Stopping the spread of germs in the nursery

By Published On: January 13th, 2012

Even if you weren’t much of a germaphobe before baby, […]

Even if you weren’t much of a germaphobe before baby, having a tiny person take up residence your space can make you see dirt and bacteria in a whole new light. Benjamin Tanner, B.S. in Molecular Biology and Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Arizona, is here to address ways that moms can help to maintain a clean nursery environment.

Hand holding a feather duster
Keeping the nursery as clean and germ-free as possible is important to many parents. In fact, a recent Playtex survey revealed that 65% of moms feel that having a clean and healthy nursery environment is a key priority. With the right process, keeping germ levels to a minimum in the nursery can be easier than you think. Here are a few practical steps you can take to minimize germ exposure in your child’s nursery.
First, identify what I call “hot spots.” Germ hot spots are frequently touched surfaces that are likely to come into direct or indirect contact with waste from diapers or body fluids, causing bacteria to gather and spread easily. Typical hot spots include the changing table, toys, and laundry hamper and should be disinfected at least once a day to kill bacteria and keep the nursery clean.
Once you have identified your hot spots you can concentrate on cleaning them. Use EPA registered disinfectants or antibacterial products. After using a disinfectant, use a water rinse to wipe away potentially irritating chemical residue before your baby’s skin comes into contact with it.
The changing table is a key germ hot spot where germs are transferred from the diaper to baby’s skin. I suggest developing a quick, mess-free changing routine, and keeping supplies handy in your dedicated changing area. Getting rid of diapers in a hygienic fashion to keep germs sealed away is a crucial step. One way to do this is to use a diaper pail that features antimicrobial protection to inhibit odor-causing bacteria (like the Diaper Genie Elite).
Another key hot spot lies in your little one’s toy bin. Sanitize the toys your child regularly plays with every few days or once a week. To kill germs on toys, use a disinfectant followed by a quick water wipe down with a clean rag, paper towel or tap water.
Keeping the laundry area clean is another important factor in maintaining a clean nursery. Laundry that has come in contact with bodily fluids can harbor great quantities of bacteria and even spread them to clean clothes through normal washing cycles. I recommend using a separate hamper in the nursery specifically for heavily soiled baby laundry. These clothes should be washed using hot water, which will help prevent bacteria from spreading in the wash.
Maintaining a germ-free nursery can become second nature for any mom with the right knowledge and tools. I encourage you to incorporate these tips into your nursery cleaning routine.
Dr. Tanner has partnered with Playtex Diaper Genie Elite to help spread information about maintaining clean habits in baby’s habitat.
For more information and tips on maintaining a germ free nursery from Dr. Tanner, visit