How to Clean a Pack n Play Mattress in 4 Easy Ways

There are 4 ways to clean a pack n play mattress. You can wipe it down, spot clean it, scrub the pack n play thoroughly, or go with the deep clean option. You can choose any option depending on what condition the pack n play mattress is in. Here’s how to clean the pack n play mattress.

Kids are the most precious thing on Earth. They need to be kept safe, nourished and taken care of properly. One of the most important things that your little ones need is a place where they can safely play and sleep.

This is where the pack n play mattress comes in. Whether you have many kids or are going to become a lucky parent for the first time, you will need a pack n play mattress for your kids. They are highly convenient and act as a portable, safe place for your babies to nap or play.

However, these handy little mattresses get dirty, especially if multiple children have used them. What’s worse is that they are not very easy to clean since most of them are not suitable for machine washing. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to clean pack n play mattresses effectively so that they not only look nice and smell good, but also stay germ-free for your little one.

how to clean pack n play mattress

Why Cleaning Pack n Play Mattress is Important

It is not all about making the mattress look nice. It is about removing all the dirt, dust, grime, and germs from it to keep your family safe and healthy. There is no hard and fast rule about how frequently you need to clean your kid’s things.

However, it is better to stay on top of cleaning things before it all becomes a huge mess. Moreover, if your baby spills items, or spits a lot, there is a high chance that all this moisture will create a welcoming environment for mildew and mold.

Similarly, stains become permanent if you don’t treat them right away. Therefore, we suggest that apart from deep cleaning the mattress, you need to spot clean it regularly. 

How to Clean Pack n Play Mattress

When a baby is on the way, most parents look for one thing: a perfect mattress for the baby. A pack n play is a very handy item to have in your home and on your travels as well. It is very versatile and is used daily which also means one thing – it gets pretty dirty, pretty quickly.

However, the good news is that most pack n plays are easy to clean and sanitize. It is all about figuring out how to properly clean it so that your baby has a safe and clean space to sleep and play in. Cleaning your pack n play will keep it looking nice while keeping the germs at a minimum. 

You can either spot clean it, scrub it, or deep clean it, depending upon the condition of the pack n play. Keep reading to find out how to clean your pack n play mattress.

clean pack n play mattress with gloves

Consult the User’s Manual

Before you start cleaning the mattress, you need to take a look at the owner’s manual to know how you can wash it, what kind of cleaners you can use, what cleaning products you have to avoid, etc. Some pack n play mattress manufacturers recommend using soap while some ask you to avoid bleach.

Some are machine washable while some need to be hand-washed. Make sure you carefully check all this before you start cleaning the mattress. If you don’t have the manual with you anymore, you can simply visit the website of the company and search for the cleaning instructions. 

Another thing of note is that most of the pack n play mattresses are not waterproof. Therefore, you shouldn’t submerge them completely in the water. 

Wipe Down the Pack n Play

Wiping down the pack n play allows you to stay on top of all the stains and messes your toddler creates. If you wipe down the pack n play once a day, you will not have to spend a lot of time deep cleaning it since all the stains will already be taken care of!

Things That You Will Need

  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Soft Sponge
  • Clean Towel


  • Mix 1 part warm water with 1 part vinegar.
  • Pour this solution into a spray bottle. 
  • Spray it on the pack n play, one small section at a time.
  • Scrub using a soft towel to remove as much dirt and dust as possible.
  • Repeat as many times as required.
  • Dry thoroughly with a clean towel. Let it air dry completely.

Benefits of Cleaning With Wiping Down

Here are a few benefits of wiping down your pack n play mattress.

  • If you wipe down the mattress regularly, it will be spick and span all the time, preventing the need for a deep clean. 
  • Moreover, your kid will be safe and healthy, since there will be no germs, food messes, etc. on the mattress to affect your kid’s health. 
  • There is no danger of damaging the shape of the mattress since you are using a very minute amount of water when wiping the mattress down.

Spot Clean the Pack n Play

Some parts of the pack n play will get dirtier as compared to others. For instance, the mat your kid sits on along with the rails will get dirtier. We recommend that you go with a waterproof cover for your pack n play to keep it safe.

All you will need to do then is remove and wash the cover instead of the entire mattress. For cleaning your pack n play, you need to use a kid-safe cleaner. You can’t simply grab a commercial cleaner or a bottle of chemical disinfectant and start cleaning. 

