If your little one’s Pack ‘n Play needs deep cleaning and you’re not sure how to do it properly, you’re in the right place!
This mama has prepared a detailed cleaning guide with all the information you could possibly need!
Many parents have wondered how to clean a Pack and Play before washing one for the first time.
The answer is surprisingly simple, all you need is a cloth, spray bottle, water, and detergent.
You can even add some everyday kitchen ingredients, such as baking soda, white vinegar, or lemon juice.
Being a parent is always a great responsibility, but it’s still a lot easier today than it was for our moms and grandmas.
They raised children without the Internet, bloggers with cleaning hacks for bassinets, car seats, modern toys, and gadgets, etc.
Thankfully, we have lots of resources to learn from and plenty of products and gadgets to make our lives easier!
Cleaning a Pack and Play is not a complicated task if you follow the instructions carefully.
For me, the most important part is checking your cleaning supplies before getting started.
There’s nothing worse than realizing you haven’t bought the detergent or a cloth half way through.
This is why it’s always such a great idea to check out Amazon or other similar online shopping sites thoroughly, just to be sure you’ve got everything you need.
How To Clean A Pack And Play
A Pack ‘n Play is a portable crib, playpen, daycare (when mommy has to do some chores), playard, or even a pacifier (babies just love to chew on anything they can reach).
Pack and Plays are usually quite simple and don’t require any special type of assembly, which also makes them easier to clean.
A Pack ‘n Play will require deep cleaning from time to time, especially if it’s noticeably grimy.
If you are wondering how to clean a Pack and Play properly, follow these steps and you’ll have a perfectly clean playpen in no time!
1. Read the instructions
This is the most important step before the actual cleaning process begins.
Most people lose the instructions, throw them away after unpacking, or simply forget about them.
However, without instructions you might end up making a big mistake that could even leave your playard unusable in the worst-case scenario.
Before you spill any water on your Pack and Play, be sure to check the maximum temperature the playpen can be exposed to.
Some newer models can only be cleaned with cold water because of the fabric or construction, so hot water is a no-go, which means you’ll have to deep clean it more than once.
A lot of manufacturers include a “how to clean a Pack and Play” section in the instructions, and if they don’t you should check it online.
Better safe than sorry, right?
2. Check the weather
It may sound like a trivial thing, but it’s actually very important to know what the weather will be like for the next few days before you wash the playard.
Almost all the parts of the Pack and Play will require air-dry, which means you’ll need dry weather to prevent mold from developing in hidden corners or the mattress.
Of course, forecasts are never 100% accurate, and it could start raining in the middle of the cleaning procedure.
If that happens, you can leave the playpen in the tub until it’s damp and then turn the heat up, or use a heater, to dry it out faster and prevent any mildew or mold from developing inside.
3. Prepare cleaning products
Make sure you have everything you need before you get started.
Baby detergent won’t be enough to wash out all the dirt and grime on its own, but you can mix it with other cleaning products.
It would be best to avoid regular detergents, which might be too aggressive and harmful for your baby (some chemicals may remain in fabrics, especially if the playpen is not rinsed thoroughly).
If you begin cleaning your Pack ‘n Play only to realize you don’t have all the products you need to do so, all your effort will have been for nothing.
Here is a quick list of the cleaning products that will effectively clean all stains from a Pack ‘n Play.
1. Dreft Stage 2: Baby Liquid Detergent Soap
This is a go-to cleaning product you can use for baby’s clothes, towels, sheets, and even a playard.
Its special formula will help you clean your baby’s playing and sleeping areas, especially when it comes to food stains.
However, if there are any stubborn stains or greasy spots, I would recommend combining this detergent with OxiClean.
2. OxiClean Baby Stain Remover
There is still no magical laundry detergent available on the market which can both wash your clothes and remove all stains without much effort.
Food stains are not usually a big issue, but spit-ups and diaper blowouts are rarely completely cleaned by regular baby soap.
Cleaning products like OxiClean are known as great stain removers and can clean almost any stains in no time.
This stain remover eliminates strong odors as well, especially diaper or body odor.
Colors won’t fade and your child will remain protected from harsh chemicals, as it’s chlorine-free.
It’s even compatible with all washing machines!
3. LiBa Amber Refillable Spray Bottle
A spray bottle is one of those things you don’t know you need until it’s too late.
That’s why I always suggest keeping a stash of refillable spray bottles because they’re so versatile and multipurpose.
