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How To Clean A Crib Mattress

Updated May 22, 2020

Your baby’s crib needs to be a sanctuary. A gentle place where your bundle of joy can learn how to sleep properly while you finally get a little piece and quiet to yourself. The only problem is that as with anything a baby touches, the crib will get dirty. We all know the reasons why and the various substances that you’ll be lucky enough to clean up. The only question: how do you clean a crib mattress?

As with any type of mattress, the cleaning and maintenance of your baby’s crib mattress is vital. However, it’s not always easy to figure out how to do it! After all, it’s not like crib mattresses come with instructions. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. The Sleep Judge Team has figured out the best way to clean a crib mattress. It’s fairly easy too. All you need to do is read away and we’ll make sure that your baby’s mattress stays factory fresh until your child is big enough to move on to a actual bed!

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What You’ll Need for this Tutorial

Here is everything you are going to need to clean up this mess quickly and with minimal effort:

List of Materials Needed
  • Sponge or cloth
  • Mild soap
  • Warm water
  • Towel (paper or fabric works)
  • Washing machine (optional)
  • Disinfecting wipes (optional)

Step By Step Instructions for Vinyl/Plastic Mattresses

This portion of the tutorial is for those with vinyl/plastic mattresses that need a quick cleaning. If you have a fabric mattress, scroll to the next section.

Step #1: Clean Off Excess Fluids

The first step in this process is to remove the excess gunk from the mattress. If you have already removed the crib sheet and there’s just a little moisture on the mattress, take your disinfecting wipe or your sponge with some soap & water and remove what’s left. If there was no sheet and there’ a pile or puddle, soak it up with a towel or pick it up with your disinfecting wipes or a paper towel.

Step #2: Wipe It Down (For Vinyl/Plastic Mattresses)

Instead of rubbing the gunk in even more, all you’re going to do here is get your sponge and add some soap and water to it. Don’t put the soap directly on the spot because the fabric may soap it up and make it difficult to get out. We are trying to avoid getting liquids inside of the mattress. You are going to work your way from the outside, in. Just gently dab it.

Step #3: Dry It Off

After it has been cleaned, you don’t want the moisture to remain on the mattress after you have scrubbed it. You are going to now take your towel or paper towels and press on the moisture, making sure not to spread whatever fluids are left from cleaning.

Remember, there are little tiny holes in most plastic mattresses and you don’t want that moisture getting into the core and ruining the foam or causing toxic mold, unless it’s waterproof.

Step #4: Replace Sheets and Baby

Once you have ensured that the mattress is free from moisture, it is safe to put on a new crib sheet if you haven’t gone through them all already. Once that is done, you can then place the baby back in the crib. They’ll now have a dry, clean surface to sleep on.

Step By Step Instructions for Fabric Mattresses

These instructions are for those who have fabric mattresses with a non-removable cover.

Step #1: Quickly Wipe Up Fluids

This first step needs to be done rather quickly. If it’s not, the fluids could leak into the mattress and ruin the insides. Usually, the cloth mattresses aren’t waterproof, just water resistant. Also, if you don’t catch it on time, it could permanently stain the mattress. Try to remove the fluids or chunks as delicately as you can to avoid rubbing it in any further.

Pro Tip

If the cover comes off, remove it as quick as you can and just throw it in the washer on the delicate cycle with some mild detergent. Works like a charm for me.

Step #2: Gently Dab the Spot

Instead of rubbing the gunk in even more, all you’re going to do here is get your sponge and add some soap and water to it. Don’t put the soap directly on the spot because the fabric may soap it up and make it difficult to get out. We are trying to avoid getting liquids inside of the mattress. You are going to work your way from the outside, in. Just gently dab it.

Pro Tip

If you are doing this on a removable cover that you just don’t have time to wash, you can place a towel under the cover so that whatever you press on will go on to the towel instead of the mattress.

Step #3: Dry

The next step is to dry the spot gently with the towel or paper towels. Again, do not rub it in or press too hard on the wetness. Just gently dab your towel on the spot and try to get as much water up as you possibly can. If you are doing this with the removable cover without taking it off, you can press as hard as you want if that towel is under it.

Pro Tip

I have done this many times, so trust me on this. Take a wet/dry shop vac and suck the liquids out of the cover. It may be loud, but if your baby or toddler is sick, they probably aren’t sleeping anyway. This will get more moisture out than a towel alone can.

Step #4: Replace the Sheet

Once you have removed the liquids and the cover is as dry as it can get, you can now replace the crib sheet and put the mattress back in the crib. If you are doing this during the day and have some free time, I suggest leaving it out to dry for a little longer, just to ensure you aren’t putting your baby on a wet bed.

You may be interested in: How Do You Clean a Memory Foam Mattress Topper?

Conclusion

I hope that you found this tutorial useful! As a mom of 4, I have been around this block many times and have done everything possible to clean a crib mattress. From vinyl to cloth, i’ve cleaned it. It’s not the easiest thing to do at 2am, but it’ll help keep the mattress clean and sanitized. If you have any questions or methods of your own, feel free to comment. If you enjoyed it, share it with all of your other mommy friends!