A pack n play can be referred to as a 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. It’s an absolute must have for young families on the go.
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. The Graco pack comes with a carrying bag, which is super handy also.
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. But many parents are concerned with how to clean pack n play mattress.
4 Methods For Cleaning a P&P Mattress
Here are the 4 methods for cleaning your Pack N Play mattress:
- The Spot Clean – This method is great for wiping down your pack n play mattress on a daily basis, it keeps it nice and clean for your little one.
- The Wipe Down – This method involves putting an all natural cleaner in a spray bottle and spraying your pack n play unit to clean it.
- The Rinse – Use this method if your pack n play mattress is particularly dirty. You can clean it outside or laid down in your bath.
- The Deep Clean – This is where you soak your pack n play mattress in the bathtub for at least an hour with warm water and detergent.
4 Simple Ways To Clean Your Pack N Play
The great news for you is that a pack and plays mattress is 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 unit on a daily basis, it’s a good idea to clean the unit at least once a week. However, if you are using the unit less often, you don’t have to deep clean the child’s pack as often.
In my personal opinion, I think it’s always a good idea to give your pack n play mattress a good wipe down on a daily basis. This will ensure that you are keeping it safe and clean for your baby.
1. The “Spot Cleaning”
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, using 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.
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.
The “Spot Cleaning” Process:
To spot clean your pack n play 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. I would recommend purchasing a couple of these so you have one while the other is in the wash.
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 n play mattress, you can let it air dry, or you can towel dry if you have the time. I used to let mine 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 dirty, 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.
2. The “Wipe Down”
The wipe-down method is a good way to ensure your pack n play mattess 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.
How to Perform The “Wipe Down” Process
To use this method, it is best to use a 1:1 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!
3. The “Rinse”
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.
When you’re cleaning your pack n play mattress for the first time, always read the instruction manual carefully to make sure you aren’t going to ruin what you are trying to clean.
A replacement mattress can be expensive so take the time to read your instruction manual carefully, so you don’t ruin your play mat.
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.
Make sure it is laid completely flat in the bath.
The “Rinse” Process
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.
4. The “Deep Clean”
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.
The “Deep Clean” Process
When the pack n play mattress is clean, find a space for it to fully dry, and then fill your bathtub with warm 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.
Extra Tips For Cleaning Your Pack N Play
- 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 baby 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.
It’s important to kill any germs that could harm your baby, as well as. If they are sleeping on a pack n play mattress, it’s important to make sure it’s clean at all times.
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 ever gets caught in a house flood, I would recommend throwing it out and getting another one. You just 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 (a couple of times at least).
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 as you know, 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 baby 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 some warm 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 my pack n play?
How regularly 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 mattress every day, then you should wash it more often, I would recommend giving it a good clean on a weekly basis. I would also spot check it daily to make sure the baby didn’t spit up!.
I would recommend giving your pack n play unit a good deep cleaning on a monthly basis. Pick a sunny day, and give it a good deep cleaning and let it air dry outside in the hot sun.
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 pack n play in winter?
If you live somewhere cold and you need to clean your pack n play, do it in the bathtub in the wintertime, don’t do it outside.
Use the deep clean method and soak the pack n play unit in the tub for an hour and rinse it off with the shower head.
Remember to allow the play mat to dry completely before adding it back into the play yard. You can 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 will seep into the baby 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 you can do to keep your baby healthy and safe, is to keep your pack and play clean! Doing regular cleaning on your child’s pack n play mattress, will make it super easy to stay clean on a regular basis.
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Grainne Foley is a wife and mother of 2 great kids. During her 5 years of full time RV travel, Grainne learned to become very efficient at household chores, in order to make time for family adventures. Now, back in a house, she has continued to create tools and techniques to help others lighten the load of household organization and cleaning.