Do you know how dirty your baby's cot is?

Do you know how dirty your baby's cot is?
Do you know how dirty your baby's cot is?

Why is it that everything that comes into contact with babies gets dirty? Hold a baby long enough, and you're bound to get spit up on, there's no two ways about it. 

Apply the same thinking to where babies sleep, and you can only imagine how gross a cot could get. 

Believe it or not, an unprotected pillow used by an adult gains up to 1 kg of dirt in a space of two years, according to Protect a bed.

Must read: What’s the scoop on kids and dirt?

In fact Good Housekeeping South Africa dug deeper into this in a recent article listing the five filthy things lurking in your pillow.

Here's what's sharing a bed with your baby:

  • Spit up
  • Leaking milk bottles
  • Sweat
  • A diaper accident
  • Skin and hair oils


If a pillow can be this dirty, how dirty could your baby's cot mattress be?

Not so dirty after all, as Romper found that baby cots can be a little too clean, at least for younger babies as they sleep swaddled.

But if you have an older baby consider the discovery by researchers that "our beds are an ideal breeding ground for germs, housing between 4-16 different species of fungi at any one time."

A UK-based company specialising in reviewing goods for consumers conducted a survey to find out how often parents cleaned their kids' cot mattresses. They found out that most parents preferred to wipe or wash the mattress cover once every week; but there is no set period of use between washing.

So, before you go ahead and throw all your child's bedding in the laundry, it is recommended that parents change the mattress cover at least once or twice every week.

This is on the assumption that you are in the habit of getting to any spills and messes right away.

Also read: You don't want to mess with a pregnant woman in extreme nesting mode

How to clean a cot mattress

Most cleaning companies like Chelsea Cleaning advise that when parents clean a baby's cot mattress they should start with vacuuming the mattress "paying special attention to the seams and stitch-overs." 

For minimal cleaning, simply vacuum, apply a disinfectant spray and wipe the cot mattress to protect baby against allergies and dust mites.

South African beds company Sealy advises against drenching mattresses with water, as this may cause the mattress to not fully dry which may lead to your mattress getting stinky.

"You should never drench your mattress with water or any other liquid cleaning product as mattresses are not meant to get wet, they don’t dry quickly, they were not designed in that manner, especially memory foam mattresses."

They provide the following advice:

Blot don't rub

If there is a spill on the mattress Sealy suggests that you blot the stain with a dry cloth or paper towel to absorb all the excess liquids before the actual cleaning.

Soapy water 

Instead of throwing water into the mattress rather fill up a spray bottle with soap water and spot clean the stained areas with a cloth.

Air dry

Drying will take longer so put the stained mattress outside or in a well ventilated room to air dry completely.

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