It is better to go with a homemade cleaner, like the ones we have discussed here. Wipe down the unit on a daily basis to keep it clean.

Things That You Will Need 

  • Water
  • Baking Soda
  • kid-safe Detergent
  • Clean Towel


  • Take a cup of lukewarm water.
  • Add 1 tbsp. baking soda and 4 tbsp. baby safe detergent to the water and mix it thoroughly.
  • Dip a clean cloth in the mixture and apply it to the stain.
  • Let it sit for 5 mins. 
  • Wipe off with a clean towel and water.

Benefits of Spot Cleaning

A few benefits of spot cleaning are:

  • Spot cleaning is a quick, time-saving option.
  • If you spot clean the mattress, there will be no time for the stains to form on the mattress.
  • You can easily do it while you are traveling as well and don’t have a lot of space to thoroughly clean the mattress.
materials required to clean a pack n play mattress

Scrub the Pack n Play

It is very likely that your pack n play is very dirty and is still not clean after spot cleaning it, If such is the case, then you need to scrub it down.

Things That You Will Need

  • Baby Safe Detergent
  • Water
  • Soft Bristled Brush
  • Clean Rag
  • Towels
  • Drop Cloths


  • If your mattress has a padded cover, you have to remove it. 
  • Take a bucket of warm water and add 1 cup of kid-safe detergent to it.
  • Soak the mattress cover in the mixture for one hour.
  • Take it out and scrub it thoroughly with a soft-bristled brush. 
  • Rinse with lukewarm water and let it air dry. 
  • To clean the pack n play, take it outside in your yard. You will avoid getting soapy water all over your place if you do this. If there isn’t enough space outside your home to clean the pack n play, place some drop cloths or heavy towels to keep your pack n play clean.
  • Remove the mattress and keep it aside.
  • Take a bucket of lukewarm water and add half a cup of kid-safe detergent to it. 
  • With the help of a soft-bristled brush, carefully scrub the pack n play. Make sure that the material doesn’t get soaked.
  • Dip a clean rag in warm water and wipe off the soap & water. Again, don’t soak the material or the mesh. 
  • Let the pack n play air dry before you use it again. If you can, leave it out in the sun. If that isn’t possible, place the pack n play inside your home in a sunny spot and let it dry.

Warnings about Scrubbing Mattresses

Keep these things in mind when scrubbing your mattress.

  • Don’t scrub too harshly – it will damage the surface of the pack n play mattress and break the fine mesh. 
  • Make sure that you don’t use a lot of water while scrubbing the mattress. many mattresses have cardboard inside them. If you soak them in water, the cardboard will get warped and the shape of the mattress will be lost, rendering them useless.
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals and make sure that you clean the residue very thoroughly to keep your kid safe.

Deep Clean the Pack n Play

If your pack n play has been in use for quite some while, it is bound to be particularly messy. It will be smeared in jelly and peanut butter mess, for sure. In such a scenario, you will have to deep clean it. However, deep cleaning instructions are not usually provided by the manufacturers.

Thus, you have to compare the pros and cons of deep cleaning your pack n play before going ahead with it. 

Things That You Will Need

  • Water
  • kid-safe Detergent
  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda


  • Take out the mattress pad. 
  • Take your bathtub and fill it with warm water.
  • Add half a cup of kid-safe detergent and mix thoroughly.
  • To this mixture, add half a cup vinegar along with one-fourth cup baking soda.
  • Place the pack n play inside this water. Don’t place your mattress pad inside the water since submerging it will ruin it completely and make it unfit for use.
  • Let it soak completely for one hour.
  • Remove the pack n play from the water. 
  • Rinse it off with warm water. Use a thick towel to dry it completely, taking extra care with the locks and hinges.
  • Let it dry outside in the sun or inside your home where plenty of ventilation & sunlight is available. Deep cleaning is a must for the pack n play on a monthly basis. 

Benefits of a Deep Clean

Deep cleaning the pack n play mattress is good for your baby’s health. Every night your kid loses hair, dead skin, bodily fluids, etc. which get accumulated on the mattress. Moreover, if your kid is playing and eating in the pack n play, there is bound to be a lot of chaos and mess inside it.

