Pack n Play is a lifesaver for parents with young children. They’re perfect for travel and can be used as a crib and playpen. But if they’re not cleaned properly, they can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria and other harmful organisms.
I’ll teach you how to clean a Pack n Play like a pro in this blog post! We’ll cover the three top methods of cleaning the playard and what you need to do to keep it clean and hygienic in future.
Why is it integral to keep the Pack n Play clean?
Parents play a critical role in protecting their children from illness. You can do this by regularly cleaning and disinfecting baby gear, including the pack n play.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that parents clean and disinfect all household surfaces regularly to prevent the spread of illness and protect children from getting sick. This is especially important for young children, who are more susceptible to infection. Parents can help keep their families healthy and safe by taking these simple steps.
Your baby may be sleeping in an unhygienic Pack n Play
Your child will spend a lot of time in their Pack n Play, whether for naps, overnight stays, or just playtime. And since they’ll be spending so much time in it, you want to make sure that it’s as clean and hygienic as possible. A dirty Pack n Play can be a breeding ground for bacteria and other harmful organisms, which can cause your child to get sick. In extreme cases, it can even lead to death.
Stains may become permanent if not taken care of right away
If you don’t clean the Pack n Play regularly, stains and dirt will build up over time and become harder to remove. In some cases, they may even become permanent. This is why it’s essential to clean the Pack n Play as soon as you notice any dirt or stains.
There are three main methods of cleaning a Pack n Play: spot cleaning, deep cleaning, and washing. I will share them later on in the post, so stay tuned!
Bed bugs are a real problem
Bedbugs are parasitic insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. They are often found in mattresses, bedding, and furniture, making it essential to regularly clean and disinfect your pack n play. If you don’t, bedbugs can quickly become a real problem. They can cause painful bites, allergic reactions, and even transmit diseases.
In addition, they can be challenging to get rid of once they establish themselves in your home. The best way to protect your little one from bedbugs is to regularly clean and disinfect your pack n play with non-toxic disinfectants approved for babies. By taking this simple step, you can help ensure that your home is safe and comfortable for everyone.
Can bed bugs live and thrive in a Pack n Play?
Unfortunately, yes. If you have bedbugs in your home, they can easily make their way into the pack n play. This is because bedbugs are excellent hitchhikers. They can attach themselves to clothing, luggage, and even you! Once they’re in your pack n play, they can quickly multiply and become a big problem. This is why it’s so important to regularly clean and disinfect your pack n play.
Does bleach kill bed bugs?
Yes, bleach is an effective way to kill bedbugs. However, it’s important to use non-toxic bleach so that you don’t put your child at risk. There are many brands of non-toxic bleach on the market, so be sure to read the labels carefully before purchasing.
Here’s a list of the best non-toxic disinfectants I use instead of bleach:
- Bed Bug & Mite Killer Spray by Premo Guard (My best performer)
- EcoRaider Bed Bug Killer Spray
- HARRIS Green Label Bed Bug Killer
How to clean pack n play thoroughly?
Cleaning your pack n play doesn’t have to be tricky. How often and deep you need to clean your pack n play depends on the condition.
I scrub & vacuum the play yard and the mattress once every two weeks and deep clean at least once a quarter. This lets me keep it fresh and prevents wear and tear due to excessive cleaning.
Here’s the six-step process I use for a clean, odorless pack n play for my little one:
Step 1: Check the product owner’s manual
Before you begin cleaning your pack’ n play, you should always check the owner’s manual for recommended cleaners and any specific instructions for your product. Some manufacturers have different recommendations, so it’s essential to follow those to avoid damaging your pack-n-play.
One primary reason not to go ahead and wash the pack n play without reading the manual is that most mattresses in these products are not waterproof, so you should avoid submerging them in water. Similarly, some of these playards and playpen mattresses are machine washable.
Note: If you don’t have it, check the manufacturers’ website for cleaning instructions or a downloadable copy of the manual.
