With your baby spending most of her early months sleeping, it is essential that her sleeping environment stay as clean as possible.
If your baby sleeps in a cot, clean the mattress cot often to keep away germs and allergens. You’ll probably also need to deal with messes and spills now and then.
Here are some helpful tips on how to clean a cot mattress.
Wash the mattress cover and bedding
Regularly remove and wash the mattress cover (if it’s removable) and bedding. Just strip them off the mattress and throw them into the washing machine.
Remember to check the cleaning instructions on the labels to avoid damaging the fabric.
Wash the cover and bedding with detergent to kill any bacteria and germs in them.
Vacuum the mattress and use a disinfecting spray
Since you cannot wash the mattress, the next best thing is to vacuum it. There are lots of unseen particles and germs that hide in the mattress foam.
As they build up over time, they can be a health hazard for the baby.
To make sure they are not breathing in allergens, dust and other stuff, vacuum the mattress every once in a while.
Vacuum the top, bottom and sides of the mattress. Use the upholstery attachment of your vacuum for best results.
Also vacuum the crib itself. Focus especially on crevices that tend to hide a lot of accumulated dirt. If your vacuum comes with a crevice tool, use it to reach those hidden spots.
Disinfect the mattress
When you finish vacuuming, spray the mattress with a disinfectant spray to get it completely clean. Make sure it is completely dry before you put any bedding back on.
You can also use rubbing alcohol. Spray it on the mattress and crib and then leave it to evaporate on its own.
Another alternative is to rub down the entire mattress with a cloth dipped in a mixture of detergent and water. Follow it up with a cloth dipped in water only to get rid of the detergent as it could irritate the baby’s skin.
Disinfecting the mattress is especially important if there was a urine or poop mess.
You should also occasionally air the mattress in the sun to keep it fresh and clean.
Spot-clean stains with vinegar
Stains, whether from spitting, spilt milk or urine will be inevitable. Try to clean the stain immediately the mess happens. Otherwise it will get absorbed deep into the fabric and foam and become harder to clean off.
For most stains, you just need to spot clean with a gentle mixture of warm water and vinegar. Dab at the stain with a cloth dipped in the solution until the stain disappears.
Then leave the mattress uncovered or leaning against a wall to air out and dry.
For more stubborn stains, put a little baking soda on the stain and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing it out with warm water and vinegar.
Cleaning with baking soda is also good for smelly stains. It helps get rid of the odour.
It’s also the best way to clean old stubborn stains. Let the baking soda sit for longer – around an hour – to break up the stain.
Note: Never put the mattress back in the crib while it is still damp. This can cause the growth of mould. Leave the mattress out in the sun or in a well-ventilated area to allow it to completely dry.
Use a mattress protector
Most good cot mattresses come with a waterproof cover to prevent stains and messes on the mattress. If yours doesn’t have one, consider buying a new one.
It’s incredibly difficult to get rid of stains on the mattress foam. Spills on an unprotected mattress can also be unhygienic as they allow bacteria and mould to grow.
When looking for a good quality cot mattress cover, find one that is soft and comfortable. It should also be absorbent and waterproof. Cotton mattress covers/protectors are the best.
Remember to wash it often.