Four Methods for Cleaning a Portable Crib Mattress

00:03, Saturday 14/01/2023 - Pro Reviewer I have 5 years of experience in blogging...

Advice for parents who own a pack-and-play and aren't sure how to clean it properly at home

A pack n play is also known as a play yard, playpen, camping cot, and a host of other names. It's a portable crib that can be unfolded to give babies a soft, secure place to play and sleep. The Graco Pack 'n Play is my go-to recommendation because it's inexpensive and incredibly user-friendly. It also includes a convenient carrying case.

When welcoming a new child into the home, a pack n play is an essential piece of baby gear for the vast majority of parents. Its portability and simplicity of assembly make it a useful item at home and on the go. It can also be quickly transformed into a playpen or a comfy sleeping nook. Modifying or eliminating the use of a pack-and-play mattress is a breeze.

Because of their adaptability and convenience, pack n plays are a commonplace item. Since babies tend to put their sticky hands and dirty feet everywhere, this can quickly lead to an unpleasant state of affairs.

There are four primary approaches to cleaning a pack n play, each of which should be taken into account before beginning. All of these methods are excellent for keeping your child's playard germ-free. Your specific requirements for a thorough cleaning will determine the best approach.

If you are looking for information on how to clean a pack n play mattress and frame, then you have come to the right place.

There are four primary approaches to cleaning a pack 'n play, each of which should be taken into account before beginning. All of these methods are excellent for keeping your child's playard clean and sanitary, with the appropriate choice depending on the level of filth and grime that you wish to eradicate.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. In all honesty, I'm about to say this.

Baby sleeping in pack and play

Here Are Some Tips For Spot-Free Pack-N-Play Maintenance

Cleaning a pack and play is a breeze. You can use any of the following strategies to clean your pack and play mattress, depending on how grimy it is.  

It's recommended that parents who use their pack and play on a daily basis wash the device once a month. But if you're not using it as much, the kid's backpack won't require as frequent thorough cleaning. If you want it to last, you need to clean it every day. If you do this, you can rest assured that the environment is safe and clean for the baby.

Localized disinfecting

The most effective method of cleaning a pack 'n play is spot cleaning. Baby-safe soap, warm water, and a lint-free cloth or towel are all you need to clean the surface. By employing this method, you can avoid having a drenched pack 'n play. As a result, it is less likely to become distorted or broken.

Spot cleaning the play mat on a regular basis should eliminate the need for the more laborious methods.

You can use a pack 'n play sheet or a mattress protector in addition to spot cleaning. This will aid in maintaining a clean and sanitary mattress. The playpen mattress can be kept clean for longer by using a machine-washable mattress cover or play sheet. The mattress cover can be easily maintained by being washed on a regular basis.

Follow these steps to clean your mattress in specific areas: To begin, unfold the pack n' play and take out the mattress. Clean the play yard's walls and rails by wiping them with a washcloth dipped in warm, soapy water.

Stains, spots, and other unsightly messes that are particularly stubborn to clean up may require some extra effort. Spit-ups can be difficult to remove, but a soft bristled brush or a scrub brush can help.

The mattress cover and sheets, if they are waterproof, can be removed from the mattress and washed independently.    

The pack-and-play mattress can be cleaned with warm water. Mattresses can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth or towel that has been dipped in soapy water. When you're done washing the pack thoroughly, you can either let it air dry or, if you have the time, dry it with a towel. To hasten the drying process, you can place it in direct sunlight.  

Please allow the pack n' play to air dry completely before reassembling. Unattended moisture is a leading cause of mold, mildew, and unpleasant odors; this will reduce that risk.

You may need to repeat the cleaning process entirely if your pack and play are extremely dirty. If you want to give your playpen a thorough cleaning, you could also use more extreme deep cleaning methods.  

Wipe Down

One easy way to maintain the cleanliness of your pack n play is by using the wipe-down method. This is a great solution for cleaning up any spit-up accidents that may have occurred. In a matter of minutes, your mattress will look as good as new with this simple technique.  

This technique is most effective when performed with a vinegar and water mixture. It's recommended to use a spray bottle with the solution and apply it directly to the mattress before wiping it down with a dry cloth. Before replacing the mattress in the portable crib, make sure it is totally dry.

If you don't like using vinegar, any natural cleaner or laundry detergent safe for infants will do. The Better Life Natural All-Purpose Cleaner is our go-to for any and all cleaning projects.


For a thorough cleaning, remove the entire device and place it in the shower or outside. Before attempting this method, please ensure you have carefully read your mattress's specific care instructions.

A lot of portable mattresses have removable covers that can be washed in the machine. Taking out the mattress and placing it in the bath is the best way to clean the rest of the unit.

Use a brush and a solution of baby-safe laundry detergent and water to thoroughly clean the mattress. To dry, simply leave it to drip. Leaving it out in the sun to dry is a great idea. Don't forget to give it a good airing out before re-using it in the playpen.

Baby boy in polka dot onesie in pack and play

Deep Clean

Attempting this method of cleaning your pack and play may be the best option if you're in need of a thorough solution. At first, remove the entire mattress from the pack 'n' play and clean it with the RINSE technique.

