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Thursday, 18 July 2013

How to clean your playpen


We have one playpen that is a bit smaller than a typical playpen. Over the years this playpen has been our travel bed for our babies.  Since its slightly smaller it fits all the better into our trunk.  So if we were going to a friends house, and going to be there past bedtime we could pack and use the playpen said friends home and still have the kids in bed at their usual time.

Even though Audrey is now in a "big girl" bed, we still took the playpen camping with us this past long weekend for her to sleep in one last time (a place we knew she couldn't get out of since our cabin was so close to the waters edge).

Needless to say, after our camping trip up north our playpen needed a good cleaning.  Then it occurred to me that many people may struggle with how to best clean a play pen. Since I run a home daycare and have kids sleeping in playpens on  a daily basis this cleaning method is invaluable to me.

Here is how to clean a playpen:

Step One: Notice how icky and grimy your playpen is.

Ick

 Step Two: Put a stopper in your bathtub and run water as hot as you can stand it. Then add two cap fulls of laundry soap. *Although I make my own laundry soap, I did go with a commercial product for this purpose*

This is the commercial laundry soap I used
 Step Three: Place your playpen in the bathtub like so. Unless you have a giant, 3 foot deep tub you will need to leave the playpen folded up or shes not gonna fit in your tub.   Open up the mat, though, and lay that at the bottom of the tub. Yes, the mat has a heavy duty cardboard as the base.  If you follow my directions, no it wont be ruined by the washing.  I have washed playpens many times.... it will be okay.
position of playpen in my bathtub

 Run lots of water in your tub.  Keep it hot hot hot.
Tub filling up with water
Step Four: Wait half an hour. Just let it sit and soak. When you return you will start to see the icky grime seeping out.

Ick starting to be drawn out. 
Step Five: Although the water is cooler now after a half hour of sitting in the tub its still pretty darn hot! So although your playpen needs "swishing" in the water, please keep your hands out of the water as much as you can.   No scrubbing is required, just lots of movement.  Since your folded playpen was not likely to be totally submerged in the water you will want to flip it and wait another half hour.

Step Six:  Be simultaneously impressed and disgusted with all the nasty ick you got out of that playpen.

*shudder*   ewwwwww
Pull the stopper from the tub and drain that nasty brown water. Again using hot water rinse your playpen and the mat. Rinse them very well until the water runs clear.  You don't want to see soap suds or any more filth . 

Step Seven: Take your playpen outside on a bright sunny day to dry it.  It is important that you lay your mat as pictured below so that the cardboard base of the mat can dry properly and not warp.  If you lay the mat on a flat surface only one side can dry at a time.  That means it will take longer to dry and may warp in the process.  Since your playpen will be very wet from its bath you will need several hours of it sitting in the sun to dry thoroughly.

Step Eight: Once its all dry (be sure its very dry, you don't want it to mold while being folded up for storage) rejoice in how fresh and clean your playpen is and how very easy the whole process was :)

Enjoy, my gentle readers, and Happy Thursday!

51 comments:

  1. I cannot see how to dry it outside... I'm going to message you on CM and get the picture from you!

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    1. To anyone else having this problem I am going to attempt to reload the photo. But for reference sake, the best way to dry it is to open up the play pen as though for normal use. Then take the mat and oen it, resting it on a corner of the top edge of the playpen. This allows for maxium airflow and quickest dry time.

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  2. *** Photo has now been fixed so everyone can see! :) ***

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  3. Can i let it dry inside?

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  4. You can. It would be best to have it dry near a forced air vent radiator or with a fan pointed on it. Less dry time means less opportunity for the base to warp.

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  5. Any ideas on how to clean a stroller?

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    1. I use a water hose outside on a nice day. I have had 2 double ones and it worked great for me. for the really dirty spots I would have a rag with dawn dish soap on it and wipe it down. let sit in the sun till its dry. I have 5 kids and have done this with many strollers

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  6. thank you so much for this post!

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  7. The play pen and mat i have didn't fit in my tub didn't fit the same way but i was able to fully cover the mat (sideways) and the actual play pen folded up on top of it with water and soap, hopefully this works but if not its a 6 year old one that i was just going to use as a back up.

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  8. Thanks. A friend gave me a playpen that is really nasty on the sides. The mesh is so grey and discolored. Ill try this before i break down and buy a new one. Like u i have a daycare and i just cant bring myself to use it as is. Have u ever bleached the mesh? I hate to do that tho.....

