If you have children, you’re familiar with a pack and play – a portable playpen for infants and toddlers, named after the original Graco Pack ‘n Play. If you are new to pack and plays, they are an easy way to carry a safe and fun play area for your child with you wherever you go.
Cleaning a pack and play is an important part of owning one, as it collects germs that can potentially make your child sick. Use this step-by-step cleaning guide to keep your pack and play safe and sanitary.
Choose Your Cleaning Day Wisely
Before you get started, pick a day to clean your pack and play when the weather forecast is bright and sunny. The safest and most effective way to dry out a washed pack and play is outside in the sunlight. Choose a day that is hot and sunny, if possible, to properly dry the equipment and prevent mold.
Take Apart the Pack and Play
Your pack and play most likely has a few different elements and materials – a plastic frame, cushioned play pad and removable covers. It may also have toys or mobiles. The first step to properly cleaning a pack and play is to take it apart.
Use the instruction manual that came with the pack and play to take it apart and put it back together. If it is difficult to take yours apart, use a simpler spot-cleaning method for routine cleanings and only deep-clean the playset a few times per year. In general, however, it is best to take the pack and play apart for a true clean.
Fill Your Bathtub With Hot Water
A bathtub is the easiest way to clean a pack and play. Use the hottest water available to fill the tub up about halfway. Read your pack and play’s wash instructions, however, in case it requires a different water temperature. If it requires a cold-water wash, you may have to wash it a few times before it’s really clean.
Add a Safe Deep-Cleaning Solution
Next, add a baby-safe deep-cleaning solution. This does not mean your normal laundry detergent. Instead, you will need to purchase a deep cleaner or create your own. An approved recipe for most playpens is:
- ½ cup of your normal baby-safe laundry detergent
- ¼ cup of Oxiclean or a comparable cleaner
- ½ cup of vinegar
- ¼ cup of baking soda
You can create the mixture in a separate bowl and add it to the water together, or add everything to the water directly. Mix the solution with the hot water using a spoon or spatula to make sure the cleaner dissolves entirely.
Soak the Pack and Play for About an Hour
Fold the pack and play down and add it to the bathtub, along with the mattress and covers. If you cannot completely submerge the pack and play, you will need to flip it over about halfway through. Soak your pack and play for one hour.
Drain the water and use a brush or sponge to scrub away any remaining stains. Rinse the pack and play thoroughly with cold water, either in your tub using a detachable showerhead or in your lawn using a hose.
Dry in the Sunlight
Allow the pack and play and all of its elements to dry completely out in the sun, if possible. Trying to dry your pack and play indoors can lead to serious problems, such as the development of mold.
Drying it in the sunlight on a warm, sunny day is the most effective way to get it fully dry without the risk of mold. Drying may take a full day. You may need to turn the pieces around about halfway through. Finally, put your pack and play back together and it’s ready for action!
Cleaning a pack and play is relatively easy once you know what to do. Take these steps to give yourself peace of mind about the cleanliness of where your child naps, plays and learns. Spot-clean your pack and play in-between deep cleanings using a baby-safe cleaner and a washcloth for maximum cleanliness.
Author: Alana Redmond is a legal content writer and consumer safety expert that works with Ring Jimenez, P.C., a personal injury law firm in Albuquerque, NM.