour is up, simply drain the water and rinse off the pack and play. If there are still a few stubborn stains left, you can use a soft bristled scrubbing brush to scrub them off; it shouldn’t be too difficult to remove.
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.
- 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. Always check the pack and play cleaning instructions before attempting to clean it.
- Make sure to lay everything out flat, including the pack n play mattress, to ensure it all dries correctly to prevent mold growth.
- You can swish the pack n play 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. Instead, use a baby safe cleaner to clean the pack n play mattress.
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 getting rid of the dirt that can potentially hurt your baby is important and should be done daily. While this is very much applicable to your child’s toys and bottles, it is also very important for sleep spaces such as your baby’s 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 the 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-ups so you can get that pack n play mattress cleaned up right away.
If your pack n play gets caught in a flood while it’s being stored away, I will 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 secondhand pack n play, I recommend deep cleaning the pack n play mattress before placing the baby in it. Use an appropriate cleaning solution to effectively clean the mattress. Use hot water and a baby safe laundry detergent or cleaner to do a deep clean wash and let it dry completely before reassembling the crib.
Since your baby spends a lot of time in the pack and play, you want it to be clean of dust mites, bed bugs, germs, and all kinds of nasty stains and spills, especially spit up, which happens a lot.
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 and plays have cardboard inside of them, so they should not be deep cleaned but spot cleaned. You can spot clean the mattress with a spray bottle and vinegar and water solution or your own baby safe homemade cleaner.
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 warm water and then rub that solution on the stain. Wait a few minutes (10 minutes 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 play yard outside?
If you have a shower, then you can always rinse the unit off with the showerhead. You won’t be able to soak it, but you could scrub it down and wash the soap off in the shower. This method might be less effective, but it should still be able to get the job done. As with any other method, allow the play yard to dry completely before you allow your baby to play or sleep in it again. To speed up the drying time, find a nice sunny spot and leave it to air dry in the sun.
How often should I wash the pack n play?
How regular you should wash your pack n play will depend on if you use your pack and play on a daily basis or once in a while. If you use your pack n play every day, 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 wintertime, 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. Remember to allow the play mat to dry completely before adding it back into the play yard. You an use some drop cloths to lay the pack and play on.
Final Thoughts on How to Clean Pack N Play Mattress
Keeping your pack n play clean and clear of germs and bed bugs 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.
There’s no need to stick to just one method; if you want, you can try to combine a few of them and see which combination works well for you.
The most important thing is to keep your baby healthy and safe by keeping your pack and play clean! This can be as simple as having a regular cleaning routine for your play yards.
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