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How to Clean Crib Mattresses

by Andrea Sparks

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Teddy bear on a clean crib mattress

Things You Need:

  • Vacuum
  • Laundy detergent
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Baking soda
  • Rubing alcohol
  • Vinegar or lemon juice
  • Spray bottle

Keeping your baby healthy is important, and cleaning crib mattresses can help ensure that your baby is happy and healthy. Whether you're pulling the mattress out of storage, cleaning up after a diaper accident, or simply want to remove irritating chemicals from a new crib mattress, washing it is a big task. Read the following steps to learn how to clean crib mattresses so you and your baby can sleep safe and sound.

Cleaning Crib Mattresses:

  1. Vacuum: Begin by vacuuming the mattress. Vacuuming will help remove dirt and dust that can cause irritation and allergies for your baby. Make sure to vacuum both sides of the mattress as well as along the edges. Use an upholstery attachment on your vacuum to remove as much dust as possible.

  2. Scrub: Combine 1/4 cup of baby-safe laundry detergent in a bucket with one gallon of warm water. Using a gentle scrubbing brush, scrub the mattress fabric with the detergent mixture. Do not pour water or detergent directly onto it. Scrub all sides and along seams carefully.

  3. Rinse: Using a clean, damp cloth, wipe down each surface of the crib mattress, rinsing and wringing the cloth frequently to remove all detergent and residue from the cloth. Properly rinsing is important, as leftover detergent can cause irritation and sickness in your baby.

  4. Disinfect: If there are stains from leaky diapers or if you're worried about germs and bacteria from any source, you'll want to disinfect the mattress surface. Using a spray bottle, lightly spray it with rubbing alcohol, paying extra attention to stains. There is no need to rinse after disinfecting, since alcohol will quickly evaporate on its own.

  5. Removing stains and odors: If any discoloration or odor remains after you have disinfected the crib mattress, you'll need to do additional work to properly clean it. Mix equal parts water and lemon juice or vinegar in a spray bottle, and spray lightly on stains. Sprinkle baking soda on a wet or dry mattress and let sit for 20 minutes to remove odors. The baking soda can be vacuumed out after the mattress is dry.

  6. Drying: Remove excess water by pressing a dry towel into the surface of the mattress. Make sure the baby mattress is completely dry before placing it back in the crib to avoid the growth of illness-causing mold and mildew. Let the crib mattress air dry in the sun or a well-ventilated area.

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