Spring is a symbolic time for rebirth. The sun shines, the flowers bloom, the snow melts (well, not this year), and it feels like a fresh start. Maybe that explains why spring cleaning is such a popular ritual. Gleaming surfaces and uncluttered corners contribute to that “clean slate” feeling.
Your stroller is a great candidate for your spring cleaning list. Chances are, the fabric is looking shabby, there are crumbs in every crevice, and the frame is sticky with the remnants of more than one post-doctor lollipop. It may seem discouraging, but here’s the good news: you can clean that stroller and make it (almost) as good as new.
To do a really deep cleaning, you should strip all the fabrics from the frame and take a toothbrush to the crevices. This will take a couple of hours, plus time for the fabrics to dry (very few stroller fabrics can go in a dryer). If you have the time (and energy) for that, go for it. If not, don’t let the best be the enemy of the good. You can get your stroller reasonably clean in 10-15 minutes. Here are five steps for getting your stroller to sparkle:
1. Before you do anything else, read the instruction manual that came with your stroller for any care instructions or information about removing the seat fabric, canopy, and basket (if you want to do that).
2. Get rid of the loose dirt first. Empty the basket of your stroller and remove any toys or other detachable accessories. Then, run a vacuum over all the parts of the stroller you can reach, paying special attention to the seat and the basket.
3. For spot-cleaning the “soft” parts of your stroller (the seat fabric, the canopy and the basket), I recommend using a dish soap, like Dawn, or a gentle hand washing detergent, like the one made by The Laundress. Put a small amount of soap or detergent on a clean, damp cloth and scrub at the stains. Rinse the cloth in water, then dab the area with the wet cloth until the suds subside. Leave it in the sun to dry, if possible.
4. For the “hard” parts (the metal and plastic), I like to use a natural, all-purpose spray cleaner and a clean, dry cloth. Spray the cleaning solution onto the cloth and then wipe the hard parts of the stroller. If there are particularly sticky patches, you will need some extra elbow grease. Make sure to dry any metal parts thoroughly.
5. Don’t forget the wheels! Use a couple of baby wipes to clean around the wheels and rims. If you have air tires, pump them up. It’s amazing what a little bit of air will do for your stroller’s performance. Check to see if the swiveling wheels are moving smoothly. If not, you can hit them with some lubricant. We recommend a silicone spray rather than something like WD-40. Do this outside or in a well-ventilated area.
If you go through steps 2-5 a few times each year, your stroller will stay in great condition. But the most important factor in the long-term maintenance of your stroller is where you store it. If you keep your stroller in a damp garage, the frame will rust and the fabric will get moldy. Keep that same stroller in your house in a dry closet, and it will look great for years. Gritty dirt, sand and salt can all be corrosive to your stroller, too, so don’t wait to clean it after the beach or a muddy stroll – it’s worth the effort to clean it as soon as possible.
And here’s one last tip from Jamie Grayson: if you’re fighting some funky smells in your stroller (or car seat), you can spray a solution of 50% vodka and 50% water on the fabric. The alcohol will evaporate and take the smells away more effectively than something like Febreze.