Before attempting this cleaning method or any of the others mentioned here, it is always a good idea to read the manufacturer's instructions for the play mattress. Before attempting to clean your child's play mattress, make sure you consult the manufacturer's guidelines.

When you're finished cleaning the mattress, hang it up to dry and then fill your bathtub with water and a half a cup of baby-safe washing detergent. Fill the bathtub up to the top with water, and then submerge the pack n play for at least an hour.

After an hour, empty the basin and give the pack 'n play a good scrub. Using a soft bristled scrubbing brush to remove any remaining stains shouldn't be too taxing.

Hang it up to dry or let it air dry in the shower. The base may take up to four hours to dry in the sun on a hot day, but to be safe, I would recommend leaving it out for 24 hours.

Extra Tips

  • Verify the mattress pad's construction by looking at its materials. Warping could occur if you put something made of wood or cardboard into water. Before attempting to clean a pack n' play, always consult the manufacturer's instructions.
  • For proper drying and to prevent mold growth, spread out everything, including the pack n play mattress.
  • Clean the pack 'n play mattress by swishing it around or scrubbing it with a washcloth or soft brush, but be careful not to scrub too vigorously, lest you wear out the material or rip the mesh.
  • If you still find some germs after a thorough cleaning, you can kill them with the help of some sunlight.
  • When possible, avoid using bleach on the mattress because it is in your baby's sleeping area and bleach is not good for their health. In its place, you should clean the pack n play mattress with a baby-friendly cleaner.

The Importance of Keeping Your Pack-N-Play Clean

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends routinely disinfecting all items your baby comes into contact with.

It's crucial to keep your baby clean and safe from harmful bacteria and dirt every day. As with other baby gear like bottles and toys, this is crucial for your infant's sleeping quarters.

Using the aforementioned techniques to maintain a clean and mold-free environment in your child's safe sleeping space is highly recommended.

In order to prevent mold growth and ensure that your baby is safe in their pack n play, you can sanitize it with vinegar instead of harsh chemicals. The pack n play mattress should be cleaned as soon as possible after any baby accidents, such as spills or spit-ups.

There is no telling what kind of nasty germs can remain on a playpen, even after a thorough cleaning, so if your pack n play is caught in a flood while it is being stored away, I will throw it out immediately.

If you must buy a used pack-and-play, make sure the mattress is thoroughly cleaned before putting the baby in it. Mattresses can be cleaned effectively with the help of the right cleaning solution. When it's time to reassemble the crib, give it a thorough cleaning with hot water and a baby-safe laundry detergent or cleaner, then hang it up to dry.

Since your baby will be spending so much time in the pack and play, it is important that it is free of dust mites, bed bugs, germs, and any other nasties that may have been left behind, especially spit up.

Baby girl sleeping in pack and play bed

Common Queries

Does the pack 'n play stretch or distort when washed?

The pack n play can either save or destroy the unit. You should read the pack n play's maintenance instructions before deciding to submerge it in water. Because of the cardboard lining, some pack 'n plays should only be spot cleaned, not put through a washing machine. Clean the mattress as needed with a spray bottle and a vinegar and water solution or your own baby-safe homemade cleaner.

The pack-and-play mattress has been stained, but I don't know how to remove the marks.

A mixture of 1/4 cup of baby laundry detergent, 2 tablespoons of baking soda, and a bit of warm water can be rubbed onto stains on the pack n play mattress to remove them. If you need to remove it, wait ten minutes and then use a damp cloth and some water.

Is there anything I can do if I don't have access to a bathroom with a bathtub and a place to wash the play yard?

You can always use the shower's spray nozzle to clean the device. Although you can't submerge it in water, you can scrub it clean and rinse off the soap in the shower. While this approach may be less efficient than others, it should still be able to accomplish what needs to be done. The play yard must be completely dry before your baby can use it again, as is the case with any other method. Find a sunny spot and let it dry there to cut down on drying time.

To what extent does the pack n play need to be washed, and how often?

How often you need to clean your pack n play will be determined by how often you use it. You should wash your pack 'n play more frequently if you use it every day, but a once-in-a-while wipe down will do if it sits unused for the vast majority of the time.

Winterizing your pack-and-play: a cleaning guide

Don't clean your pack 'n play outside in the cold weather; instead, use the bathroom sink or bathtub. Deep clean the device by letting it sit in a bath of soapy water for an hour, then rinsing it off under the shower. Do not forget to wait until the play mat is completely dry before replacing it in the play yard. Set up the pack 'n play on some drop cloths.

Conclusions on Cleaning a Pack-N-Play Mattress

It's important to keep your pack n play free from dust mites and other bugs, and luckily you can do so with ease. Baby spit up soaks into the mattress, making cleanup more difficult and providing the perfect environment for mold to grow, so keeping it clean on a regular basis is essential.

There's no need to settle on a single approach; instead, try combining different strategies until you find one that works best for you.

The cleanliness of your pack and play is paramount to your baby's health and safety. Keeping play areas clean on a regular basis can go a long way in this regard.

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