Top 5 Tips for Cleaning a Pack and Play

A Pack and Play is a portable crib and play area for newborns and toddlers that may be used at home or taken wherever you go. While they are a wonderfully practical, portable, and safe area for your baby to nap or play, these handy little inventions can get a little dirty, especially if they are used regularly or have gone through numerous children. Furthermore, if your kid frequently spills items, likes to make messes, or spits up a lot, the moisture from these things has the potential to convert into mold and mildew. 

Cleaning helps you remove dirt, filth, and germs from your inexpensive Pack and Play. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages regular cleaning to keep your family healthy. While there is no hard and fast rule for how frequently you should clean your baby’s belongings, it’s a good idea to stay on top of it before it becomes a bigger issue. Similarly, stains might grow permanent if not addressed promptly. So, the best strategy is to regularly spot clean your pack ‘n play.

If you’re wondering how to clean an affordable Pack and Play properly, follow these steps and you’ll have a sparkling clean playpen in no time!

1. Read the manual

Before you begin doing anything, read the manual! Each Pack and Paly should come with an instruction manual that has particular cleaning recommendations, so read it first. Most people misplace the handbook, discard it after packaging, or simply forget about it. However, without guidelines, you risk making a costly error that, in the worst-case situation, renders your playard useless. Many manufacturers include a “how to clean a Pack and Play” part in the instructions; if they don’t, you should look it up online.

Before you spill any water on your Pack and Paly, make sure to check the playpen’s maximum temperature tolerance. Because of the fabric or construction, some modern models can only be cleaned with cold water, thus hot water is out, which means you’ll have to deep clean it multiple times.

2. Check weather

It may seem insignificant but knowing what the weather will be like for the following few days is critical before washing the playard. Almost all of the Pack and Play’s components will require air-drying, which means you’ll need dry weather to avoid mold from growing in hidden corners or on the mattress.

Of all, forecasts are never perfect, and it could start raining in the middle of the cleaning process. If this happens, leave the playpen in the tub until it’s soggy, then turn up the heat or use a heater to dry it out faster and prevent mildew or mold from growing within.

3. Prepare the Cleaning Products

bucket with cleaning supplies

Before you do the cleaning, double-check that you have everything you need.

Baby detergent alone won’t get rid of all the dirt and grime, but you can mix it with other cleaning products to make it work. It’s best to stay away from regular detergents, which could be too harsh and hurtful for your baby (some chemicals may remain in fabrics, especially if the playpen is not rinsed thoroughly).

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns against using chemical disinfectants and sanitizers because they can hurt children. Instead, they advise utilizing less hazardous cleaning agents such as baking soda, vinegar, and liquid soap. However, you should still use caution while using these products, particularly around young children, because they are not necessarily non-toxic.

Depending on what cleaning method you use, here’s everything you’ll need to clean your pack ‘n play:

  • Spray bottle
  • Soft-bristled brush or a washcloth
  • Dishwashing liquid 
  • Baby-safe washing detergent 
  • Vinegar 
  • Baking soda 
  • Water 

Remember that regular cleaning may only require soap and water to keep your pack ‘n play clean.

4. Maintain Regular Spot Cleaning

The best way to clean your pack ‘n play is to clean it spot by spot. You only need a wet cloth, some soap, and warm water. This way, your pack ‘n play won’t be soaking wet, so it won’t be as likely to get broken or warped. 

Use pack-and-play sheets or a mattress cover, along with regular spot cleaning, to keep your Pack and Paly clean. These are frequently machine washable, along with your carrying bag, and will save you from having to deep clean the pack ‘n play mattress.

Here’s how to clean your pack-and-play on the spot:

  1. Open the Pack and Paly and take the mattress out.
  2. Use a washcloth to clean the rails and sides of your pack ‘n play with warm water and soap. Tougher messes may necessitate some elbow grease.
  3. Take off your sheets, mattress pad, or waterproof mattress cover to wash them.
  4. Use soap and warm water to wipe down the Pack and Paly mattress.
  5. Once the pack ‘n play is clean, it just needs to dry in the air. Putting it somewhere sunny will help it dry faster.

5. Choose the Right Method for Cleaning

The type of cleaning will depend on how much dirt is on the Pack and Paly. You can either scrub or clean really well. If you spot clean your pack ‘n play often, you shouldn’t need to use any of the other methods.


While spot cleaning is the ideal approach for cleaning a pack ‘n play, it may be necessary to scrub it from time to time. If your pack ‘n play is stained or has messes that won’t come out, gently scrubbing it might do the trick.

To clean your pack ‘n play, you’ll need a soft bristled scrubbing brush and warm soapy water. If the discoloration is particularly stubborn, try using vinegar or baking soda as a cleaner.

Clean your Pack and Paly by following these instructions.

  1. Open your play yard, removing the mattress and any other attachments. You can cover the ground with clean towels or a tarp to keep your pack ‘n play clean outside.
  2. Start by scrubbing your pack ‘n play with a soft bristles scouring brush and soapy water. Avoid using harsh chemicals; the pack ‘n play cleaning instructions may say that soap and water are all you need.
  3. In cases when the stain is very stubborn, you may wish to use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. However, you can test an inconspicuous spot first to make sure that these are safe for your fabric.
  4. Put equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and spray the surface evenly. Another option is to apply a mixture of equal parts vinegar and baking soda to the stained area. Let it sit for up to a half hour, then wipe it clean with a damp cloth.
  5. If you’re outside, you can then spray your play yard down with the hose to get rid of any cleaners. Just try not to get water on the mattress, because it could get warped or ruined.
  6. Use a towel to remove any remaining water. Then, put the pack ‘n play outside in the sun to dry completely.

Deep Cleaning

If your pack ‘n play is very dirty and spot cleaning won’t help, you may need to do a deep clean. Even though this method isn’t usually recommended in the manufacturer’s instructions, it could save you from having to buy a whole new Pack and Paly.

To really clean your pack ‘n play, you’ll need to fill a bathtub with warm water and soap or baby laundry detergent. You could add vinegar and baking soda to give it more cleaning power. It’s important to know that some playard mattresses are made of materials like cardboard that would be ruined by water.

Here’s how to clean your pack-and-play really well:

  1. Pour warm water, a half cup of detergent, and a quarter cup of vinegar and baking soda into a bathtub. Add these as the tub fills up so that everything gets mixed well.
  2. Remove the pack ‘n play mattress from the playard. Then, put the pack ‘n play, still folded, into the bathtub. Check what the mattress is made of to decide if you should put it in the tub or leave it out.
  3. Soak the pack-and-play in the bathtub for at least an hour. If it’s not completely submerged, you’ll need to rotate it halfway through.
  4. Pour out the water and wash your Pack and Paly. You can do this by turning on the shower or taking the Pack and Paly outside to spray it down with the hose.
  5. If the play yard and mattress got wet, dry them off with a clean towel before putting them outside to dry. 


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 Pack and Play clean of potential hazards.