How To Clean Used Baby Things

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How to clean used baby things

My mothers of multiples club does a consignment sale twice a year to raise money for our activities and community outreach. I always load up on awesome used stuff for great prices, not to mention I get to sell all the stuff we’ve outgrown.

This year I bought lots of clothes for my kids and this pile of baby stuff for Cougar.

How to clean pack n plays and used baby things

Washing Fabric Stuff

All the cloth stuff is the easiest to wash. I throw it all in the washing machine and wash on gentle with my favorite laundry soap and a color absorbing cloth. Then I dry it on ultra-low. I’m not really afraid to wash anything!

My favorite laundry supplies

Wash the things made out of fabric

Washing Pack ‘n Plays

Washing the pack ‘n play was a bit more involved, but not too difficult. If your pack ‘n play is used, then you can assume it is dirty, no matter if you have been the only owner and keep it immaculate. Over time, dust and debris settle into it, not to mention drool, spit up and … everything else.

I decided to use the two best all-purpose cleaners (and I mean *all-purpose*), Basic H and Basic G. They both clean really well, but Basic G is also a germicide, so it will make sure all the germs are good and dead. Unlike bleach, Basic G will not damage the color of fabric, which comes in handy for cleaning something full of color. Confession: I hate measuring, so I filled up my tub with water and squirted some cleaners in there. After I prepped the water and put the pack ‘n play in it, Cougar woke up from a nap, so I left it soaking while I went and babied him. (I washed the pack ‘n play case and bassinet piece in the washing machine.) Read below to see my warning about the mattress.

Clean Your Pack n Play

Back at it, I put down rag towels on the bathroom floor and set up the pack ‘n play to dry. By this time, my bathroom was loaded with helpers.

Let the pack n play dry after cleaning

Of course, with all my helpers surrounding me, I stopped taking pictures. Still – a clean Pack ‘n Play. Not too bad!

{Note – your mattress might have cardboard in it, and if so, it might be a risk to soak it. Your base unit should soak just fine, but only do what makes sense to you! You can use the spray version of Basic H2 and Basic G, shown below, to just wipe down the mattress really well. That is why it is so handy to have Basic G, because it is a color-safe germicide … so you can kill germs and still have a pretty pack ‘n play.  I’ve had this warning on here for months, but people keep emailing me like they haven’t read this, so I am making it bold. :) I really don’t want anyone to ruin their pack ‘n play. I bought a used one I could ‘experiment’ with, but my suggestion for all of you is to clean the mattress wiping down with Basic G (not soaking it) and rest assured that your mattress will stay in pristine condition and not have gross germs.}

Washing Plastic Toys & Gear

Washing plastic toys is the easiest of all. Toys are great used, because when clean, they can literally look brand new. I used Basic H and Basic G again (see? all-purpose!), but this time in the spray bottle form. These cleaners are completely safe to use *around* my kids, *by* my kids, and the residue left on surfaces is completely safe. Think about cleaning a toy with bleach or toxic wipes and  then a little while later your baby puts that toy in their mouth. Not going to happen here!

I used the Basic H to clean toys that were visibly dirty. Since this truck had electronic parts, I sprayed the cleaner onto the cloth and then cleaned. Otherwise, I’d have sprayed it onto the toy directly. Basic G cleans as well as de-germs, so I probably could have done this all with just Basic G.

Clean dirty toys with Basic H

Basic H cleaned the dirty truck easily

Here is a mattress wedge that cleaned up nicely. This wedge will go underneath his crib mattress to make it better for his reflux issues.  Sticky Gunk came off easily with Basic H

I used the Basic G to clean everything else, because it already looked clean. I was just killing germs to give Cougar a clean slate to add his own germs.

De-germ plastic toys with Basic G

And there you have it – this consignment sale stuff looks like new. Paying less than a quarter of the original price per item makes a little cleaning effort more than worth it. I know Cougar is going to have some good times with this stuff!

How to clean used baby things

And just because you deserve to see something this cute, here is baby boy enjoying his good as new grocery cart cover.

good as new

Your next step is to go order the Get Clean Starter Kit, Scour Off, and Basic G and STOP exposing your family, especially your babies, to all the toxic grossness floating around out there. It is CHEAPER per use than vinegar, and works even better!!

