The baby’s nursery is probably going to be your new favorite place in the home. Beautiful, cozy, and designed with love, this room will be the site of so many precious memories in the making. As you, your fragile little one, and any other caregivers, visitors, and siblings will all be spending a great deal of time in the nursery, cleanliness is important. You’ll want to create a space that lends easily to being dusted and sanitized, and practice safe house hygiene in Baby’s room to minimize germs and illnesses in the early years. 

Here are our top 10 tips on how to clean a nursery, from what to buy to how to implement (and stick to!) an easy cleaning schedule. 

1. Set up for success.

Keep germs and dirt at bay, and make the environment conducive to cleaning, with a handful of basic rules, routines, and hacks in mind.  

  • Implement a “no shoes” rule in the nursery and be strict about it. The bottoms of our shoes are a hotbed of disgusting germs that have no place in your baby’s room. Not to mention wearing shoes inside makes your floors visually dirtier and grimy-looking!
  • Place a small sanitizing station right outside or just inside the nursery door, with a bottle of hand sanitizer, pack of sanitizing wipes, and a small waste bin to encourage anyone entering the space to cleanse their hands and not bring trash into the room.
  • We love our furry friends, but it’s safest to let your little ones play with them outside of the little sanctuary that is the nursery. Keep Baby’s room door closed if it’s too tough for Fido to stay away. Outside dirt from his paws and mites and other pests that may travel on his fur can make a baby sick.
  • Create a cleaning schedule with daily, weekly, and monthly tasks on it. If visual cues are helpful for you, keep a chart taped inside the nursery closet or anywhere in the house where you’ll see it and be reminded of what needs cleaning in Baby’s room.

2. Use safe products.

All of us should be using earth-conscious cleaning solutions, but nontoxic cleaning supplies are especially important around infants and toddlers. Keep your little one safe with products that do not contain harsh or dangerous chemicals like bleach. 

The Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning can point you to greener products and decode labels on household cleaners. There’s also the Think Dirty app which lets you scan your cleaning products to ensure they’re safe and nontoxic. Still another option is to make your own cleaning supplies (for example: vinegar + water is a surprisingly effective cleaning agent) so you’re aware of exactly what is inside of them.  

3. Get organized.

Arranging the baby’s room in a way that facilitates cleaning is imperative to success. The entryway should be clear; all items should have a place; and bins, baskets, and shelving should be available to corral smaller items. A room that looks organized is not only easier to clean, but looks and stays cleaner longer. (Check out these nursery layout ideas!)

Arrange the furniture in an uncomplicated manner that makes it easy to vacuum underneath, clean behind, etc. And don’t forget to leave cleaning supplies on the same level of the home as Baby’s room for ease of use. Investing in a stick vacuum that lives upstairs, for example, is a great plan! 

4. Keep it clutter-free. 

On the topic of getting organized, it’s much easier to do so when the room is not overrun with stuff. We all know that babies need a lot of gear, blankets, toys, and so on, but try to keep useless items away. If minimalism is your goal, set up weekly or monthly clean-outs to donate, trash, and sell the excess. (Here are some tips on donating outgrown toys, clothes, and gear!) Only keep on hand the items your baby will need during their current age block and consider a toy rotation to further minimize the mess.

But even if you’re staunchly not a minimalist and love a room filled with precious or beautiful items, seek balance. You can have a lot of things in a room without having a lot of clutter. Set in place systems for containing it all, and be stringent in removing trash and misplaced items (like that morning’s coffee cup) immediately to make sure only intentional items remain in the space. 

Just as organizing the furniture and accessories in the room will make it more conducive to cleaning, so will cutting out any excess possessions and keeping everything in its place.

5. Conquer dust. 

Dust is inevitable in even the most clean-conscious homes. These pesky particles are comprised of skin cells, hair, tiny bits of plastic and fabric, soil, and dirt (ew!) and can cause breathing issues for babies and their caregivers. Make sure to create a dusting schedule that you can stick to—and prioritize it.  