Step 2: Gathering the cleaning products
The best cleaning products for your playard are shared explicitly in the product instructions manual. These products are usually safe to use on baby gear and effectively clean without damaging them.
In case you are unable to find any recommendations in the owners manual, here’s what I recommend and use at home to clean my playpen:
- Dreft Stage 2: Baby Liquid Detergent Soap for Newborn or Infant
- Hate Stains Co. Non-Toxic Stain Remover
- MR.SIGA Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
- Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap Non-GMO
- A soft-bristled brush (to help with tougher stains)
- BISSELL Little Green Multi-Purpose Cleaner (optional but worth it)
- A sponge (to clean the exterior and the frame)
- A small bowl with warm water
Additional household products for savvy moms
Another option is to use household cleaning products. These products might not be specifically designed to clean baby gear, but they can still be effective. Some good options include:
- a cup of baking soda
- lemon juice
- white vinegar
Read the labels carefully to ensure the product is safe for use around children.
Step 3: Disassemble the Pack n Play
The next step is to take apart the pack n play. This includes removing all parts, such as the mattress, the changing table, bassinet, or any other attachments. Once these parts are removed, you can begin cleaning each component separately.
Step 4: Cleaning the Pack and Play: Top 3 methods
When it comes to cleaning a pack and play, there are three main methods:
Spot cleaning is ideal for small messes or spills and is the easiest of all three methods I share. Probably one of the quickest as well.
Scrubbing is best when you want to remove the surface dirt and freshen up your Pack n Play with less effort than deep cleaning.
Deep cleaning should be reserved for when the pack and play start to look significantly dirtier.
Now, let’s talk about each method in detail.
1. Spot Cleaning: How to spot clean your Pack n Play?
If you have a spillage or accident in your Pack n Play, it is best to spot clean as soon as possible. This will help prevent staining and make the overall cleaning process more manageable.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- a bowl with baby-safe detergent or white vinegar solution
- a clean, dry cloth
- a soft bristle scrubbing brush (optional)
Dip your clean, dry cloth into the mixture and wring it out so that it is damp but not dripping wet.
Gently rub the damp cloth over the Pack n Play spillage area, being careful not to scrub too hard and damage the material.
You can also use a natural or baby-safe all-purpose cleaner to spot clean your Pack and Play mattress. Better Life’s Natural All-Purpose Cleaner is a good option and is safe for use around children. Simply spray it onto the soiled area and wipe it clean with a dry cloth to use this cleaner.
Once you have finished cleaning the area, use a clean, dry cloth to dab it until it is no longer wet. Allow the area to air dry completely before using the Pack n Play again.
Spot cleaning is a quick and easy way to keep your pack and play clean between deep cleanings.
2. Scrub It Down: How to scrub your Pack n Play and mattress?
The second method is scrubbing your pack and play mattress. I recommend using this method to freshen up the pack n play but don’t want to give it a deep clean. Here’s what you’ll need:
- a bucket of warm water
- baby-safe washing detergent
- a soft-bristle scrub brush
- a clean cloth
- and a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment (optional)
Start by taking your Pack n Play outside to an area you don’t mind getting wet. If you can’t take it out, throw some heavy towels or drop cloths to protect your floors.
Next, remove all of the toys, sheets, the mattress, and the mat and set them aside.
Now it’s time to grab that bucket of warm water mixed with baby-safe laundry detergent and use the brush to gently scrub any dirt or grime from the surfaces of the pack and play. Scrub down the entire Pack n Play.
Be careful not to soak the material or mesh, though.
Once you’ve finished scrubbing, take a cloth and wipe away any excess soap and water. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to help you with that. Be sure to rinse the soap off so that it doesn’t leave any residue.
Now it’s time to let your Pack n Play air dry, either outside, in the sun, or inside your home.
You can also use a disinfectant on the surfaces of the pack and play, but be sure to read the label carefully to make sure it is safe for use on baby products.
A word of caution: When using any cleaners on your pack and play, avoid areas where your child’s skin will contact the cleaner.