I usually prefer glass bottles because they don’t leave any odors and can be used for other purposes after cleaning, while plastic ones always keep the smell, especially the smell of chemicals.
You can keep vinegar, bleach, essential oils, or any other product in these bottles for a longer period, and they’ll still keep the original quality because of the amber dark glass.
4. Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
How can anyone clean without cleaning cloths?
These are some of the best cleaning cloths I have ever used and they can be used for anything and everything around your house (even your children and husband!).
Your floors will be shiny, your windows will be squeaky clean, and your child’s play yard will be like new.
If you also have a bassinet or a crib, you can use these cloths to clean them in no time!
5. Dr. Bronner’s Castile Liquid Soap
Castile liquid baby soap is my favorite cleaning solution for baby mattresses, including the ones in the play yard.
Castille soap is high quality and made of natural ingredients that cannot harm your little one in any way.
This soap is also biodegradable, which means it’s safe for both your baby and planet Earth!
4. The cleaning process
Now that you have everything you need, the actual cleaning process will be a piece of cake!
There’s no special tutorial for cleaning, but there are two ways to do it.
One way is to place the Pack ‘n Play outside your house in an area that can get wet because there will be a lot of water and soap involved.
Take off the mattress cover (if there is one) and put it in the washer. Unfortunately, that is the only part that’s machine washable.
Apply the stain remover to all spots and be sure to closely follow the timing instructions.
Mix a cleaning solution by adding half of a cup of detergent to a bucket of warm water. Mix it well and use a cloth to apply it to the whole play yard.
Scrub thoroughly to get all the dirt and grime out of the mesh and fabric.
Wondering how to clean a Pack n Play mat? It should never be soaked under any circumstances if it contains a wooden board.
It will be completely ruined if it comes into contact with water.
However, you can use a damp cloth to dab the mat and a clean cloth to scrub the product out of it, or you can use an all-natural DIY cleaning solution without any harsh chemicals.
If you’re using a regular mattress without the board, you can soak it with soap and water and rinse it down with a jet stream.
After you finish rinsing the play yard and the mattress, let it air dry.
Leave it until it’s dry, and if it’s still damp put it outside again the next day.
Make sure it’s completely dry before you use it again for your little one, to prevent mold and mildew.
Another option is the popular deep cleaning technique, which is often said to be the best cleaning method.
Prepare the Pack ‘n Play for soaking by taking out the play mattress or play mat and folding up the frame of the play yard.
Fill up the bathtub with hot or warm water (check out the playpen instructions) and add soap.
If you plan to soak the playard in the water and leave it for some time, I recommend using castile soap rather than laundry detergent.
The mat procedure is the same as with the first cleaning method – avoid soaking the board, and if there isn’t one you’re free to soak the mat into the tub as well.
Leave it in the water for at least one hour (if one part is above the water, flip it after half an hour).
If there are any poop, food, or grease stains you can use a stain remover, but it could all come out after soaking.
Prepare yourself for some very dirty water. However, you can repeat the process if necessary.
Rinse it all thoroughly in the tub with a removable shower head and leave it outside to air dry.
5. Maintain regular spot cleaning
It’s all clean, shiny, and looking like a brand new Pack ‘n Play now, but it will return to its previous state in just a few hours of play.
However, there are some cleaning tips that might help you maintain the play yard so you don’t have to wash it too often.
Use regular spot cleaners.
A mixture of water and vinegar sprayed on stains immediately to clean them is a great idea for this.
Try to react immediately.
You can even use paper towels to soak up any spills in order to prevent bigger stains and then clean the spots that are left.
If you have a mattress cover, you should wash it regularly.
This way you can avoid any hard stains or strange odors that might also be a sign of bad bacteria.
6. Additional cleaning hacks
Cleaning products are probably the best cleaning hack, and make our lives easier, more practical, and above all, healthier!
However, our mothers and ancestors did have some of their own tips and tricks on how to keep the house clean before any of these supplies came out.
Most of them relied on DIY cleaning products which included regular household items and ingredients from the kitchen.
Here are some of the most common ingredients that are often used for cleaning purposes.
1. Baking soda
Baking soda is one of the most popular kitchen ingredients and can be used in almost every aspect of your life, for example:
• Cleaning bathroom and kitchen surfaces
• Cleaning bassinets, cribs, and playards
• For detoxifying baths for kids and adults
These are just some of its most popular uses, but I’m sure you could think of at least two more.
Baking soda can be mixed with soap and water to enhance the power of detergent. You can also add 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda to the water in the bathtub.
