How to care for your playmat
Poonamies, drooling, sippy cups and snacks - With a child around leaks and crumbs are never far away.
We all love and adore our children but let’s be honest, they are messy. It took me a while to embrace the reality that mess is part of a child’s learning journey. In addition to mess, we also have to contend with germs brought into the home.
What is the dirtiest place(s) in your home?
Kitchen bin? Toilet?
Soap dispensers? Door handles?
Taps? …. the floor?
You're correct if you said any of the above. But, are you surprised to know your carpets are 4,000 times dirtier than your toilet seat? YIKES.
With your play mat on the floor, it will pick up germs brought into your home. Read more here: What is a play mat?
Research tells us that some germs strengthen children’s immune systems, and there are beneficial bacteria. But it’s the bad bacteria we want to be mindful of because children under two years of age are more vulnerable, especially as they build their immune systems.
Thankfully, a play mat's main job as a floor covering is to provide a safe, clean place for your little one.
Taking care of your childrens play mat properly is important because:
- you want it to last,
- it comes into contact with your baby’s skin, and
- the material your play mat is made of will mean that the method of cleaning will vary.
Cleaning your play mat isn’t difficult, or time-consuming. Toddlekind always supplies care instructions with its play mats. However, here is Toddlekind’s guide to keeping yours fresh and clean for longer.
PRETTIER PLAYMATS & PLAYRUGS
Before use, it’s worth giving your play mat (and the flooring it will be laid on) a clean.
Start with the floor.
Simply vacuum your carpet, and put the play mat on top. Toddlekind recommends placing a rug pad under your mat can help keep it fixed in place.
Unfortunately, Toddlekind doesn’t recommend putting the play mat on medium to high pile carpeting.
Putting your play mat, or play rug, under furniture is also not advised because it could damage it.
If you have flooring that you mop clean - like wood, vinyl, or tile - after cleaning it make sure to dry it fully before placing your mat there. Moisture could become trapped underneath and could damage some types of flooring surfaces.
Cleaning the play mat / playrug.
Now for the play mat - or play rug - use a damp, clean soft cloth and a gentle soap. Do not use any abrasive detergents. Do not soak the mat, and make sure you completely dry it.
When considering where to put your play mat, or play rug, remember they are not made for outdoor use. So avoid direct sunlight, because it could cause discolouration.
Toddlekind’s play mats, and rugs, are made from premium, recycled EVA foam. They are soft, and supportive under baby so you will see pressure marks - from knees or feet - but don’t worry the foam will spring back into shape.
For longevity, they are not suitable for animals, high heels, heavy furniture or sharp objects. These may damage the play mat, and heavy furniture will cause long-lasting indentations.
Keep the above mentioned in mind during your routine cleaning. You can use a vacuum cleaner, but be careful not to use high-powered suction and heavy wheels that can damage the mat including around the edges of the play mat.
If in doubt, and you’d prefer not to bring out the vacuum, a soft-bristled brush and pan can sweep away debris.
Toddlekind’s play mats are water-resistant. Wipe up spills with a dry cloth as soon as possible especially if the spill is a liquid or food that can stain. Remember to lift the mat, and dry thoroughly underneath.
Start with the floor.
The flooring under your splat mat will likely be flooring you mop - such as wood, vinyl, or tile - so after cleaning the floor make sure to dry it fully before placing your mat there. Moisture could become trapped underneath and could damage some types of flooring surfaces.
You can place it on a carpet but Toddlekind recommends a thin pile carpet only and with adult supervision.
Once the floor is ready, clean your splat mat before use with a damp, clean cloth and a gentle soap.
Toddlekind’s splat mats arrive rolled up. If there are any creases, you can "iron” them out by pouring hot water (not boiling) over the mat. You may prefer to do this in your bathtub, or over a sink to avoid mess - and to allow you to deal with hot water carefully.
Remember to dry completely before laying your splat mat under your child’s high chair or seat.
Cleaning the splat mat.
Clean your splat mat after each use. If you leave food on the mat for too long, it may cause staining. You may also like to use your splat mat during messy activities, so keep in mind water-based paints are best for your splat mat - and clothing - markers and crayons will stain the mat.
The mats are water-resistant, and you can wipe up spills with a dry cloth.
ORGANIC COTTON MATS
If you like, you can wash your mat before use by following the instructions on the playmat or packaging it arrives in.
Wash on a gentle cycle, and remember: do not tumble dry, use harsh chemicals or bleaches or dry clean. If you want to iron your fabric play mat, use low heat.
Toddlekind’s customers love to layer the cotton mats with the foam play mats because they add a design element, and offer extra cushioning on the floor.
However, keep in mind that fabric mats are going to absorb everything and stains can easily set in if you don’t pay attention. If there is a spill or mess, always remember to check your foam mat underneath.
Questions you might have ...
What can stain my play mat? Things that cause stains difficult to remove from your play mat include pens and craft paints (that are not water-based), nail varnish and remover, and foods like berries, citrus fruit, tomato sauces, some spices (like turmeric) and food colouring.
Any attempt to remove stains with store-bought, chemical cleaners can discolour your mat.
What is gentle soap? A gentle soap such as a dishwashing detergent. Or something natural. You may also enjoy reading Toddlekind's blog on the Best Natural Cleaning products to use around children. Click here
Cover image: By author featuring, Ammil Splat mat (Sunrise)
Images (order of appearance):
Karolina Grabowska via Pexels
Image supplied by Toddlekind featuring: Luxe playmat (Stone)
Image supplied by Toddlekind featuring: Prettier Puzzle playmat: Sandy lines (Stone)
Matilda Wormwood via Pexels
Jan Kopřiva via Pexels
Tima Miroshnichenko via Pexels
Polina Tankilevitch via Pexels