3. Deep Cleaning: How to deep clean your Pack n Play?
Deep cleaning your pack and play is vital because it helps remove all the dirt, dust, and grime that has built up over time. It’s also necessary if you’ve ever lent it to a friend or someone in the family for use or if it’s been a while since you’ve last done a thorough cleaning.
To deep clean your pack and play, you’ll need:
- a mild soap or detergent
- a soft brush or sponge
- a clean, dry cloth
- a vacuum cleaner with attachments
- a non-toxic disinfectant
Start by vacuuming the entire playard, including the mattress, to remove any surface dirt and dust. Be sure to vacuum the cracks and crevices, as well.
Next, mix mild soap or detergent with water and use it to clean the playard. Use a soft brush to scrub the fabric and wipe away any dirt and grime.
Note: Some playards are machine washable, so check your product owner’s manual for in-depth instruction.
Once you’ve finished scrubbing, rinse the playard with water and dry it off with a clean, dry cloth.
If you want to disinfect the playard, you can use a non-toxic disinfectant. Simply mix the disinfectant with water according to the instructions on the bottle and use it to wipe down the playard.
Is Graco Pack n Play mattress waterproof?
No, the Graco Pack N Play mattress isn’t waterproof and should never be submerged in water. There are ways to waterproof it though and one of these methods is by covering it with a waterproof sheet. You can find these sheets easily on Walmart or Amazon.
I highly recommend waterproofing your pack n play as it will help protect your mattress against any accidents and make the cleanup manageable.
Step 5: Giving it time to dry for at least 24 hours
After you have cleaned and disinfected your pack and play, it is important to let it air dry completely. This will help prevent any mold or mildew from growing. Place the pack and play in a sunny spot outdoors to dry. Otherwise, set it up in your home and allow it to air dry for 12-24 hours.
How long does it take a Pack n Play to dry?
On sunny days: 4-6 hours
Indoors with good ventilation: 12-24 hours
During winter: 24-48 hours
Step 6: Re-assemble the Pack n Play
Once your pack and play is completely dry, it’s time to re-assemble it. Start by placing the mattress back in the playard. Next, add the mat. If you’re using sheets, now is the time to put them on. Finally, add any toys or other items your child will need.
And that’s it! You’ve now learned how to clean and disinfect your pack and play.
Clean other parts of your Pack n Play
While most Pack n Plays come with a removable changing pad, napper, and bassinet, some models don’t. If yours has detachable, you’ll need to clean them separately.
How to clean the Pack n Play changing table?
It’s important to keep the changing table of your Pack n Play clean. Use the same methods shared in detail above. One thing to note here is that changing pads tend to get the dirtiest. I recommend spot cleaning immediately and scrubbing it down once every week.
How to clean the Pack n Play napper?
Nappers are great because they provide a comfortable place for your baby to sleep. But, since they’re made of soft fabrics, they tend to get dirty quickly. Be sure to spot clean them every week or two and deep clean them quarterly.
How to clean the Pack n Play bassinet?
Bassinets are another great feature of the Pack n Play. Use the same processes shared above.
How to clean the Graco pack n play bassinet?
The Graco Pack n Play bassinet is one of the most popular models on the market. To clean it, follow the steps shared above.
How to clean the Pack n Play carry bag?
The Pack n Play comes with a handy carrying bag that helps make travel easier. But, over time, the bag can get dirty and grimy. Simply wash it in your washing machine on a delicate cycle. Let it air dry completely before using it again.
How to clean the Pack n Play mobile?
You’ll need to clean your pack n play mobile separately. Make sure you remove the batteries (if any) before cleaning them. Take a damp cloth soaked in detergent, and wipe it thoroughly.
Simple steps to avoid your Pack n Play getting extremely dirty and unhygienic
- Spot clean immediately
- Use bed cleaner spray on your pack n play mattress
- Use non-toxic germ and bed bug spray
- Show your pack n play mattress some sun
- Wash and use spare Pack n Play waterproof sheets
How do you clean Pack n Play mat?
