How To Clean Pack N Play Mattress? (In 4 Ways)

Discover the convenience and functionality of a Pack N-Play, also known as a playpen or baby cot. Designed with a foldable crib featuring a soft yet firm mattress and a mesh enclosure, a Pack N-Play allows parents to provide a safe play and sleep space for their baby while they focus on tasks nearby.

A Pack N-Play becomes invaluable when you need to concentrate without constantly keeping an eye on your crawling baby, who has a knack for wandering away at every opportunity!

While setting up a Pack N-Play is easy and highly convenient, it’s crucial to keep the mattress clean for your baby’s safety and hygiene. As the playpen serves as a cozy bed, spills and stains are inevitable, requiring regular mattress cleaning.

To ensure the longevity of your baby’s mattress, it’s important to understand its composition and use appropriate cleaning methods. In this article, we’ll explore effective ways to clean and maintain your Pack N-Play mattress, helping you keep it in optimal condition once you’ve found the perfect one.

Methods of Cleaning a Pack-N-Play Mattress

Methods of Cleaning a Pack-N-Play Mattress

There are quite a few ways of cleaning this kind of mattress. However, determine how dirty the mattress is first since you do not want to overdo the cleaning process, which might ruin the fibers. Once you have cleaned the mattress, you should also clean the entire unit about once a month.

1. Spot Cleaning 

Spot cleaning removes minor stains and marks without deep cleaning the mattress. This may be required if the mattress has become muddy owing to dirt on their feet or if something has spilled a little when trying to feed them within the playpen.

Here is how you do spot cleaning:

  • Take the mattress out of the pen.
  • Take a soft cotton cloth and soak it in a mixture made of warm water and baby detergent.
  • Squeeze out much of the soapy water.
  • Lightly rub the stain on the cloth till it starts lightening. The cloth will get dirty as it absorbs the stain and the dirt. Rinse it in the soapy liquid and rub again.
  • Once the stain is gone, rub down to the entire mattress to remove any loose dust particles or minor dirt.
  • If the dirt or stain persists, use a soft-bristled brush to clean the mattress.
  • Once the stain is removed, repeat the process with clean water to absorb any soap residue from the mattress.
  • Allow the mattress to air-dry, preferably in the sun. Sunlight is a natural disinfectant and will sanitize the mattress.

You can use waterproof mattress covers on the mattress to avoid stains. But sometimes, the mattress stains nevertheless, and cleaning it becomes essential. With spot cleaning, you won’t need more intensive cleaning methods.

2. Wipe-Down


The Wipe-down method will take care of the general cleanliness of the mattress. Sometimes, you may not notice a specific stain or blob of dirt on the mattress. But the entire mattress will look dull, like a thin film of dirt has accumulated on it over time.

Wiping down the entire mattress is a good idea as it instantly transforms the mattress like it is brand new. Here is how you do it.

  • Remove the mattress from the pen.
  • Make a solution with water and vinegar mixed in equal quantities.
  • Use a spray bottle to spray the solution on the mattress evenly.
  • Next, use a soft cotton cloth to wipe the mattress.
  • Do not let the solution sit on the mattress for too long, depending on the top cover. The solution might be soaked into the mattress.
  • Repeat the process if needed.
  • Let the mattress dry completely, preferably in the sun.

You can also use any kind of baby detergent instead of a vinegar solution. However, in that case, wiping down the mattress again with clear water and a clean cloth to remove any soap residue is advisable.

3. Rinsing

Rinsing the entire unit occasionally is a good idea for a thorough cleaning. However, be very careful before you attempt this because your mattress may or may not be appropriate for rinsing. The package instructions will advise you about the cleaning methods.

However, considering your mattress allows rinsing, here is what you can do.

