How To Clean A Playpen? The 8 Laundry Detergents We Tested

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
24 min read

When you’re on the go, a playpen makes it simple to keep your kid safe. With regular use, though, they can become quite filthy. So, knowing how to clean a playpen is essential.

To wash a playpen, you’ll need a washer and dryer that can handle the weight. However, you don’t have to let your baby’s playpen to become filthy. Keeping your baby’s playpen clean and free of hazards is as simple as cleaning up spills as soon as they happen, and doing so on a frequent basis.

Why You Need to Clean Your Baby’s Playpen

Babies who are exposed to household microbes and pet dander are less likely to develop allergies and asthma later in life, according to research. However, the value of this exposure diminishes dramatically after the first year of exposure.

Full Time Frugal : How to clean your playpen

Babies’ immune systems can become too sensitive if they are raised in an overly clean environment. However, this does not negate the necessity for parents to clean items such as playpens that their children use on a regular basis.

So, how can you clean a playpen without endangering the immune system of your infant? Do not use harsh chemicals or disinfectants, and only use a soft detergent to clean it.

How to Clean a Playpen: Spot-cleaning

For fresh spills, spot-cleaning is a great option. This is a great way to make baby meals and formula.

1. Blot

Blotting the stain is the initial stage in spot cleaning. You can use a dry cloth or several paper towels to remove some of the wetness from a fresh spill. Afterwards, use a diluted detergent solution to soak the stain with a damp cloth or sponge.

2. Flush with water

Once the stain has been removed, you should rinse the area with cool water. Using a sponge soaked in clean water, wipe the stain to remove it if you’re unable to place the stain under a faucet The objective is to remove all traces of detergent. You can proceed to the following step when the water is clear and you can no longer see any suds.

3. Let dry

The final step in spot-cleaning your playpen is to allow the location to dry down entirely.

Hairdryers should be avoided at all costs. Heat can permanently set stains that weren’t completely eliminated in the first round of spot cleaning.

Spot-cleaning isn’t always enough. It’s a good idea to deep clean your playpen if it’s covered in grime or has just seen a lot of use.

A bathtub or other vessel large enough to accommodate the folded-down playpen is required for thorough cleaning.

1. Soak

Spot-clean any stubborn stains on your playpen before soaking it.

Fill your bathtub with hot water and a few drops of detergent, and then scrub away the dirt. In your tub, place a folded-down playpen on top of the playpen’s mat. Keep the playpen underwater while opening it as far as feasible.

As a substitute for commercial detergent, you can make your own homemade detergent or use a vinegar and baking soda mixture.

For an additional 30 minutes of soaking and flipping, the playpen should be left.

2. Agitate

Following that, you’ll need to use your bathtub to thoroughly clean the playpen. Playpen agitation will help flush the wash water through the cloth, removing the dirt and grime. You don’t need to scrub.

3: Rinse

To clean your playpen, run the water from your bathtub out the drain. Using hot water, wash your playpen and mat well.

You can use a flexible shower head to wash the playpen if you have one. By filling your bathtub with pure water and agitating the playpen, you can eliminate all detergent residue. Continue until there is no more suds left.

4. Dry

It’s time for the final step: drying the playpen.

Try to set up your playpen on a clean area in direct sunlight if feasible. As an alternative, locate yourself in a bright room with an open window if you can.

To dry your playpen, all you need to do is keep the mat flat. A flat drying rack like this one is a better option for drying a play mat since it prevents the map from warping while it dries.

The 8 laundry detergents we tested

Best overall: Tide – Coldwater Clean


  • To put it simply, Tide – Coldwater Clean outperformed the other three cold-water detergents we tested, as well as all the detergents we tested in warm water, in terms of stain removal.
  • In addition to being a great detergent for a reasonable price, washing in cold water saves energy, which will lower your electric bill.
  • To get rid of difficult stains and fast collapse suds, Tide Coldwater Clean uses HE TurboClean technology.

Most cost-efficient: Arm & Hammer – Clean Burst

  • Arm & Hammer is an excellent choice for households that wash many loads of laundry each week or just want to save money by providing more detergent for less money.
  • If you enjoy the smell of clean sheets, you’ll appreciate this detergent because of the natural refreshing and deodorizing properties of baking soda.

Best natural detergent: Ecover – Zero

  • No known or suspected dangers to human health or the environment have been found in Ecover Zero, according to EWG.
  • This detergent is dermatologist-tested and free of smell or dyes, making it a perfect choice for people with sensitive skin.