To clean your Pack n Play mat, simply remove it from the unit and machine wash it on a gentle cycle. You can also spot clean it as needed with a damp cloth and mild soap.
Considerations for cleaning Pack and Play mat
There are a few things to keep in mind before cleaning your pack n play mat.
Keep an eye on the mat for general wear and tear, and replace it when necessary. By following these simple tips, you can keep your pack and play mat in good condition for years to come.
What is your pack n play mat made of?
Most pack and playmats are made of a soft, flexible material, such as foam or fabric. These can be cleaned using the methods shared above.
However, some mats may be made of a harder material, such as plastic or cardboard, and you may require extra care when cleaning them, or they may render useless after cleaning. Let’s look at them separately.
Is your pack n play mat made of cardboard?
If you feel your pack n play mat is made of cardboard, you will need to b careful when cleaning it. Never submerge it in water or you’ll destroy it. Instead, you can use a wet vac to suck up any liquid and then use a mild soap and sponge to clean any dirt or stains.
Remember that carboards can absorb water and deform, so be quick with cleaning them and do not scrub it hard.
Some manufacturers, like Chicco, allow you to remove these chipboard inserts which makes it easier to machine wash them.
Is your pack n play mat made of plastic?
Cleaning a plastic mat is easier than a cardboard mat; you can clean it with mild soap and warm water and even submerge it completely. You should check the manufacturers’ instructions before doing this. Avoid using harsh chemicals or scrubbing too hard, as this can damage the mat.
How do I get the stains out of the pack n playmat?
If your pack n play mat has soft stains, you can spot clean it with mild soap and warm water. You may need to use a stronger cleaning solution for tougher stains, such as laundry detergent or bleach. Always test the cleaner on a small, inconspicuous mat area first to make sure it won’t damage the material.
When cleaning with a stronger solution, soak the stained area in the solution for a few minutes before scrubbing. Once you’ve removed the stain, rinse the area well with clean water to remove any residue.
Cleaning your Pack n Play is vital to ensure your child’s safety and health. By following the steps shared in this guide, you can easily clean and disinfect your pack and play. Remember to spot clean it immediately, and wash it down regularly to prevent any buildup of dirt or grime. Your pack and play will last for years with a bit of care.
Do you have any other tips on how to clean a Pack n Play? Share them with us through the contact page!
Parents Also Ask
How often should I clean my Pack n Play?
You should spot clean your Pack n Play every time it gets dirty. I recommend doing a deep clean of the entire playard once every quarter.
How do you clean poop out of a pack and play?
If your child has an accident in the playard, you’ll need to clean it up immediately. Use a paper towel or cloth to pick up as much poop as possible. Then, use a disinfectant spray to clean the area. You may also need to wash the mattress cover in your washing machine.
How do you get the smell out of a pack n play?
To get the smell out of a pack n play, you’ll need a deep cleaning. Start by removing all of the removable parts and washing them in your washing machine. Then, use a disinfectant spray to clean the inside of the playard. Finally, air out the playard by opening up the windows or doors.
How do I clean my playard during winter?
If you’re cleaning your Pack n Play during winter, you’ll need extra care. Start by spot cleaning any dirty areas. Then, use a disinfectant spray to clean the inside of the playard. Finally, air out the playard by opening up the windows or doors. Remember to dry the playard before using it again.
Can the Pack n Play warp after washing?
It is the material that the mat is made out of that will cause it to warp. This problem usually surfaces if the mat is made from cardboard, as these materials tend to soften and break down when wet.
If you have any concerns regarding fully submerging your Pack n Play mat, do not machine wash it and use our spot clean method instead.
Can I wash Graco Pack N Play?
Yes, you can wash your Graco Pack n Play. Start by spot cleaning any dirty areas. Then, use a disinfectant spray to clean the inside of the playard. Finally, air dry the playard for 24 hours before using it again.