Ceilings, door frames, and baseboards in the nursery should be dusted at least once weekly. You should also vacuum the carpets at least twice weekly and sweep up visual dust on hardwoods whenever you see it. As part of a monthly deep-clean, consider vacuuming the curtains and moving the furniture to attack even hidden dust that lurks in the corners.

6. Sanitize surfaces frequently.

In addition to dust, invisible germs gather on your wood, plastic, and metal surfaces in the nursery. High-touch surfaces like light switches and crib rails will need regular cleaning. Keep sanitizing wipes in the baby’s closet to make it easier to wipe down these surfaces daily or every other day, as well as whenever they appear visibly dirty or get obviously soiled. 

7. Manage diapers wisely.

Dirty diapers aren’t just stinky, they can also be dangerous. Soiled diapers contain bacteria that you don’t want lingering in the nursery. Use a diaper pail that keeps the dirty diapers shut away tight and is easy to empty. Make sure to empty and sanitize the pail frequently.  

Your diaper station should be disinfected often, and nearby surfaces wiped down after a particularly messy diaper change. Keep paper towels, sanitizing spray, and water-less hand cleanser within reach to allow you and your diaper changing area a quick freshen-up any time.

8. Change linens frequently.

Like the rest of the beds in the home, Baby’s crib needs frequent changing. Plan to swap out the crib sheet every seven days, and again whenever it gets soiled or wet. During or after a cold or illness, you will want to change Baby’s linens more frequently. Keep an extra crib sheet or two clean and folded in Baby’s room to make this process seamless. 

Additionally, changing pad covers should be changed weekly or whenever soiled. Blankets also need attention. A good rotation to get into is to wash your stroller blanket whenever you change the crib sheet. Keep a stash of clean receiving blankets rolled up in baskets around the nursery so you never feel compelled to continue using a dirty blanket, as you have a fresh one ready. 

9. Keep toys sanitary.

Giving toys a frequent cleaning will help keep germs and illness at bay. Especially as young babies tend to put everything in their mouths, this is important in the early months and years. Give teething, plastic, rubber, and wooden toys a quick wipe-down after drooly play and sanitize them once a week. Apply the same rules to board books and soft plastic books.

Wooden and paper play items should never be submerged in water but can be cleaned with wet solution and a cloth when particularly dirty. Stuffed animals should be washed with some frequency as well; find our complete guide to getting and keeping stuffed toys clean here.   

10. Be prepared for messes.

Keep in mind that babies are messy, and all your best-laid plans can’t account for everything. There will be blowouts, spit-up, and dramatic displays of emotion that end with toys or clothes all over the place. Keeping a basket of basic but safe cleaning supplies tucked inside Baby’s closet like a roll of paper towel, spray water bottle, and extra burp cloths will help. 

At the end of the day, it can feel overwhelming to get it all cleaned up and tucked away. Try to manage dirty messes as they occur and leave the general tidying-up for a calmer moment. Set a 15-minute timer during your evening routine, place Baby somewhere safe (like in the crib, SNOO, or in the arms of a caregiver or family member), and bang out as much tidying-up as you can in that fifteen minutes. 

If you don’t get it all done in the 15 minutes allotted, you’ll either be motivated to power through and finish up anyway, or have a smaller mess on your hands in the morning. The “you” of tomorrow morning will appreciate stepping into a cleaner and tidier nursery, so you can get right back to enjoying your baby. 

More Cleaning and Organizing Advice:

About Jenny Studenroth Gerson

Jenny Studenroth Gerson is an Atlanta-based lifestyle journalist and novelist (Let Me Let You Go, 2020). Her work can be seen in publications including HuffPost, Cosmo, and WSJ, among many others. Jenny has researched thousands of baby names, combed through hundreds of nursery designs, and curated dozens of baby shower guides, making her absolutely the mom—and writer—you want to talk to when planning for Baby. When not meeting deadlines, she is chasing toddlers or chugging coffee—or both! Find her on Instagram @ourlifeinrosegold for mom hacks and more.

Have questions about a Happiest Baby product? Our consultants would be happy to help! Submit your questions here.

Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.