How to Clean Your Baby’s Nursery the Natural & Nontoxic Way

Published: 04/20/2022

Your baby doesn’t need an Instagram-worthy nursery. Who can afford that anyway? But they do need a room that’s safe, SANITARY, and organized. Between diaper changes, feedings, wardrobe changes, sleeping, teething, and playing, your nursery can quickly turn into a germ fest! If things are looking and feeling more shabby than chic these days, it’s high time to roll up your sleeves and get your (green) clean on. 

If you’re short on time, energy, and cash, you can still maintain a nursery that’s fresh and functional. Bonus: You don’t have to buy any special cleaning supplies to make it happen, and it’ll be better for the planet that way!

Here's our best advice for how to clean your baby’s nursery the natural and nontoxic way. 

#1 Get In The Zone.

If cleaning and organizing the nursery is a mammoth task, start with the different “stations.” You likely have a station for diapering, feeding, sleeping, and playing. Declutter, restock supplies, and clean one area at a time. To make it feel fast and fun, listen to a podcast, audiobook, or your favorite playlist as you go! And if your babe can’t be left alone for two seconds without causing mayhem, sit them in their crib with their fav toys while you do your squeaky clean routine. 

PS: While there’s no set rule on how often to clean your baby’s room, try to target the following tasks as often as possible–especially if anyone in the fam has been sick.

#2 Refresh the Air. 

Dealing with unpleasant odors is part of your job description as a parent, but no one likes a smelly nursery. Try this easy-peasy daily habit: Open the windows for at least a few minutes to let in some fresh air. Not only does it help flush the funk out, it’s great for supporting healthier indoor air quality. (Did you know indoor air pollution is typically 2 to 5 times worse than outside?!) You can also run an air purifier (just switch out the filter if it’s been awhile). Still looking for the source of the stink? It’s probably time to deep clean your garbage can or diaper pail:

  • Step 1: Hose it down – either outside or in the bathtub.
  • Step 2: Rub it with dish soap. Be sure to get into all those nooks and crannies–use an old toothbrush if you have to!
  • Step 3: Sprinkle baking soda over the entire area and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Step 4: Spray on a vinegar/water solution and scrub the interior and exterior. 
  • Step 5: Rinse (and repeat if necessary!).
  • Step 6: Use a towel to get it nice and dry, inside and out. 
  • Optional Step 7: Add a shallow bowl of baking soda to the bottom of your can before attaching the garbage bag – it’ll help absorb odors from all those poopy diapers! 

#3 Load Up On Laundry. 

Your nursery is full of linens like blankets, crib sheets, crib skirts, and changing pad covers – and they’re probably overdue for a cleaning (oops!). Pop them in the washing machine along with a plant-based, fragrance-free detergent to keep common irritants away from your baby's sensitive skin. When it's time to dry, add some dryer balls to the mix for the the fastest (not to mention fluffiest!) end result. Dealing with pee and poo stains? Treat the smell by washing your threads in hot water and adding one or all of the following to your load:

  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice + 1 cup white vinegar
  • Bonus Tip: In the summer, hang your linens out to dry! That UV light can help kill bacteria and it’ll save $$$ on your electricity bill! 

#4 Go Surf(ac)ing. 

Hang ten with a dust rag and wipe down any and all surfaces, focusing on the messiest spots (like the changing table, dresser handles, door or closet knobs, crib railing, and feeding station). Finish the job with a water-based cleaner like surface wipes, a homemade vinegar and water spray, hot soapy water, or an all-purpose spray

Real talk: While vinegar is an all-star natural cleaner, the EPA says it only works on some types of germs. If you need to be a super bacteria buster this time around, then go ahead and use an actual sterilizing wipe, spray, or solution. Just know that these aren’t the best option for the planet, air quality, or your skin so don’t overdo it. And, PLEASE, avoid using chemical disinfectants on anything that’ll end up in your baby’s mouth. 

#5 Do A Clean Sweep.

Grab a broom or vacuum and hit the floor hard! Finish up with a mop or floor cleaner. This one’s pretty self-explanatory (and it is one of the more time-consuming steps) but it’s uber important when your wee one starts crawling and, by default, licking the floor and putting LITERALLY everything in their mouth. Yuck! 

If you have extra time, use the handheld feature on your vacuum and glide it over your rocking chair, ottoman, or any other seats in the room. 

#6 Revive Old Toys. 

If your baby’s toys have seen better days, give them some attention, too. 

  • For plastic and silicone-based toys, fill your sink with equal parts hot water and vinegar and give ‘em a 15-minute soak. Drain the water, rinse the toys, and let them air dry before putting them back in the nursery. 
  • For wooden toys, simply use a cloth and wipe them down with a vinegar and water solution and let ‘em air dry (PSA: Don’t submerge your wooden toys in water because if they don’t dry properly, they can be a breeding ground for mold.)
  • For stuffed animals, place them in a pillowcase (because, in case Teddy’s button pops off, you won’t lose it for good!) and wash and dry according to the directions on the tag. If there are no washing instructions, feel free to wash those lovies in hot water and tumble dry on low. 

#7 Get Organized.

While you’re at it, you might as well combat the clutter. It’s a great opportunity to group common items together, sift through outgrown clothes, and arrange your diapers (while you *swoon* over the adorable designs!). To help you out in this department, we have an entire post on budget-friendly organization hacks to keep your nursery looking and feeling fab.  

How do you keep your nursery clean? Do you have any special hacks for getting the job done? We want to know! Share your advice in the comments.