How To Clean Baby Play Mat (And Avoid Ruining It!)

Drooling, spitting up, diaper blowout or leakage may happen on baby play mat. Besides, little ones mouths everything so you need to make sure your crawling mat is clean and free from germs. That’s why it’s so important to know how to clean baby play mat in the right way – without damaging it.

How To Clean Baby Play Mat

Play mats are a must-have for babies to practice tummy time, crawling and to play. But, given that little ones put their mouths on everything, you should regularly clean your baby play mat.

Yes, you can spot clean after spills, but you should deep clean the daily play areas of your child often.

Cleaning your play mat kills bacteria and germs and makes for a more hygienic environment for your baby, but if you clean with the wrong detergents or brush, you could potentially destroy your baby’s playmat.

Foam, rubber, fabric and puzzle play mats – they all require different ways of cleaning. By the way, regardless of the type and material your crawling mat is made from, make sure it is one of the best non-toxic baby play mats.

Read on to learn the right cleaning solutions to clean foam mats and other baby playmats.

This article is not a substitute for medical advice.

When To Clean A Playmat

I recommend you clean your baby play mat every week, or at least once every two weeks.

Busy parents can use a vacuum cleaner to suck up crumbs and bits of dirt off of a dirty playmat, but it is a good idea to really clean deep-clean baby play mats regularly.

Consider cleaning even more frequently once baby has started crawling (they’ll bring bits of debris in on their hands and knees).

Remember, just because you don’t see any visible debris or dirt on your babies’ playmat doesn’t mean there are no bacteria or germs your baby is coming in direct contact with.

You wouldn’t want you baby to put their face on the regular floor would you? A lot of the same dirt and germs on your floor can end up on the play area that is stationed on your living room floor.

What Is A Good Cleaner For A Playmat?

Most of your regular cleaning household materials will work to clean baby play mats, specifically:

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Natural cleaners (like dish soap mixed with essential oils)
  • Basic soap and water

Avoid Damaging Your Playmat

Avoid damaging your playmat by skipping harsh chemicals, such as bleach, or detergents containing ammonia.

Bleach can leave a white stains on a colored playmat. Ammonia is known for allergic reactions, or possibly irritating child’s skin. Parents should avoid spraying these to prevent allergic reactions or stains.

Also, don’t put heavy furniture on a foam playmat, it will make a permanent mark or dent that cannot come out.

So, ready to start scrubbing?

How To Clean Foam Play Mats?

Foam playmats are one of the most popular choices of parents for little ones. While they are easy to clean, you do need to hand wash a foam playmat.

How To Clean Foam Play Mats?

Step-By-Step Guide To Clean Foam Play Mats

Step 1 – Read The Instructions

Always check with the care instructions included with a mat first.

Step 2 – Get A Soft Cloth

Choose a non-abrasive cloth, like a natural cleaning wipe, or a soft dish scrub like a sponge. Remember to be gentle, you don’t want to scratch up the foam.

Don’t use a strong scrub brush when cleaning foam mats.

Step 3 – Make A Cleaning Solution

This can be a soap solution or mix equal parts vinegar and water (it will have a strong scent, you might want to add a few drops of your favorite essential oil) and put it in a spray bottle.

I prefer to use a natural cleaner, since I know my baby’s face is going to be right against the mat.

Mom Tip: you can use the same cleaning solution as a spot-treatment to clean little messes, so keep in in a handy spray bottle. Just spray and simply wipe for messes like little snack crumbs or juice spills.

Step 4 – Sweep Or Vacuum

Before you spray or get soapy water on the mat, remove any crumbs or bits of dirt.

Step 5 – Wash

Spray the soapy water, then gently scrub and wipe your mat.

If there are any stains, you may need to give your foam play mat a good scrub to get out the dirt (but don’t scrub with a rough brush!).

Note: Remember, the foam will absorb water, so don’t soak the foam mat while you clean – dry it quickly. If it doesn’t dry properly it may get moldy.

Step 6 – Rinse

Rinse off the water solution (it might be dirty now) and pat it dry with an absorbent cloth or towel.

Other Cleaning Options

I don’t recommend cleaning foam play mats in the bathtub; the foam will absorb the water and be very difficult to fully dry, this can mean mold develops in the middle of the foam play mat – ew!

If you’re cleaning up vomit or blow-outs, definitely sprinkle baking soda to help with the smell.

How To Clean Rubber Play Mat?

Rubber play mats are easy to clean with soap and water. Simply follow the steps above for sweeping, scrubbing and wiping dry foam mats.

One cleaning agent to avoid with rubber mats is a vinegar solution. The acid base of the vinegar can eat away at the rubber material.

Stick with soapy water for your rubber play mat.

Can You Wash Foam Baby Play Mats In a Washing Machine?

How To Clean Fabric Play Mats?

A fabric play mat is often the easiest material to clean, usually, you can just throw it in the washing machine!

How easy is that? You can fold and twist a fabric mat to fit into your washing machine, so most sizes should fit.

Additional Tips

Use regular detergent, no special soap, when washing a fabric playmat in your machine.

Do an additional rinse to really make sure all the detergent gets out of the play mat, and twist and re-fold the playmat before returning to the machine for that second rinse.

How To Clean Puzzle Play Mat?

If your puzzle play mat is a foam material, then you can wash it like regular foam play mats, just separate the pieces, first.

Tips For Cleaning A Puzzle Mat

  1. Separate all pieces of the puzzle, as separate foam tiles.
  2. Wash all the pieces in warm water with an all-natural soap or nonabrasive cleanser which doesn’t contain chemicals. Make sure to get all the angles and corners of the puzzle pieces (as babies love to suck and chew on them).
  3. Rinse off each piece with warm or hot water.
  4. Make sure each piece is dry before re-assembling the puzzle because any damp spots could potentially mold over time.

Can You Wash Foam Baby Play Mats In a Washing Machine?

Do not wash foam play mats in the washing machine. This will damage or break up the foam of your play mat and ruin it.

How Often Should I Clean My Baby’s Tummy Time Mat?

You should clean your baby’s tummy time mat once a week unless it is visibly dirty – then clean it right away.

For example, if there is a little juice spill, you could spot-clean it, but big messes (like spit up) might call for an additional clean, sooner than that once-a-week wash.

It is especially important to keep it clean if you’re putting your newborn baby on the play mat (their immune system is not fully developed yet).

The purpose of this article is informative. It’s not a substitute for professional medical advice or medical care. Remember: safety first! Consult your doctor/pediatrician in case of any doubts. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.


About Me - Zooey BarnettHello Moms! I am Zooey. I am a wife and a mother of three amazing kids: almost 5-year-old Haley and 2-year-old twins Jesse and Matthew. I am a jogger, cooker and blogger.

If you have a question or a comment, do not hesitate to write to me! 🙂

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