Babies spend up to 18 hours sleeping! For this reason, parents should keep their crib mattresses as clean, hygienic and even sterile as possible for their babies’ health and safety. Otherwise, there’s always the risk of babies becoming ill or injured because of their dirty mattresses – and you wouldn’t want that for your precious baby.
Fortunately, crib mattress care is easier to do for many reasons. The smaller mattress size makes it easier and faster to clean, as well as to take out of the crib for airing out, drying under the sun, and rotating. The thinner mattress also makes it easier to blot out pee and poop from its surface, a job that can seem gargantuan on a regular-sized mattress for older kids.
Still, we must emphasize that getting crib mattresses clean inside and out is a task but it is one that you will gladly perform because your baby’s health is at stake.
General Care Tips
Let’s first take a look at the ways that you can ensure the longevity of your baby’s crib mattress. These steps are essential not only in getting good value for the money from it but, more importantly, in ensuring that your baby has the support and comfort that he needs from his mattress.
- Always use a mattress cover because it will protect the foam from premature wear and tear. You will also find that it reduces the risk of pee and poop permeating through the mattress’ deeper layers. Your regular cleaning task will also be faster because it’s so much easier to change a dirty mattress cover than it is to clean an entire mattress, no matter how small it may be.
- Change the sheets on a regular basis, at least once a week or twice a week depending on your hygiene standards. Your cleaning chore will also be easier since frequent changing of the sheets reduces odor and dust build-up on the mattress.
- Rotate the mattress every three months or at the beginning of each season. You will understand the reason for it when you also regularly rotate your own mattress – it will contribute to even wear and tear as well as sagging on the same spot. Your baby needs a supportive and comfortable mattress, which will not be possible when it sags where he lies.
Basically, you should use the same care methods on your adult-sized mattress for your baby’s crib mattress but with a few more steps to remove pee and poop.
Pee and Poop Removal Tips
Babies obviously don’t have control over their discharge of pee and poop, unlike older kids who have been potty-trained. Diaper leaks are common, especially as your baby spends majority of his day sleeping in his crib.
But don’t panic as pee and poop can be easily removed from a crib mattress. The trick is to move as quickly as possible so that all traces of the solid and liquid mess can be removed and the mattress can be cleaned inside and out.
In case of pee, you will need the following things:
- Portable vacuum cleaner
- Dry, clean cloth or rags
- Enzyme-based cleaner
- Baking soda
The steps in cleaning pee are:
- Using light but firm motions (i.e., avoid excessive pressing), use the dry cloth to absorb the excess urine.
- Spray the enzyme-based cleaner on the urine-splotched area and remove the excess liquid with another dry, clean cloth.
- Sprinkle baking soda on the affected area and leave it overnight.
- Pat down the mattress in the morning and use a portable vacuum cleaner to suction the excess baking soda.
You will need at least two crib mattresses to ensure that your baby always has a clean mattress to sleep on while the other mattress is being cleaned.
In case of poop, you will need the following supplies to clean it up:
- Latex gloves
- Disposable plastic spoon or spoon you can throw away after use
- Dry, clean cloth or rags
- Enzyme-based cleaner
There are more steps in cleaning poop from a crib mattress but these aren’t rocket science either.
- Wear your latex gloves before picking up the solid clumps of your baby’s feces. Be sure to dispose of the poop in the toilet and flush it down.
- Use a spoon in carefully scraping away the remaining poop but be careful not to push more of it into the mattress.
- Spray the affected area with an enzyme-based cleaner when you’re satisfied that all signs of poop have been removed. Let the cleaner sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Blot the affected area with a dry, clean rag. Remove the abovementioned step in case there’s still evidence of a poop stain.
- Spray vinegar into the affected area to remove the smell.
- Air out the mattress under the sun or direct a breeze from an electric fan to it.
Change the mattress cover and sheets, too, since these have been stained by the pee and poop.
Cleaning crib mattresses is a must because babies are highly vulnerable to bacteria, viruses and fungi as well as dust mites that linger in the foam material, no thanks to the buildup of pee and poop remains. But it’s well worth it when you have peace of mind that, indeed, your baby is safe and sound in his crib! You can also just buy a new mattress, say, from Sleepwell when the old one becomes too stained.