You will be able to replace ALL of your household cleaners with the purchase of these three things. And, it will last you a very long time.

The laundry soap is so good for sensitive skin – it is what I choose to wash Cougar’s baby clothes and blankets!! My kids and I have super sensitive skin, like if I use the wrong lotion, my hands will be red and swollen within minutes. With this stuff, I can deep clean without wearing gloves and my hands don’t even dry out!

When you make your order, be sure to become a member. Your lifetime-no-strings-attached membership will more than pay for itself in savings on this first purchase!

When your order goes through, I’ll personally send you an email with more info on how to use these cleaners and my own personal “get stains out of everything” recipe.

Order Now: Get Clean Starter Kit, Scour Off, and Basic G.

Here is a video of my kids talking unscripted! Once you see it, that will be obvious. lol.

If you missed my video about How I Clean My Kitchen Sink, be sure to check that out to see the Scour Off in action!

Playfully yours,

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114 thoughts on “How To Clean Used Baby Things

  1. That pack and play is grossing me out! I have one I don’t really need unless I’m babysitting. How long did it take to dry?

      1. Dear Mary…can’t thank you enough for,these step by step instructions for cleaning the pack n play …AND WITH PICTURES!!! Mary, I bought my pack n play at a yard sale ( originally bought in 2011). I called Graco regarding the matress pad, with the four slated boards SEWN into the matress pad, and they said absolutely not…to soak that part. As there is a foam layer on top of the boards, you never really know if you got ALL the moisture out and yes, the boards will warp. All pack n plays have a standard matress pad with the sewn in boards, there’s no getting around it. But I soaked everything else according to your expert instructions, and its like brand new. In desperation, I even unstitched one side of the matress pad thinking I could remove the boards, soak the padded part, then just re- insert the boards. No go…the boards are individually sewn in and secured separately.

        Now….I called Graco back ( waited 38 minutes for someone to come on line again…due to volume of calls on a Thursday afternoon). It was worth the wait. I previously had decided to just get a replacement matress pad…not wanting the baby to be exposed to either spoilage from previous babies, possible mold and/or warping of the boards if I took the chance of soaking the mattress pad. I scoured the Internet for ” replacement matress pad…pack n play and all that came up were the three inch mattresses offered by another company but titled ” pack n play three inch matress pad Graco” .

        The consultant at Graco said these are NOT pack n play Graco mattresses and are not offered by Graco…they only recommend that you use the original mattress pad that comes with the unit, for safety reasons.

        HOWEVER….. she told me I could order, right then and through Graco, a replacement mattress pad for my used pack n play…they are all the same size. Because my model was sold in 2011, they couldn’t offer the same pattern, but she was able to offer a variety of solid colors. She stated if I had gone to the Graco baby site ( which I did with NO success) for a replacement and typed in the model number, it would come up with nothing available, because of the age, but calling Graco will result in a BRAND NEW solid color matress pad…again, with the boards sewn in, but brand new…for $21.00 with free shipping.

        She explained Graco designed the pad that way, with the boards sewn into the mattress pad, for stabilization and no pack n play mattress pad is sold without them. Had I not called, I would have just bought a whole new unit and now I don’t have to.

        I hope this helps with your readers. I bought the Graco pack n play, the Graco stroller, a high chair, and the carrier …all for thirty dollars. So having a brand new mattress pad for only twenty one dollars more helped me have peace with my grandson sleeping on a nice clean pad.

        Sorry for the long reply but wanted people to know Graco DOES offer new mattress pads, but you have to call them as the older models won’t register with the computer on their site. The number I called ( and be prepared to be on hold for a long time but worth the new mattress pad) is 1-800-345-4109. Have your pack n play nearby to look for numbers on the tags they ask you for. Thanks again for all the help and valuable tips on your site.

  2. did the pack n play warp at all after washing? i thought there was cardboard inside so i always just wiped it down but after seeing that result i want to saok it.

    1. That is a really great question! I bought mine used for pretty cheap, so I was willing to take a risk. I didn’t even think about cardboard. I’d say the base unit wouldn’t have any cardboard, but maybe the mattress might … Hmmm. Yeah, if you are worried about that, maybe just wash/soak the base in the tub and spray and wipe the mattress part down.

      1. Do you know if there’s a way to tell if they have cardboard in the mattress? I have a Graco, and would love to soak it, but don’t want to ruin it by potentially soaking cardboard.