  • Please remove the top cover of the mattress and wash it separately in soapy water. You can toss it into the washing machine if the instructions allow it.
  • Next, take the mattress and put it in the bathtub.
  • Fill it with arm water and mix a suitable amount of baby detergent in it, depending on the size and thickness of the mattress and how dirty it is.
  • Let the mattress submerge into the soapy water completely. Much of the dirt and stain will loosen up.
  • Use a soft-bristled brush for a gentle and quick rub throughout the mattress.
  • Drain the soapy water and fill the bathtub with clear water again. Rinse the mattress in clear water till it runs clear.
  • Put the mattress in the sun and let it dry. Press it lightly to squeeze out the excess water. It might take a day or two to dry completely. Ensure that it is completely dry before you place it in the pen again.

4. Deep Cleaning

Deep Cleaning

Deep cleaning is an excellent way to clean the Pack N Play mattress inside out. It involves, as mentioned earlier “Rinse” method, followed by a disinfecting method.

  • Take the mattress out of the pen and thump it to remove any loose dust particles.
  • Fill the bathtub with warm soapy water and let the mattress soak in it for an hour.
  • Rinse and scrub the mattress lightly with soapy water after the hour is up.
  • Let it dry for a day or more to make the mattress fluffy. Lay it flat to avoid the mattress folding or curling on the edges in any way.
  • Drying is essential as sunlight is a natural disinfectant, and any moisture residue can result in mildew.
  • Once the mattress is completely dry, spray it evenly across the mattress with a mild disinfectant.
  • Once it has dried, you can place it back in the pen.

Remember to go through the instruction manual of your mattress before following the deep cleaning technique. Many Pack-N-Play mattresses have a cardboard core, and you should not submerge them in the water completely. The “wipe-down” method is more suitable for them.

Also, do not use any kind of bleach or cleaning agents containing chemicals, as this is a baby mattress and could be irritable for their skin.


Parents often have concerns regarding cleaning the Pack N Play mattress as they want to do what is best for the baby. Here are some answers to some questions that will help clear your doubts.

Can cleaning damage the Pack N-Play mattress?

Good quality Pack N Play mattresses will not be harmed while cleaning them if you follow the instructions properly. However, it is important not to scrub the mattress too hard as it may tear the top cover or the mesh. If you are unsure about the process, use the spot cleaning or wiping down method for cleaning the mattress.

How can I avoid using detergent on the Pack N Play mattress to remove stains?

Many parents are concerned about the harmful effects of chemicals present in detergents. If you don’t want to use even baby detergent on the mattress, you can mix 2 tbsp of baking soda, 1 tbsp of vinegar and 1 tbsp of lime juice with half a cup of water and spray it over the stain. Allow the mixture to sit for ten to fifteen minutes, then rub off lightly with a soft cotton cloth. When done, spray it with clear water and wipe it with a fresh cloth to remove all residue.

Can I clean a mattress under the shower without soaking it?

Yes, you can clean a mattress under the shower without soaking it if you don’t have a large enough tub. Spray the stain or the entire mattress with a soapy solution, vinegar, and lime mixture, and allow it to sit. Then, use the shower to clean the residue.

How often should I clean the mattress?

That will depend on how much the mattress gets dirty. However, if you clean the mattress regularly, you will not have to rinse or deep clean it so often. Spot cleaning or wiping it would be enough for general cleanliness, while a deep cleaning would suffice every couple of months.

Can I deep clean the Pack N Play mattress in the winter?

There is nothing wrong with the cleaning method of rinsing or deep cleaning the mattress in winter. However, air-drying the mattress outside will be a challenge if you get snow where you live. The water inside the mattress might freeze and damage the fibres. Residual moisture will also become the festering ground for germs; you want to avoid that for your baby.


Cleaning a Pack N-Play mattress properly is essential for the health and fitness of your baby. Check the material and cleaning instructions before you start the process. Regular cleaning will remove dirt, dust, and bugs and reduce the chances of infections or allergies in your baby.

You can also use a combination of methods in case accidental spills result in tough stains. Your Pack N Play mattress will last you much longer if you clean it properly, and it is sure to keep your baby happy and healthy.

Sarah Wagner

I'm Sarah Wagner, and I founded Sweet Island Dreams in 2022. It's a blog dedicated to helping people mental vacation virtually anytime they want. By providing information about the best sleep of your life, I help people drift away to paradise without ever having to leave their bed!