2. Lemon juice or white vinegar
These are both great spot removers and can work well with baking soda and detergents.
White vinegar is also commonly used for cleaning and cooking (usually salads).
It’s one of the best cleaning products without coloring agents, which means it will never leave any stains on surfaces.
Lemon juice contains acids that kill bacteria and is usually used as a natural bleach.
The smell of lemon is perfect for a sense of freshness after cleaning the house.
However, even though lemon smells nicer, vinegar is stronger as a cleaning ingredient.
The Best Pack ‘n Plays For Your Little One
If you’re still not sure which play yard would be the best for your baby, or you’d like to change the one you have, here are some of the most popular options that are highly praised by many parents.
1. Graco Pack ‘N Play
Some people started calling playpens Graco Pack ‘n Play because of this brand, which has been praised by parents all around the world.
Graco’s play yard is very soft and comfortable and it even includes a Nest Bassinet for newborns and small babies!
It can be used as a changing station as well, which is great when you’re on holiday and don’t have your regular changing pad.
There’s also an adorable portable bassinet for picnics and outdoor fun!
This model is completely covered with mesh for maximum ventilation and to protect your child.
My favorite part is the wheels, which will make your life a lot easier when you have to move the playard around.
2. Cosco Deluxe Funsport
A spacious and simple playard with a padded floor so your baby can crawl and move around more easily.
It’s comfortable and easy to assemble, which means it will be one of your best friends when traveling.
Another great thing about this playpen is that it comes with a handy carry bag, so you can carry it around without problems.
3. Joovy Room 2
This brand has made the most spacious playard, perfect for twins or just any two babies who like to play together.
It’s durable, safe, and spacious – what else could a parent ask for?
Joovy also has a two-year warranty on this model in case something doesn’t fit or you notice any factory errors.
4. 4moms Breeze Plus Portable Playard
This playard opens and closes with one simple push and pull, which is very practical for moms who don’t have a lot of time to spend on the assembly of a playard.
This model contains a bassinet and diaper changer, which are detachable.
It’s comfortable and practical because it comes with a travel bag for convenient traveling.
However, it’s not quite as spacious as some other models, like Joovy.
How often should I clean the playard?
While there is no exact timeframe for when a playard should be washed, I would recommend washing it at least once a month during spring and summer.
Babies spit up, sweat and, drool all the time, especially when they have sore gums.
You may not see all these stains immediately, but with time they might eventually turn into harmful bacteria that could cause health issues for your child.
I’d recommend getting a mattress and a cover which can be washed in the washer as often as you want.
However, going overboard with cleaning is not healthy either.
Of course, a baby should never be somewhere covered with sticky build-ups, stains, and bacteria, but sometimes children need to be exposed to the natural environment.
Let your child get a bit messy, it will help strengthen her immune system and overall health.
This is why I usually don’t recommend disinfectants for playpens. They might be too aggressive and even cause some skin conditions like a rash.
Soda, baby detergent, and liquid soaps are more than enough to keep it clean and fresh for your little one.
How to clean a Pack and Play during winter?
One of the most common questions every parent asks is how to clean a Pack and Play during winter.
This is completely understandable because a lot of people don’t have adequate space to air-dry a play yard.
Cleaning a Pack ‘n Play during winter is very challenging, but it’s not impossible, except for the deep cleaning part.
If you maintain a regular cleaning routine, it’s not a big deal to wait until spring for a deep cleaning treatment.
There are several things you can do until the spring comes, though:
• Change the mattress cover at least once a week
• Check the mattress and the frame for stains regularly
• Clean the playard with natural DIY products and a clean cloth
By following these simple steps, you will keep your child’s play and sleep area clean enough during the winter until you can clean it up properly.
Almost every parent takes great care of their child and wants nothing but the best for their baby.
Parents do their best to protect their little ones from every potential danger, which includes germs and bacteria that may cause health issues.
That’s why we should properly educate ourselves about the proper ways to keep our children’s playing and sleeping areas clean of potential hazards.
However, exposing your child to the natural environment and germs is crucial for healthy immune system development.
Today you have learned how to properly clean your kiddo’s playpen, and it was probably much easier than you imagined.
All you need is baby detergent, baby soap, a clean cloth, warm or cold water, and a few kitchen ingredients!
The most important part is to get all the cleaning solutions ahead of time and have a proper place outside to air-dry the play yard.
Now that you know how to clean a Pack and Play, you’ll probably want to start cleaning right away, but before you go, you can share this great info with other moms who are looking for cleaning advice!
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