Is your stroller getting grubby? The trips out, walking to the store in the rain, and your little one eating or drinking — they take their toll on the stroller.
We’ve all been there. Cleaning a stroller is one of those things we wish we didn’t have to do. Most of us ignore it since it feels like too much of a chore. But cleaning the stroller may be easier than you think.
We’ll discuss how and why you should clean your stroller. We’ll also provide you with several quick and easy steps to help get your stroller looking like new again.
- Clean strollers regularly to keep them germ-free and safe for your baby.
- Focus on cleaning any fabric areas, the frame, wheels, and accessories.
- Use baby-safe soap, disinfectant wipes, and other gentle cleaning supplies.
- Proper storage and maintenance can prolong your stroller’s lifespan and help retain its value.
Why You Should Keep It Clean
As infants have significantly lower immunity than adults, it’s important to ensure that anything they come into regular contact with is clean and germ-free. As most parents use a stroller on a daily basis, regular cleaning is imperative.
How Often Should You Clean It?
The longer you leave your stroller between cleaning, the harder the task becomes. Giving it a once-over after every use is a good idea. If you’re in a rush, do it in the evening while preparing for the next day.
This doesn’t mean you have to break out the big guns each time. Just take care of the little things. Brush mud and dirt off the wheels. Remove crumbs from the fabric and wipe off any sticky mess your child might have left.
Doing this will mean vigorous cleaning will be needed less often.
How to Clean a Stroller
If you’re unsure where to start or what items you need, check out the information below. We break down each area of the stroller individually.
1. The Fabric Areas
What You Need
- A vacuum cleaner.
- Clean, soft cloths. Microfiber ones are a good choice.
- A soft toothbrush or a soft fabric brush.
- Lukewarm water.
- Baby-safe soap.
- Disinfecting baby-safe wipes.
Dealing With Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew can form on the fabric if your stroller hasn’t been used regularly or the weather is damp.
Step 1: Ventilation
Do this outside, and wear a mask so you don’t inhale any spores.
Step 2: Brushing
Brush the mold away using a stiff bristle brush. If any mold remains, wet the area using lemon juice, and sprinkle it with salt.
Larger mold areas can be removed by mixing two parts of water with three parts of white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray the whole area, then wash the stroller with soap afterward.
If the fabric is suitable, you can use a mix of non-chlorine bleach and water to remove mold. Two tablespoons of bleach to one quart of water is the recommended ratio.
Once you’re happy that the fabric is free from mold or mildew, move on to step 7 below. If you still need to clean other parts, carry on to step 3.
The Cleaning Process
Step 3: Check for Manufacturer Specifics
The first thing you should do is read the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your stroller. Baby strollers are made from different fabrics, some of which need special care. They might have flame-retardant or water-repellent materials.
Some strollers have fabric you can remove and place in the washing machine, while others will need to be cleaned while on the frame.
Step 4: Vacuum
Use a flexible hose attachment to suck up all the loose crumbs and debris. Pay particular attention to seams and where the seat meets the rear part of the stroller.
Throw the vacuum bag away after use if you’ve had to deal with mold or mildew.
Step 5: Prepare the Soap
Mix a small amount of soap with lukewarm water in a bowl. You don’t want too many suds, as these will be difficult to remove.
Step 6: Clean the Fabric
Dip your cloth into the bowl and wring out any excess soapy water. Gently clean your stroller fabric.
Pay particular attention to any stains. You might need to use a soft fabric brush or toothbrush to remove stubborn marks.
Step 7: Rinse and Wipe
Rinse your cloth in clean water, or grab a new one.
Remove any excess soap or other products from the fabric by gently wiping it.
Step 8: Disinfect
Go over the fabric with a disinfectant baby wipe or spray it with a disinfectant spray to leave it germ-free and smelling fresh.
Step 9: Dry Time
Let the stroller air dry thoroughly, preferably outside in the sun.
If, after drying, it needs further cleaning, repeat the above steps.
2. Cleaning the Frame
Before cleaning the frame, remove any accessories like food trays, bumper bars, or cup holders. These can easily be cleaned separately when off the stroller.
What You Need
- Dishwashing soap.
- Warm water.
- A toothbrush or soft scrubbing brush.
- Sponge with a scourer.
- Soft cloth.
- Disinfectant baby-safe wipes.
Step 1: Prepare the Soap and Sponge
Mix a small amount of dishwashing soap with warm water in a bowl. You don’t want it too sudsy.