How we selected

Full Time Frugal : How to clean your playpenOnline reviews from shops such as, blogs and subreddits like /r/HowToDoLaundry, and YouTube video reviews were the first steps in our investigation. In order to make meaningful comparisons, we needed to have a good notion of what consumers want in a laundry detergent. We were also able to limit down a wide range of laundry detergents to only eight finalists.. We then looked into the science of laundry detergent in order to discover which tests would be most useful in determining the best laundry detergent. Finally, we walked to the laundry room with our eight finalists and lots of dirty things, including sheets, towels, and the most difficult laundry duty of all – washing a toddler’s clothes. We were able to see how each detergent handled food stains and ground-in dirt, while maintaining the softness and absorbency of our sheets and towels.

How we tested

The stain test

A thorough understanding of stain science is essential for selecting an effective stain removal method. Using a protease enzyme to breakdown protein stains can help remove blood and egg proteins. The purpose of a laundry detergent is to eliminate as many dirt and stains as possible. You save time and effort by using a detergent that removes stains effectively. Only the toughest stains require pre-treatment and soaking.

We stained eight 100% cotton Hanes – classic t-shirts with four different sorts of typical stains in order to determine which detergent was best for eliminating stains and brightening clothes in general.

The first cup of coffee of the day is bound to get on your clothes when you’re just waking up. For example, bleach can be used to get rid of the coffee (and tea) stains on your clothing.

Food is the most common source of greasy stains. The complexity of real life often exceeds the scope of a basic stain, which is why we combined an oil stain with a brilliant dye in a red lip gloss.

It’s possible that you’ve already noticed that foods high in carbohydrate, such as ketchup, have an uncanny affinity for white t-shirts. Ketchup was used to stain our t-shirts in order to test how well our detergent would remove this common stain.

In the case of red wine and fruit juice, removing tannin stains can be difficult. To test the effectiveness of the detergents, we used two tablespoons of red wine each garment.

As a practical matter, most of us don’t wash our laundry every day, and stains on our garments are likely to have dried by the time we get around to washing them. Cold water was used to wash the detergents using formulae that worked in cold water. After that, they had a second wash in warm water. Warm water was used to wash the rest of the detergents.

To get the toughest stains out of our clothes, we noticed ourselves gravitating toward Tide–Coldwater during the month of testing Using cold water, it eliminated the carbohydrate stain from the fabric and lightened the bleachable stains and tannin stains. Warm water further faded the spots. The Wisk – Deep Clean was our second-best stain remover, and it worked wonders in warm water to get rid of all of our messes.

The pH test

Phosphorus (H2O) ion concentration in a liquid solution can be measured using the pH scale. From 0 to 14, the pH scale is used. Neutral pH is 7. Generally speaking, the more acidic it is, the lower its pH number.

Because alkaline detergents are more effective, we used pH strips to check the pH of several detergents. For this purpose, we also wanted to see which detergent had the lowest pH level after washing, indicating a minimal amount of detergent residue behind.

We did a pH test on a sample of the dissolved water after measuring the correct amount of detergent for a medium-sized load. A second sample of the rinsed water was taken and the pH level was once again determined after cleaning was completed and the rinse cycle began. Each of the finalist detergents went through the same procedure.

Normal water pH values are in the range of 6.5 to 8.5. In an ideal situation, we would expect the second sample to revert to a pH level of 5.5, based on the water that came out of our washer without any detergent or clothing.

Even while its higher alkalinity didn’t exactly translate to stain removal, Biokleen cleans well with the simplest (and pronounceable) chemicals. Additionally, it was one of the detergents (together with Tide Coldwater Clean and Wisk Deep Clean) that had the lowest pH levels throughout the rinse cycles. To put it another way, these detergents left the least quantity of detergent behind after the wash cycle.

The price test

The best cost on the most effective detergent is the primary consideration for the majority of consumers while shopping for one. Several online retailers, including Amazon, Target, and Walmart, provided us with average pricing for the products in our top ten finalists’ categories. The cost per load was calculated by taking the lowest price option and dividing it by the number of loads included in each bottle.

Arm & Hammer – Clean Burst was the most affordable option, costing.8 to.29 cents per load. Biokleen Laundry Powder came in a close second at.11 cents a load. The majority of detergents cost between.17 and.23 cents each load, which gives you a wide range of possibilities. The most expensive detergent we tested was All Free & Clear, which is a great option if you don’t mind shelling out a little extra for a high-quality detergent.