          1. Dear Mary,
            I opened my Graco mattress and noticed it’s particle board (tightly pressed wood) and the mattress…very similar to yours. I’m still a bit worried about soaking it. Have you had any problems? Any tips to making sure no mold grows? I was thinking of drying with a hairdryer?!?! My mom says I should just put an extra crib sheet over it rather than run the risk of ruining it. Thoughts?! THANKS!

          2. I’m kind of with your mom on this! Pack’n Play mattresses weren’t readily available with my first kids, so the mattress got dirty. With my youngest, they are so readily available that I am using one regularly and wouldn’t feel the need to soak the mattress part again. I’ve had mixed success. My experiments with the cardboard type inserts did not go well, but foam/plastic inserts seemed to do well. When in doubt, trust your gut. The Basic G will do well disinfecting with spraying and wiping. :)

      2. Curious, Mary, if when you say “soak the base” (or whatever phrasing) does this include the plastic framing too? I just bought a used pack +play and haven’t opened the zipped up case yet. I initially was googling cleaning it to make sure the fabric pieces ARE actually removable and washable, but found your posting instead. I don’t have any of your cleaning products yet either, but that basic G sounds incredible so I’ll definitely get some, but this post has also changed my idea of how I’ll go about cleaning it.

        Lastly – did you wash/soak yours in a bathtub?


        1. This was a really long time ago (my baby turns 4 next week). If you can remove all the fabric and wash without soaking, that sounds great. Double check that you DO NOT put any cardboard bits. Every play yard is different, so handle with caution. :)

  3. Mary, I’ve seen ppl soak their pack n play before but I’m worried it will rust or weaken the metal parts. Do you think that’s a risk?

    1. I’m not worried about it, but definitely don’t do it if you think that might be a problem. Maybe if you want to try it, use the cloth to dry off the metal parts really well afterwards? Like I said, I bought this one really cheap and used, so the risk didn’t seem like a big deal to me.

  4. I’m not worried about it, but definitely don’t do it if you think that might be a problem. Maybe if you want to try it, use the cloth to dry off the metal parts really well afterwards? Like I said, I bought this one really cheap and used, so the risk didn’t seem like a big deal to me.

  5. Some really great tips! It is always hard to justify not buying used or garage selling, but sometimes it can be a pain to think about cleaning! Thank you for sharing! I’d love to have you visit me at Get Your Crap Together! We have a Pattern Party with free patterns from the 1st of the month to the 10th that I’d love for you to check out. See you soon!

        1. Basic G is a germicide I use, it is a concentrate that you add water to when you use. I love it (which is why I link to it in the post).

  6. Awesome info I was just given a green pack n play and had no clue how to clean it. Thanks so much I would have ended up in front yard with a hose lol

    1. Basic H and G are available through Shaklee. I’d love for you to take any of the affiliate links in this blog post to check them out. :)

  7. So I tried this method and it works great for the frame. I don’t recommend soaking the mattress part though. The color in the water is not actually dirt, it is from the board, or cardboard, in the bottom. Soak any piece of cardboard and you will get colored water. If your mattress will fit in your dryer, maybe it would work. I have been dying mine for days and days. Finally got it to fit in the dryer, and I’ve restarted it many times and it is still not completely dry. I would suggest just wiping the mattress down, or even power washing. Soaking it allows too much water to be absorbed. I’m afraid of it molding now if it I can’t get it completely dry. :( thankfully it was a cheap used one, but I still can’t afford a new one, even if its used.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve lost your pack ‘n play. :( Did you use Basic G as I recommended? That would have helped avoid any molding while it dried. As for the cardboard, that stuff is tricky, I was pretty cavalier about trying mine for an experiment, but I’ve always been nervous for others trying, which is why I put the clause in the blog about just wiping if yours is made out of cardboard. Again, I’m so sorry that you had this experience.

      Power washing sounds fun! I’ve always wanted one of those, but have never rationalized owning one. :)


    2. You can buy just the mattress insert. I believe someone even posted the phone number to call in the above comments. As for the color, mine was still really gross and I didn’t put the pad in at all, so I don’t think all the color comes from the cardboard

  8. Hi, Mary. LOVE your site, and those kids are too too cute! I was perusing your site a bit and found a page of commitment to better health and weight. I’d love to know how you are doing on that journey and I also want to know if you are using other Shaklee products for that journey? I’m assuming you are a Shaklee distributor, so that may be a dumb question…if so, sorry, but I’d really like to know!

