DIY: How To Clean Foam Play Mats (A Guide For Messy Families)

  • Foam play mats make great floor coverings for kids’ play areas 
  • It is important to learn how to clean and sanitize these mats 
  • We’ve listed all the cleaning materials that you will need 
  • Plus, see step by step, easy to follow instructions and videos

Do you have a foam play mat at home and are trying to figure out how to get it cleaned?

Is the mat visibly dirty now and you’re not sure how to get the dirt out?

Are you looking for some cleaning instructions that can help you clean up the foam play mat?

If you have a small baby or toddler at home, you’re always concerned about keeping them safe at all times, including play time.

Foam play mats are often a preferred choice by parents and caregivers to place in the child’s play area, to add an extra layer of protection. But sometimes, these can also breed a lot of germs. Today, we’re helping you keep these mats absolutely clean, so that your baby can play without any worries of falling sick. We talk about why using a foam mat for the play area can be a good idea, and also share some easy instructions that will help you clean the mats at home. So if these are some of the details you are looking for, do read on.

Why are foam play mats good to use for kids’ play areas?

Foam play mats are essentially made out of foam, which has a soft and sturdy surface, making it an ideal placement option for your kid’s play area. One of the reasons why this can be a good choice is that it helps to reduce the impact of a fall, and also prevents your child from getting hurt while playing.

Foam mats are a very good option when you are looking for a flooring solution where you can easily let your baby play. In addition to being used in the play area for children, they are also used in other areas such as in the gym, studios, exercise areas and so on. Here are a few reasons that make them good for your child’s play area as well: 

how to clean foam play mats
  • The foam mats that you get for children are mostly inter-lockable, which means that you do not need any special device or method to put them together. The tiles are easy to attach to each other.
  • Once your child is a little older, assembling the foam play mat can also be a game in itself for your child, and it is also a great way to encourage fine motor development skills.
  • The tiles of the foam mats are very easy to take out and you can take the entire mat apart in a matter of a few minutes.
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    The surface of the mats is extremely soft, which means that you do not have to worry about your child falling down and getting hurt.
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    They do not have any sharp edges and are usually built of non-toxic material which is considered safe for babies to play on. However, do make sure you check this point with the specific manufacturer.
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    You can easily carry along the foam play mat wherever you are traveling with your baby, as these are easy to assemble, easy to take apart, and are very lightweight and hence very portable.
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    The foam mats will not cause any damage to the flooring underneath, whether it is wooden, tiles or anything else for that matter.
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    The bright colours, designs, letters or numbers on the foam play mats are also a great way to encourage your kid to learn as they play.

Are foam play mats easy to clean? 

It can sometimes get a little difficult to clean the foam mats completely, as the dirt can tend to get stuck inside the pores or sides of the foam mat, which makes it difficult to get it out. However, if you use the right cleaning materials and follow some specific cleaning techniques, you will be able to get out any trace of dirt from the mat and make it clean and safe for your child to play on it again.

cleaning foam mats

What cleaning materials are needed and how is it done?

If you are getting ready to clean the foam mat, here are some of the cleaning materials that you would need for the same:

You will need:

  • Soap
  • Water – warm or hot
  • Dish cleaning soft scrub
  • Dry towel to clean up afterwards 

How to clean the foam mat:

  • 1
    If it is one of those big alphabet or letter or any other foam tile mats that can be interlocked and placed on the floor, you can place it as it is in its made form and start the cleaning process. One of the problems with this method can be that the soap solution can tend to seep down, and you will have to turn the entire mat and clean on the bottom parts too.
  • 2
    If you feel that takes up too much space and requires more effort for you to move back and forth as you clean, you can also take off the pieces and clean them up individually.
  • 3
    Even before you start to clean the foam mat, you need to put the soap and water mix in the mat, so that it can soak in properly.
  • 4
    This will make it easier for you to get any trace of dirt off the mat with ease.
  • 5
    As you apply the soap and water mix to the mat, you can keep scrubbing it in, so that the dirt starts getting loose.
  • 6
    Make sure that you use only a soft dish scrub, as otherwise it can damage the soft foam material and cause tear in the mat.
  • 7
    If you notice more of the ground in dirt on the mat, it will be better if you use a detergent solution that can be used with warm or hot water, as it will help to get the dirt off easily.
  • 8
    If you notice more of an oily residue on the mat, it will be better if you use a dish soap solution because that will make it easier for you to get the oily and sticky stains off the mat.
  • 9
    Once you have scrubbed the soap solution in, you can let it sit for some time, for about 15 to 20 minutes, so that the solution works on the dirt and loosens it up.
  • 10
    Alternatively, you can also place it in a bath tub inside the soap and water solution and let it sit for some time.
  • 11
    After letting it sit, you can scrub it under the shower or using a soft towel dipped in water. The best way to make sure it is completely clean would be to clean it in the shower, so that all soapy residue and traces of dirt and oil can come off completely.
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    The foam material is very comfortable to children to sit on and spend time on.

How often should foam play mats be cleaned? 

what are foam play mats

Foam mats are extremely porous and can often attract a lot of dirt and dust. As a result, it is important that you clean them thoroughly at least once in every one to two weeks.

What happens if foam play mats aren't cleaned regularly?

Not cleaning the mats regularly can cause the germs and bacteria to build up, which can eventually make it extremely unhygienic for your kid to play on. Initially the dirt may not be very visible, but it can slowly grow and cause problems such as allergies in the little one.

Additional Research:

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Virginia R. Samuel
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About The Author

Virginia R. Samuel is a full-time working mother and the Editor in Chief of ABCKidsINC.  She has worked as a ghost writer for a variety of online sites as well as a research writer in the fields of breastfeeding and early childhood development, among other childcare-related subjects. Virginia presently loves her editorial work on ABCKidsINC, and hopes that the information and articles she has crafted over the years will be beneficial to other moms and dads who are just starting out on their parenting adventure.

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