All – Ultra Free and Clear

For people who suffer from sensitive skin, All-Free and Clear is a suggested detergent. The National Eczema Association has given it the NEA Seal of Acceptance, certifying that it effectively removes common household allergens such pet dander, dust mite matter, and pollen. It performed admirably in our stain removal test even without the use of a strong treatment. Although the price was a deterrent for some buyers, it was definitely worth it for those with sensitive skin.

All – Ultra-Free and Clear for Sensitive Skin

The composition is gentle enough for those with sensitive skin, and it removes even the most stubborn stains.

Sodium cocoate, a detergent ingredient, helps eliminate allergies in clothing, although it can build up if used in excess. Towels and other absorbent goods shouldn’t be exposed to this solution because it can coat the fibers and make them water resistant when used to dry off. Those with allergies or sensitivities to optical brighteners should avoid it.

Biokleen – Free & Clear Laundry Powder

EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning gave Biokleen an A rating, indicating the lowest concern for possible dangers to health or the environment. Biokleen is another environmentally friendly option.

There are no synthetic colors or artificial fragrances in any Biokleen product; the Free & Clear is the most popular. Biokleen’s ingredient disclosure has been praised for its use of sodium carbonate, surfactant, and hydrogen peroxide in its formulation.

While Biokleen is an environmentally friendly detergent, we found that it did not completely remove stains when used as a powder detergent in cold water (it may leave white streaks). As a result, it’s a practical solution for individuals who want to protect their health and the environment by using an eco-friendly detergent at a reasonable price.

Gain – Icy Fresh Oxi Boost

Oxi bleach and an icy fresh perfume lock in the freshness of your clothes, so reviewers on gave Gain – Icy Fresh Oxi Boost a virtually unanimous five-star rating. As a result, our clothes came out sparkling clean even though it wasn’t as effective at removing spots as Tide Coldwater.

For most buyers, the Icy Fresh Fizz aroma, described as clean and energizing, and the Oxi Boost, which helps to brighten garments without the use of hot water, are the most appealing features of the product’s packaging. Bleachable and protein stains respond well to this detergent’s enzymes.

Seventh Generation – Free & Clear

For stain removal and fabric softening, Seventh Generation outperformed the other two green laundry detergents we tested. There are no optical brighteners or dyes in this product and it has a C grade from EWG because of the presence of methylisothiazolinone. On the other hand, since 2009, it has met the EPA’s Safer Choice standards.

Stain-fighting ability and inexpensive pricing make this detergent an excellent choice for individuals looking for an environmentally friendly detergent that doesn’t necessitate additional pretreatment steps.

Wisk – Deep Clean

At about 17 cents per load, Wisk – Deep Clean was a wonderful stain remover, and our clothing smelled fantastic.

Once owned by Sun and Henkel, it has since been largely discontinued. Purex and Persil are the substitutes, which are both less priced. The new proprietors recommend the sensitive skin formula for those who liked Wisk but don’t like the new aroma or have an allergic reaction to the detergents in Persil.

Why use laundry detergent

Important features to consider

How do laundry detergents work?

  • Mineral-based
  • Synthetic
  • Plant-based

The surfactant’s efficacy can be improved by builders mostly by lowering the water’s hardness. As a bonus, the alkalinity they provide helps to remove acidic, fatty, and oily dirt, and prevents it from reappearing later on in the washing process.

According to a professor at the University of Maryland, half of the liquid laundry detergents on the market use enzymes in conjunction with surfactants. Enzymes are very effective in eliminating protein from clothing, but they are not required.

Enzymes and surfactants are found in half of the liquid laundry detergents on the market, according to a University of Maryland scientist. Protein may be removed from textiles more easily by using enzymes than by using detergents.

An optical brightener boosts the amount of blue light reflected from the fabric, giving the impression that it’s whiter. The same effect may be achieved using bluing in the past. In place of blue dye, optical brighteners deposit reflecting particles onto fabrics. Brighteners can cause allergic responses in persons with sensitive skin, however most people don’t have any issues with them.

However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists numerous optical brighteners on its Safer Chemical Ingredients List and classifies them as “not linked with a low level of hazard concern for all human health and environmental endpoints.” Optical brighteners are good pollution screening indicators since they degrade slowly and have luminous qualities.

Playard/Pack n Play Cleaning/Washing Tutorial - YouTube

Companies like Seventh Generation, Ecover, and Biokleen don’t utilize optical brighteners because it’s against their company policy.

Liquid vs. powder detergent

Liquid detergent

Cons: Because liquids dissolve better in warm and cold water, this method uses less energy. They’re great on food, grease, and oils. As liquids, they can be used to remove stains before they set.