Therefore, you need to deep clean the mattress for better health and hygiene conditions. Here are a few other reasons:

  • Improved Sleep Quality
  • Better Air Quality
  • Allergy Relief
  • Germ and Bacteria Removal
benefits of cleaning a pack n play mattress

Extra Tips for Cleaning Your Pack n Play 

  • Before cleaning the pack n play, check the materials the mattress pad is made of. If it is made from cardboard or wood, do not submerge it in water since it will become warped.
  • Lay everything out flat under direct sunlight. This will prevent mold and mildew growth. Moreover, direct sunlight is also great for killing bacteria and germs. Therefore, if there are any leftover germs after your deep clean, the Sun will take care of them for you!
  • While scrubbing the pack n play, don’t scrub too hard as you will end up damaging the material or ripping the mesh.
  • It is better to never use bleach while cleaning the mattress since bleach is not safe for babies.

Replace Your Pack n Play Mattress

The condition of your pack n play mattress might be so bad that the above-mentioned methods might not be able to salvage it. Don’t worry – you can always replace the mattress and your pack n play would be as good as new.

You can contact the manufacturer and call in for a replacement. If that is not possible, you can always buy a new one.

Different Types Of Pack n Play Mattresses

There are different types of pack n play mattresses, depending on their features such as:

  • Memory Foam Mattress
  • Foldable Mattress – Tri-Fold/Bi-Fold
  • Dual-Sided Mattress
  • Foam Mattress
  • Inner-Sprung Mattress

Where You Can Buy Replacements

Even if you find a mattress that seems to have the exact dimensions as the one that you have, don’t buy it online. If you are replacing the mattress, the best option is to contact the manufacturer so that you can get a new one.

This is critical for the safety of your kid that you use a mattress that is compatible with the pack n play you have otherwise it will be a safety hazard.

Things to Look for In a New Pack n Play Mattress

If you have decided to buy a new pack n play mattress, you can’t just go out in the market and buy the first one that tickles your fancy. There are some things that you need to keep your eyes open for such as firmness, quality, portability, etc.

Let’s see what those things are.


When you think about mattresses for babies, the first thing that comes into anybody’s mind is soft, plush, and comfy ones. However, a firm mattress along with a tight-fitted sheet is better for babies. For toddlers, you can go for a mattress that is a bit less hard.

Therefore take the age of your kid into consideration when you are thinking about the firmness of the mattress. There are many options available that give you the choice to flip between a soft side for toddlers and a firm side for babies.


You need to consider the material of the mattress – both on the outside and the inside. Mattresses are available in lightweight foam, plastic-based, organic cotton, water-resistant, and a lot more. Make sure that you go with a material that is easy to wash and is waterproof.


You will have to take the pack n play mattress along with you on your travels. Make sure that it comes with a carrying bag and is foldable. If it is waterproof, that will add to its convenience by making it easy to clean.


Make sure that the pack n play comes with the right certifications such as JPMA, Greenguard Gold, etc., so that you can rest assured that your baby is safe and secure.

FAQs on How to Clean Pack n Play Mattress

Can washing change the shape of the pack n play?

It depends on your pack n play. Make sure that you look at the care instructions before you start cleaning it to avoid any damage to the pack n play. Some pack n plays come with cardboard inside them, and you have to spot clean them instead of deep cleaning them.

How often should I clean the pack n play mattress sheets?

The pack n play will be a safe refuge, a safe place to play for your kid. Therefore, you have to take good care of it and wash the sheets inside the mattress at least twice a week. Machine-wash them with a hypoallergenic, kid-safe detergent.

How often should I replace and clean the pillowcases?

Pillowcases accumulate dust, dirt, and germs that can be harmful to your kids. Therefore, you have to replace the pillowcases at least twice weekly. As far as the pillow itself is concerned, you need to clean it once monthly.

How old does my baby need to be to use a pack n play mattress?

A pack n play is a safe haven for your baby. You can use a pack n play mattress from the day your baby comes home. It will be your kid’s home till he or she is about 3 to 4 years of age. 

Can you use a pack n play mattress on the top bassinet?

Yes, you can use a pack n play mattress with a bassinet. You will have to ensure that the mattress fits inside the bassinet and there are no gaps to prevent suffocation hazards. Nothing above the safety of your kids, after all!

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