Dip your sponge into the mixture and squeeze out any excess water.
Step 2: Cleaning Time
Wipe over the frame, removing any dirt and marks. Pay particular attention to the handle and make sure you get into all those nooks and crannies.
Use a toothbrush or scrubbing brush to remove debris from hard-to-reach places.
If you have stubborn marks the sponge won’t remove, use the scourer and gently scrub them.
Step 3: Rinse and Wipe
Rinse your cloth in clean water, or grab a new one, and wipe away any soapy residue.
Step 4: Disinfect
Go over the frame with a disinfectant wipe to kill any lurking germs.
Step 5: Let it Dry
Metal and plastic dry much faster than fabric, so it shouldn’t be long before you can use the frame again. Air-drying in the sun will greatly speed up the process.
3. Cleaning the Wheels
It’s inevitable that the wheels on your stroller will get dirty. This doesn’t mean they will need cleaning after every use, but you should inspect them regularly.
Small stones or bits of glass can get embedded in the wheels or around the brake area. This can interfere with how easily your stroller moves and how well your brakes work.
What You Need
- A small brush.
- Gentle disinfectant.
- Warm water.
- Dishwashing soap.
- WD-40 or manufacturer’s recommended lubricant.
Step 1: Check the Wheels
Before cleaning, check whether your wheels can be removed. Most have a mechanism that will release them from the chassis. Doing so will make them easier to clean.
Step 2: Remove Larger Particles
Using the small brush, remove any sand or dirt from the tires and rims.
Step 3: Scrub the Wheels
Use warm, soapy water to scrub the wheels and remove the dirt.
If there are stubborn marks, use hotter water and keep scrubbing. Don’t let it beat you!
Step 4: Rinse
Rinse off any excess soap. This is best done with a hose, but any water source will do.
Step 5: Disinfect
Wipe the wheels with the gentle disinfectant.
Step 6: Time to Dry
Let the wheels air dry, preferably in the sun.
Step 7: Inspect and Re-Attach
Before placing the wheels back on the stroller, this is a good time to check the tires for wear and tear. If they’re pneumatic, check the air pressure. Also, check for holes and other issues that will prevent them from working.
Check the function of the brakes to ensure they are working as they should. Brush away any debris caught in them.
Test the movement of the wheels and brakes. If there’s any squeaking, or the movement isn’t fluid, apply some lubricant.
4. Cleaning the Accessories
Don’t neglect accessories. Some can be cleaned in the dishwasher or washing machine. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning.
If this isn’t the case, treat them as you would any other utensils by washing them in soapy water and using baby-safe wipes. These wipes from Medela are handy and safe for babies.
When it comes to the hood, canopy, or sunshade, clean them just as you would the fabric section of your stroller.
Don’t forget about the shopping basket under the stroller. This should need a good vacuuming to remove any dust or debris. For more stubborn issues, check with the manufacturer to see if it’s machine washable.
Top Tips for Cleaning a Stroller
Here are some extra tips and tricks to help with cleaning and maintaining your stroller:
- Reassemble the fabric: If you removed the fabric for cleaning, it can be quite hard to get back on when dry. Reassemble while it’s damp and leave it to air dry on the frame.
- Yummy kebabs: Only kidding, although a wooden skewer is a good tool for getting into hard-to-reach places like under cup holders. You might also want to consider using a toothbrush for those hard-to-reach areas that need a scrub.
- Care labels: Check the stroller for care labels. They might be attached to the fabric section or the frame advising you what to use to clean them safely.
- Storage options: Consider how you store your stroller when not in use. Folding it up when it’s damp or wet might encourage the growth of mold or rust. Always make sure it’s dry before you store it.
- Heat is the enemy: Don’t store your buggy anywhere it might be subjected to extreme heat, like near a hot radiator or in a sunroom. This can affect the integrity of plastic clips.
- Invest in a cover: If you are putting your stroller away for any length of time, pop a dust cover over it. This will keep it clean and protect it from any exposure to sunlight.
- No stacking: Avoid stacking items on top of your stored stroller. This can lead to accidental damage.
- Spot test: When cleaning any fabric, do a spot test first to ensure your soap doesn’t affect the fabric’s color.
- Avoid chemicals where possible: Chemicals aren’t safe for your baby, and they might lessen the lifespan of some of your stroller’s components.
- Create a schedule: Work out a schedule for cleaning your stroller. The more frequently you do it, the less time it will take you.