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How to Clean a Bassinet

Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN
Make the bassinet safe for your baby to sleep in by following these six easy steps.

Are you using a bassinet to lay your newborn to sleep? Are you at a loss as to how to keep it clean?

There’s so much elegance to a bassinet — even the word itself conjures up images of a slumbering baby swaddled in plush fabrics. However, between milk, tears, sweat, and other bodily fluids it’s easy for your baby bassinet to harbor more germs than you realize.

How do you clean a bassinet so it remains safe? Lucky for you, it’s not all that complicated. Bassinet maintenance is easier than you think!

What Is A Bassinet?

In order to clean a bassinet, you need to know about its many different parts. Each bassinet is different, but all have a recognizable and similar design.

A bassinet is a small bed for newborns and usually consists of a small basket attached to a stand. Bassinets allow parents to keep their brand new baby close to their bedside for easier feedings and peace of mind — without the dangers of co-sleeping.

Bassinets can generally be categorized in three ways:

  • Stationary: These bassinets are the most traditional. Sturdy and often made of wood or metal, they are not made to move. A mattress is placed inside the small bed for your baby to sleep on.
  • Portable: Portable bassinets are for mobile moms. Some portable bassinets come on wheels so you can easily push them around, while others are designed to swivel so you don’t have to move the entire base.
  • Swinging: A swinging bassinet is meant to help soothe and comfort your little one, rocking them to sleep. Whether the legs are more flexible or the basket can move, most moving bassinets are lower to the ground and smaller to prevent the risk of injury.

New babies are susceptible to germs, so cleaning your bassinet regularly is important, no matter its type!

When To Clean Your Bassinet

It nearly goes without saying that if you notice buildup or dirt on your bassinet, you should take time to give it a thorough cleaning. However, to ensure you deal with seen and unseen dirt, there are a few rules of thumb to follow.

Some recommend washing baby’s linens 1 to 2 times a week. As for the body of your bassinet, the amount is considerably less. Remember, your baby won’t necessarily come into contact with the frame, and some germs may help them build a sturdier immune system.

Unless your baby has overcome a recent illness or there is visible soiling, you may not need to go out of your way to clean it frequently. Use your discretion.

Disassembling Your Bassinet

Before you clean a bassinet, it needs to be disassembled. For most bassinets, this requires removing the bedding from the basket and stand.

Each part of your bassinet will need to be cleaned differently based on its material. For example, the cover of the mattress may be machine washed, the mattress hand-washed, and the frame dusted.

Your bassinet should have come with both washing and assembly instructions. It’s important you review them carefully before moving forward.

Digital Tip

If you can’t find the original instructions that came with your bassinet, reach out to the individual customer service department of your bassinet manufacturer, or do some searching. You may be able to find instructions online.

How To Clean A Bassinet

To make sure your baby’s sleeper stays in tip-top shape, follow these six simple instructions. They should apply for most types of bassinets, but check the instructions for your specific make and model if you have concerns.

1. Gather supplies

You should be able to clean your bassinet with some basic cleaning supplies already available in your home:

  • A gentle, baby laundry detergent.
  • Fresh sponge, cloths, and/or dusters.
  • A spray bottle with warm water.
  • A gentle disinfectant.

Having all these supplies on hand will make the cleaning process so much easier. Gather them up before you get started.

2. Remove bedding and linens

The part of your bassinet that will likely need the most cleaning is the bedding and linens. Remove them and separate them based on how they need to be washed.

3. Remove hood and linings

Some bassinets come with hoods or extra lining. If possible, remove the fabric so these can be laundered. Keep your eyes open for fabric ties, velcro, or zippers. These are a sure indicator the fabric can be removed.

4. Wash linens

Wash all cloth linens with a mild, unscented detergent safe for your baby’s skin. Follow laundering instructions or wash by hand if you’re unsure.

Make sure to wash linens that permanently attached to the bassinet, especially if they come into contact with your baby’s skin. You can do this with spot treatment pens or by spraying warm water onto a cloth and gently dabbing a bit of detergent onto it.

5. Disinfect the frame

Once all of the linens have been removed from the bassinet, begin to disinfect the frame. The type of disinfectant you use will depend on what your bassinet is made of. You don’t want to use a disinfectant for metal on a wood bassinet or vice versa.

Wipe down the entire frame with a clean cloth. Then, go over the frame with another cloth to make sure it’s dry. This is especially true if you use water. You don’t want any part of the frame to rust!

6. Reassemble the bassinet

Once everything is clean and dry, reassemble your bassinet. It’s important you take your time, especially if it’s the first time you have taken it apart. You want to ensure it’s stable.

While some bassinets are simple to put together, others require more work. Since a bassinet is a place a very young baby spends a lot of time, you want to make sure everything is secure and ready for your baby.

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Medically Reviewed by

Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN, is a pediatric intensive care nurse at Children's Hospital of New York for the past 14 years. Jennifer also has extensive experience teaching Maternity and Obstetric Nursing, as well as Pediatrics Nursing.