As a result, you may end up wasting detergent and running a longer rinse cycle because of incorrectly labeled caps, which Consumer Reports noted can be perplexing.

Powder detergent

Advantages: Because surfactants are more stable in powder form, they last longer than liquid detergents. Buying in bulk (which saves money and reduces unnecessary packing) won’t lose its effectiveness if you do it this way. Ground-in dirt is particularly difficult to remove, making them an excellent choice for children’s play clothes.

It takes more energy to dissolve powders in warm water than cold water, which is why powders dissolve better in warm water. It might also leave behind a residue if it isn’t measured appropriately.

Good Ages to Keep a Baby in a Playpen

The use of playpens is common among parents for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, make sure the child is out of harm’s way of the household dog or an older child. The second method is to keep the youngster occupied in a small, safe area.

Playpens are also commonly used by parents to put their children to sleep. It is common for parents to utilize playpens as portable cribs when on the go.

Four to six months

A playpen is not the best place to keep a newborn.

Adults must provide them with a great deal of stimulation, but the distance between a newborn lying in a playpen and an adult’s face is far too great to do so. In addition, babies are unable to move enough in a playpen to keep themselves entertained.

You should wait until your baby can roll over, hold a toy, and lift her head before putting her into a playpen. By the time she’s four months old, you should have introduced her to the playpen so that she’s familiar with it. It’s possible that if you wait until she’s older, she won’t be able to trust the new area or its people.

Six to eight months

A playpen is suitable for this age group. Most babies are able to sit up, reach for, and grip close toys by the time they are one year old.

Leaving your baby in the playpen for a short period of time (while you remain close) is not likely to cause too much of a fuss when they are this age.

Be sure to include some fresh toys in the playpen with him as well. A choking hazard for babies is created when cables or strings are attached to a playpen’s sides or top.

Eight to ten months

Your kid may be crawling and possibly pulling herself up at this point. As a result, she may be growing restless in there.

If you don’t take her out of the playpen, she may stand up in it and cry if you don’t. New toys that she hasn’t seen before will make her happier in the playpen. Once your baby is able to walk, you’ll probably have to cease using the playpen since she’ll be able to protest loudly if you try to confine her to a tiny area.


What is the best way to clean a playpen?

You won’t be able to use your standard baby-safe detergent, but you’ll still need it. For a playpen deep-cleaning solution, you’ll need 12 cup of the baby detergent you use, q/4 cup Oxiclean (optional), 12 cup vinegar, and 14 cup baking soda.

How do you clean a pack n play pad?

Remove the mattress or mat from your pack ‘n play and set it aside while you clean it. Grab a pail of warm water, a soft-bristled brush, and a half-cup of baby-safe laundry detergent. Be careful not to saturate the material or the mesh while cleaning the pack ‘n play.

How do you clean a used play pen?

For days, you’ll be covered with vomit stains.

  1. Prepare two separate bowls of warm water, one with soap and the other with no soap.
  2. Warm soapy water and a first-aid rag are all you need to get the job done.
  3. Wipe away the soap with a second rag dipped in only water.
  4. The third rag should be used to blot the surface clean. The mattress can then be let to dry naturally.

How do I clean my 4moms pack n play?

Yes. Both the playard and bassinet sheets can be washed in the machine. The gentle cycle on your washing machine should be used to wash them in cold water. Bleach must not be used.

How do you dry a playpen mat?

Don’t wet the playpen mat in water. Mold and mildew can form in your child’s home if moisture is trapped. As a natural cleaning agent, the sun is a good choice. As much dry air as possible should be allowed to circulate through the mat while it dries.

How do you clean a baby trend Pack N play?

A sponge or clean rag should be used to apply light soap or detergent and warm water. Do not soak or bleach the material.

How do I clean my Angelbliss playpen?

Having a portable baby playpen means that your child can play whenever they like. In order to keep it fresh and sanitary, simply wash it with soap and water by hand, or use a moist towel and soap.

How do you get stains out of a pack and play mattress?

Using a mixture of 1/4 cup baby laundry detergent, 2 tablespoons of baking soda, and a small amount of water, rub the stain on the pack-n-play mattress to remove it. Wait a few minutes, and then if necessary, use a damp cloth and a little water to remove the residue from the surface.

Can babies sleep in pack n play?

Is it safe to use a Pack ‘n Play with a newborn? Yes! There are federal regulations on playards for infant sleep just like bassinets and cribs. In the absence of a cot or bassinet, a Pack N Play stroller is completely acceptable for your little one.


Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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