    1. Hi Beth! I am definitely using Shaklee’s products to help me get healthier. I’d love to talk to you about it. Send me an email at mary [at] maryorganizes [dot] com! Look forward to chatting! -Mary

  9. I so wanted to do this but got nervous about potential cardboard warping issues etc so I called Graco and was told they use a compressed board in the mattresses that would very likely weaken or warp if you clean by submerging and she said don’t do it. Also, she was concerned that the type of foam they use would be so absorbent and potentially create a mold problem because it would take too long to dry. I have no idea about other brands but thought I would share this info just in case anyone else had my same concerns and didn’t want to gamble the safety/quality of the pack n play :) I do still intend on trying it on the frame though!!

    1. I could not agree more. I just made my warning section in the post red so that everyone could see the warning. I’m starting to think that people might have been missing it. Yes, Basic G can just be sprayed and wiped down on the mattress. No need to risk your pack ‘n play! Thanks for sharing this information with other readers.

  10. I love you !! I have been searching everywhere on how to clean my sons pack and play and now I have a way!!! Thanks a million !!

  11. I soaked my pack and play today and it was disgusting. I didn’t do the mattress in case there is cardboard in it but I can defiantly say that the pack and play is a lot cleaner and so is my bathtub! Lol

  12. I have that exact same pack n play. Did the bottom warp at all? It was a present when I was expecting my first baby, who is now 4 and my youngest is one. So I’m SURE it is BEYOND filthy. If I could soak the mattress, that would be FANTASTIC!

    1. I would not suggest it. It turned out okay, but I do think mine had cardboard in it that could warp. I really suggest Basic G and Basic H, to wipe it down really well.

  13. I just pulled my pack and play out after it being in storage for over 5 years. I’m definitely going to try this. I have a question though, the mattress in mine is cloth. Can I soak that with the entire unit or should I spot clean it? It smells musty and you can tell it’s been in storage for a while.

  14. Do u recommend any other safe germicidal cleaners other than these that can bought at a local store, I saw one of them is on back order and I’d like to clean my pack n play tomorrow? Thanks for the tips!

    1. Good news – I just checked the website and if the items were on back order, they aren’t anymore. These are the only products I trust to do my cleaning. I don’t feel comfortable recommending things I don’t/won’t use. :)

  15. I have a home day care and of course, cleanliness is a concern. For mattresses, I sew up a mattress cover that is simply like a big pillowcase that the mattress slips into. No elastic or corners, etc. to deal with. It works great and can be washed easily. I use cheap beach towels or old flannel sheets in winter and old summer sheets in warmer weather, to make the mattress cases. Low cost, user friendly and safe and best of all, easy to wash every couple of weeks.

  16. Great post about cleaning baby stuff! However, when I checked out the Basic-H and G website, it said on the Basic-H handout “Do not mix Basic-H with Basic-G Germicidal Cleaner. The water wetting agents in Basic-H inactivate the germ-killing agents in Basic-G.”

    1. Yeah, you could do this same thing and separate the steps if you wanted for the pack ‘n play. For just the toys, I do keep the Basic H and G in separate spray bottles and doing them separately keeps all their functionality.

      1. Did you simply soak it, or did you turn on your jets? I do not have a jetted tub. I was trying to figure out how to dismantle this pac n play in order to throw the fabric in the washing machine, but this looks much easier!

  17. This is really helpful, thank you! Our newly acquired Pack ‘n Play has been passed down by quite a few friends in our community, and I don’t imagine it’s ever been washed so I look forward to getting started on the cleaning! I did have a question, though: what are the active ingredients of Basic G & H? I couldn’t find it listed on the website. Thanks again!

    1. I’m not really sure. I’ve always had luck spraying my strollers down with Basic H and wiping off. My sons carseat/stroller looks new every time I take time to wash it up.

  18. Maybe I missed it, but should you rinse the pack n play after soaking it? I imagine this would be pretty tough. I am thinking about doing this with a co sleeper I bought from a consignment shop. My other idea was to steam all the fabric parts to kill any bacteria and/or germs.

