To provide your baby with efficient protection against bacteria and germs, and a good night’s sleep, is a great challenge. The proper cleaning and maintenance of the nursery, and the baby bedding in particular, is crucial if you want to avoid the frequent waking up during the night and all the midnight tantrums.

There are many irritants surrounding your baby in the nursery, so limiting them would be a good step towards creating peace at home. Here are a few tips that will help you with that:

Baby bedding washing frequency

Many new parents completely freak out when it comes to washing the bedding of their first child. Some parents even go as far as boiling the sheets or washing them using heavy duty disinfectants. Unless there’s been a serious diaper accident, this is completely unnecessary. Truth is, that in the first few months you will have to change the bed sheets up to a couple of times a day, because young babies drool and spit a lot, and the unpleasant smells in their cribs can keep them awake all night. But after the first year is over, you will get into a reasonable routine. The best changing and washing frequency for sheets, mattress pads and pillow cases is twice a week. The bumper pads require at least a monthly cleaning because they gather lots of general grime and dust. Covers, blankets and other similar items should go through the laundry machine about twice a month. The recommended washing frequency for the pillows is every 6 weeks. The clean pillow means clean sinuses, and the clean sinuses lead to a healthy sleep.

Use natural detergents

Harsh detergents used in the nursery can cause skin irritations, respiratory issues, allergies and disturbances in the sleep schedule of your baby. Even baby safe detergents can contain strong fragrances which will keep your baby awake all night. So, be very careful when you choose cleaning products and laundry detergents, make sure there are no irritants or strong smells. Alternatively, you can try to make your own natural detergents from products like baking soda, white vinegar, lemon juice and castile soap, there are plenty of recipes out there. For instance, here’s a nice recipe for a hypoallergenic laundry detergent: grate 3 bars of castile soap, add 6 cups of washing soda and a few drops of coconut oil (the smell of coconuts has a proven calming effect on babies). Use 1 or 2 tablespoons per load.

Ventilate the room properly

Studies show, that the indoor air is at least twice as polluted compared to the one outdoors. The closed environment and the lack of sunlight cause bacteria to develop, and in the long term this can cause asthma and allergies in children, as well as sleep disturbances. This is why you need to keep the room properly ventilated every day. But make sure your baby is not in the room while it’s being ventilated, because the drafts can bring down even a grown up. Also, use every sunny occasion to open the windows and let the sunshine in, it will kill germs. Providing the nursery with oxygen just before bed time will help your child sleep better and be healthier.

Calming fragrances for the nursery

The sense of smell is very pervasive, and it crucial to make sure the baby’s sleeping area is fresh and soothing on an olfactory level. Newborns have a very sensitive sense of smell compared to toddlers and older children, so it’s not recommended to use any fragrances around the nursery, because everything can irritate them, even the good smells. From 3 months onward, you can start introducing calming fragrances to the nursery, which will help sooth your baby to sleep easier. Such fragrances are chamomile, vanilla, lavender and roses. You can use them in the laundry, burn essential oils in a safe location in the house or place small bags filled with flowers or soaked with the fragrance. Today you can even find stuffed toys filled with soothing scents, that will help the baby sleep through the night.

Mattress maintenance for better sleep

The mattress cleanliness is also pivotal to your baby’s sleep. The smelly and stained mattress is not pleasant to sleep on. Most baby mattresses can be washed only on one side. Always follow the cleaning instructions on the label and make sure it is fully dry before placing the baby on it. If the baby stains the non-washable part by accident, try to avoid using moisture to clean it. Instead, gently remove the solids without rubbing and blot up the moisture. Then get a bowl of soapy water and use the foam (only the foam!) to sponge clean the fabric. Air dry the mattress, to prevent mould growth.

Jane Wilson is a mom, blogger and marketing manager from Melbourne. She represents the local branch of Fantastic Cleaners – a licensed cleaning company, which provides all kinds of cleaning services for busy home owners. Her passions include home improvement and green cleaning.

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