As parents, we have a love-hate relationship with baby walkers. On one hand, they are big and bulky, hard to store, and can run over toes.
On the other, they provide a safe place for baby to play and practice walking while giving parents a much-needed, well-deserved break.
Do you use your walker as a portable high chair or mobile snack station?
Have you noticed dirt and hair buildup on the framing or around the wheels?
With constant use, baby walkers can get very messy, and need to be cleaned to prevent bacteria growth and keep your baby healthy.
To begin cleaning your baby walker, you will want to have a few things handy in order to get the job done.
Cleaning supplies: hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, dish soap, vinegar, and Borax. Peroxide and baking soda are great for getting stubborn stains out of cloth materials. In addition, baking soda can help to eliminate odors.
For any plastic surfaces, you will want dish soap or vinegar, as these are safe to put on surfaces that your baby’s food or mouth may be touching.
You will also want some scissors, tweezers, duct tape, and knife to help you remove hair that may be wrapped around the wheels.
Finally, your user’s manual and screwdriver will come in handy when you are taking the walker apart.
The following are a few simple steps you can follow to make sure your baby walker gets a good thorough cleaning.
However, depending on the condition of your baby walker, some steps may be omitted or shortened.
After all the work you put into assembling that baby walker, dismantling it is probably the last thing you want to do.
However, it is imperative that you break it down completely to make sure you get it as clean as possible.
You will want to have your user’s manual and screwdriver handy to break it down into its most basic parts. Separate the pieces into different types – plastic, metal, cloth, toys – so that you can clean them more efficiently.
Be sure you also remove any batteries, as they may get wet.
Loose hair is the bane of baby walkers’ existence.
The invisible strands that seem to stick around, no matter how often you sweep or vacuum, are bound to get caught up in the wheels, preventing them from turning smoothly and collecting additional dust, dirt, and crumbs.
This can be a particularly difficult job. Most baby walker wheels are capped off with plastic to keep them safe and secure for your baby’s use. They are not designed to come off or come apart; too much force and you can break the wheel, the casing, or the walker’s frame.
There are a few tricks, however, that you can try in order to get that pesky hair out and get those wheels rolling smoothly again.
For this, you will want to have a butter knife, tweezers, duct tape, and scissors at your disposal.
First, you can try to remove the strands one by one by wedging a butter knife between the wheel and casing, and using tweezers to pull out the strands. For loose hairs, you can use duct tape to grab most of them.
If you find these tricks are not working, you can resort to scissors or a sharp knife to cut longer strands, pulling them out with your fingers or tweezers.
This is probably the easiest part, as these are the bigger pieces, and they can easily be wiped down. Have your cleaning supplies, some warm water, and towels nearby to help you get the job done.
If your baby eats in her walker regularly, you want to make sure you are able to get out any dried food spots.
Vinegar is a great choice, as it is non-toxic but also able to break down any stubborn residue. You are also safe to use dish soap and warm water to wipe it clean.
For any of those hard to reach crevices, or if there are a lot of crumbs present, you can use a vacuum with hose attachment.
Many modern baby walkers have built-in grip strips on the underside of the frame, which help to regulate your baby’s speed, especially when on uneven surfaces.
These are made of rubber, meaning they pick up additional dust and dirt. You can easily wipe these the same way you did the plastic body and framing.
Most baby walker cloth seats are now machine washable, as well. You will want to pay attention to cleaning instructions.
Oftentimes, they still need to be washed on a gentle, cool cycle and drip-dried. It may simply be easier for you to wash these by hand, especially if there are stubborn food or poop stains.
Treat stains with peroxide or baking soda, leaving it on for about 30 minutes before washing. Be sure you do not rub in the peroxide; the baking soda, on the other hand, can be scrubbed in for added effectiveness.
Allow the seat fabric to soak in warm water with Borax and/or baking soda, and hand wash as you would any other clothing.
After washing, allow the fabric to dry completely before reattaching or folding. You can either hang it (indoors or out) or use a blow dryer.
Toys can also be tricky to clean, depending on how they are made. You may have some with fabric or some that use batteries, but most are just straightforward plastic, which are easier to clean.
If you have fabric toys, follow the same directions that you did for the cloth seat. For regular plastic toys, follow the same directions as the framing and body.
If there are toys with batteries, they can still be wiped down, but you need to be sure not to soak them in water.
Avoid using any harmful chemicals on any part of your baby’s walker. This includes bleach, harsh detergents, or any other toxic cleaning product that may leave behind an odor or cause allergic reactions.
Ensure that all parts are completely dried before reassembling. The metal framing can rust and corrode if excess water or soap residue is left behind.
In warmer climates, mold can grow in the fabric of a damp seat if it is not thoroughly dried.
Avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. The heat can warp and deteriorate the plastic, as well as cause injuries to your baby. It can also lead to color fading, on the framing, the seat fabric, and toys.
Take special care with battery-operated components. Always use new batteries together and do not mix brands. Remove old batteries as soon as they die, and if the walker is going to be stored away long term. Leaving batteries in can lead to leakage and corrosion.
Pay close attention to washing instructions for the seat fabric. Improper washing or machine drying can cause the seat to not fit properly or perhaps even damage the material.
Check all screws and fasteners on a regular basis, especially if your baby is a rough jumper. These can become loose over time, which can put your baby at risk for serious injury. Tighten any loose attachments you find.
The condition of your baby walker should not be ignored. Regular cleaning and maintenance are imperative to keep your baby safe and healthy, and these simple steps make it easy for anyone to follow.
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