  19. I have a pack and play with a changer on top and the cleaning instructions say wipe with damp cloth, which I have tried and it didn’t seem to help. Maybe I should have dusted before I tried to cleaned it! I have kept my pack n play in extremely good condition but as with any changer it has a few of the on inevitable spots here an there. Do you think its safe to soak in a cold water to clean like you have done with yours?

    1. I really can’t say for sure. I don’t want to suggest something that may not be good. If you don’t feel comfortable soaking it, I wouldn’t. The Basic H and Basic G would work for spot cleaning as well.

      1. I didn’t use the cleaner you suggested but today I did try and do more “spot cleaning” aka wetting it but not tub soaking, and now I have a water rig in some spots. Will the cleaner you use help with getting out the rings I have now added to it?

  20. I soaked my entire pack and play when I bought it used a few months ago. Without buying any new products. How would you recommend me to check if there is mold growing on the inside or not? I’m pretty sure the mattress is either cardboard or wood.

    1. If you are worried about mold, I’d do whatever it takes to take a deeper look! But that’s just me. Mold isn’t something I’d want to play around with.

        1. Well, I’d try taking out the battery part and washing them in the washer. Sounds like they are ruined either way. There is a chance they will work after the wash if you let them dry 100% before turning them on again, but it is a risk.

          1. Well, if the animals are as dirty as you describe, it sounds like you need to risk the washing machine or toss in the garbage.

    1. I have a whole bunch of links, but they are in my password protected Shaklee account. If you want to email me at mary[at]maryorganizes[dot]com, I can probably download the MSDS sheets and email them to you.

  21. This article is great. I just got a free pack & play at a garage sale & it seems pretty gross! Will definitely be washing it ALL as soon as we take it out of my trunk. First kid – sounds like I’ve got a lot of gross stuff to look forward to.

  22. I did the same thing with my pack and play except for mine the inside Matt started to fall apart the inside like the inside of the Matt I had to go buy a newer one

    1. Basic H and Basic G are concentrated cleaners. You buy a bottle, mix a little of the concentrate with a lot of water. They last forever! I use the Shaklee brand and that is what I link to in the post.

  23. I will definitely use this! Hubs and I were planning on only using a pack n play instead of a crib since we go places for the weekend so often, and secondhand seems like the way to go. :)

  24. When you washed the playmat did you wash the playbar in the washer too? Mine has been in our basement and it had some mouse dropping stuck on it….disgusting! Just wondering if you can wash that in the machine and a good way to disinfect it?

    1. Oh goodness, this was almost three years ago now and I really can’t remember, but I don’t think I did. I think I wiped it down with some Basic G cloths, though.

  25. I know this post was made a while ago, but I don’t recall reading or seeing anything about how long to soak the pack n play. I have a 4 year old pack n play that needs some TLC. Does this method work with other items such as a travel cot or a jumparoo?

    1. Oh man, I can’t remember exactly how long. I think until the water looked really dirty, honestly. :) I don’t see why you couldn’t with the other things, but proceed with caution and check manuals to see if things are okay to be submerged in water!

  26. Hi Mary, I was going to buy the H and G solutions to use on cleaning my babies bassinet for the next baby due next month =) I cant not remove the covering so that is why I wanted to get a solution that would rid the germs while staying more natural for the baby. Would you recommend just using the the G in a spray bottle and then wiping it down after with a wet cloth to rinse off? If so, what ratio would you use for a mixture like that? I read somewhere that you could use baby detergent but I wondered if the G solution or mixing both solutions would disinfect better, let me know! Thanks!

    1. I think if you clean with the diluted G in a bottle, that you won’t need to “rinse” it. I clean surfaces in the bathroom, kitchen counter, shoes, garbage cans, couch with it all the time from the spray bottle and don’t rinse. :) The ratio is written right on the bottle. I think it is 3/4 teaspoon for 16 oz?? It is a deodorizer too (it kills smell-causing bacteria), so I mist mattresses and couches to freshen things up. Because it takes so little to create a bottle, it lasts a long time!!!

    2. I forgot to mention that the G is what kills germs, but H is very handy for regular cleaning. I’d suggest getting the bottles (I get zero commission on bottles, so it really is just a suggestion), because they have all the dilution ratios written right on it.

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