While a playpen is a fantastic way to give your baby a safe place to rest and play, the truth is, it can get dirty pretty quickly.
Apart from accumulating baby toys, puffs, and pieces of mashed carrots, the playpen can also easily collect dust particles and germs.
So, how do you clean a playpen?
Here are a few of the best tips for cleaning your favourite baby gear in the most effective way.
1) Assess Your Playpen
There is no hard and fast rule for how often you should clean a playpen.
If you intend to also use the playpen as a travel crib it is sensible to asses and clean your playpen before and after every trip.
This is especially important if there will be a long time between your trips.
It can be pretty overwhelming to keep on top of everything when you have multiple tasks on your to-do list however since the moisture from spills can easily turn into mould and mildew, it is better to be vigilant about the mess your baby makes.
If your baby’s playpen gets a lot of use, or some parts get dirtier than the rest, then you may find yourself cleaning more frequently.
Not every playpen has the same features and the construction of the playpen can affect the overall cleaning process.
Check the user manual for your playpen to make sure you follow the correct cleaning instructions.
This is critical if you intend to deep clean your playpen
With regular cleaning and care, you can prolong the lifespan of your playpen.
2) Spot Clean Where Possible
It’s normal for your baby’s playpen to become soiled by food, drool and other bodily fluids.
For the areas that get particularly grubby like the playpen mattress, your baby sits on, be sure that you’re cleaning the dirty spots as and when they occur.
Since this is where your little one will spend a lot of time, avoid using harsh chemicals to disinfect the area.
Keep a spray bottle filled with weak soapy water reserved for spot cleaning your playpen.
For stubborn stains use a mix of vinegar, water and baking soda to remove the stain once your baby is out of the playpen.
If you prefer to use a commercial product aim for an all-purpose cleaner that is baby safe.
If you are using your playpen as a travel crib while away from home baby wipes can help to keep things as clean as possible until you get home.
Regular spot cleaning and care can prevent you from needing to use hot water to clean your playpen which should prolong its lifespan.
3) Scrub and Rinse If Needed
Even if you spot cleaning on a regular basis you will eventually need a more in-depth clean.
- The first thing to assess is the crib mattress. Remove all the covers and wash them in the washing machine.
- Should the mattress become stained or dirty check if this is also machine washable.
- If you are not able to wash the mattress and it has become dirty I would recommend you purchase a replacement mattress pad.
- If you are able to wash the mattress make sure it has fully dried before you insert it back in the play pen.
- Most mattresses contain a foam layer which can be challenging to dry fully.
- The next step is to tackle the rest of the pen.
- The easiest way to scrub and rinse your playpen is to use a shower and bathtub, or take it outside and use the garden hose.
- Use a scrub brush and dish soap to give the pen a good scrubbing and then rinse with plenty of clean water.
- Leave to air dry if possible.
It’s a good idea to wash the carrying bag at the same time as a scrub and rinse clean
4) Removing Moulds
Mould loves a damp moist environment and although you can’t protect your baby from every scrap of dirt, mould and mildew are critical to avoid.
If you find mould on your original mattress pad you should replace it immediately.
If you find mould on the solid or mesh sides of the playpen you should clean it immediately
For a quick way to remove mould mix equal parts of vinegar and water. Dab a small amount onto a dry cloth and wipe over the mould.
Once the mould has been removed use a wet rag to rinse the mixture from your playpen and a hairdryer to dry.
If you do not fully dry your playpen after cleaning mould will occur.
5) Deep Clean As A Last Resort
Deep cleaning is highly effective for very messy situations, however, regular deep cleans will shorten the lifespan of your product so it is recommended you use this technique sparingly.
- The first step is to remove, assess and wash the mattress as above.
- Now fold up your play pen
- Fill your bathtub with the hottest water possible and baby-safe cleaning ingredients, such as non-bio laundry detergent.
- Once you have mixed the ingredients take the folded playpen and place the entire thing in the water and let it soak for one hour.
- After an hour drain the dirty water and rinse with plenty of clean water.
- Take the playpen outside and let it dry under the sun
- Make sure all the locks and hinges are intact and working correctly before using the playpen again.
6) Additional Things to Keep in Mind While Cleaning a Playpen
- Always use a clean cloth or fabric for wiping and rinsing the playpen.
- Keep an eye on your playpen for any signs of damage or tear.
- The best way to dry off your playpen is to use sunlight as it can kill harmful bacteria.
- Do not put your baby in the playpen until it has fully dried
- Wash your hands after the cleaning process or disinfect using rubbing alcohol.
What are the tips that you use to keep your playpen clean?