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    Replies
    1. I have never bleached a playpen. But don't underestimate the bleaching power of the sun! A few hours in bright sunshine to dry and you might be happily surprised by how white your mesh has become. Best of luck!

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  9. Try using vinegar for the dinginess of the mesh and to help kill some of the germs that might be on the mat itself.

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  10. Please help I've soaked them both the play pen dried easily and came out bright and clean the mat on the other end I can't seem to get all the fuck to drain out the mat. I've tried bleach detergent baking soda vinegar and and I've soaked it at least twice but it won't drain out! I've considered poking holes to help it drain. Any suggestions?

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    Replies
    1. Hi there,
      Very interesting that it doesnt seem to be able to drain. If the water can get inside the mat, one would naturally figure it could get out as well. This is a problem I have never encountered while cleaning my play pens.
      In all honesty though, if I *did* encounter it I would very likely do as you are considering and create small holes to allow for better drainage.
      Best of luck!!

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  11. What about if there is mold the one I have was stored in a friends basement

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    Replies
    1. Mold can be a tricky business, especially around baby items. If it were me I would likely decide it is time to move on to a new one. I am sure there are ways to treat mold, followed by cleaning it. Personally though, I would worry about any lingering fumes/chemicals from mold removal being against babys skin.

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    2. you can clean mold with vinegar and tea tree oil.

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  12. I have read that if your playpen mattress has cardboard you should not submerge it because it may warp. Don't know how I would know that though.

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    Replies
    1. Warping can happen. However, typically, warping is not from getting wet but instead from uneven drying. Which is why I recommend drying the mat in the specific way shown in this post- it helps promote the most even drying. In my years of cleaning playpens I have not had a mat warp yet when I dry it this way. :)

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    2. I know this post is old so I don't know if you will see this but you have washed the cardboard mattress kinds with no problem?? I'm terrified of ruining it. I have also read not to submerge it.

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  13. Do u think I can wash the bassinet attachment like this as well??

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    Replies
    1. I have never tried it personally, but yes. I imagine you can.

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  14. Thanks for all the tips. My son has been sick almost a week and I'm ready to get the germs out of my house. Wish me luck!

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  15. If the net on the play pen is yellow from cigarette smoke (I got it second hand) will this take the yellow out of the net?

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  16. Looking to clean my first son's playard for his brother who will be here in two months. We recently moved to Germany and the weather here won't do well for drying outside anymore! I have standing fans and a blow dryer for drying inside, so any suggestions on the best route for that?

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  17. This is exactly what I am looking for. Thank you for the tips.

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  18. Thank you for this. My little one has a tendency of pulling his diaper off in his playpen if I don't keep a onesie on him. I've used dish soap and elbow grease, but it never seems clean enough!

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  19. would I be able to just lay it inside my vent is on the ceiling so wouldn't hit it directly and I do not have a fan

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  20. I live in ohio and it is way too cold to dry it outside. Suggestions for drying inside?

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  21. my mattress part wont fit in my tub, older hoe smaller tub is there another trick to get this clean since i cant submerge it all the way?

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  22. You have given very nice post it is very knowledgeable and result oriented.
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  23. Have a nice day really a great informative blog post it is.
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  24. For anyone with white or light colored mesh that has stains...spraying fresh lemon juice and then letting it sit in the direct sunlight will also do wonders!!!!

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  25. Today I decided to give this a try. I hope it works cause my son spilt milk in his play pen and it smells really bad. Would this work for a baby bed mattresses too? I know they are bigger than a playpen but not for a kiddie pool.

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  29. Great post! Thank u very much! I have a question. Do I flip the mat after 30mins or just the playpen?

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  30. Also how many times do I flip the playpen?

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  33. Awesome post doing this as we speak and before I was even done filling up the bathtub it was already turning colors that's disgusting

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  34. What about if you do have mold/mildew?

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  35. Neat! But where do I air dry it, if I live in an apartment?

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  37. Can I dry it on lawn chairs outside?
    As I'm only washing the bottom not the whole thing...

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  38. Very interesting and informative instruction! And if you need a pack-end play, visit this site :) www.best-pack-n-play.com

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  39. Thanks for the info. I ended up throwing our old one away and bought one on Amazon that has a washable cover. It makes cleaning super simple! Here's the one I got.. https://www.amazon.com/Coverplay-Removable-Washable-Taupe-Chocolate/dp/B0775WWRXG/ref=sr_1_6_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1510166132&sr=8-6&keywords=coverplay

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