Protecting Your Busy Baby (& their mat) Against Harsh Surface Cleaners
The Wild, Wild, West of COVID Cleaners
Our job as parents is to do the best we can at protecting our little ones from a world full of germs. And that job has gotten a lot tougher following the onset of the coronavirus.
Now, those harmless moments of watching our babies eat off the floor or play with random household objects are filled with a lot more caution.
We think it’s safe to say that parents worry about germs ALL the time now.
And while we know all germs aren’t created equal, living during a pandemic has significantly increased the need for parents to protect their babies from deadly coronavirus germs.
As we learn more about the coronavirus, and what to do to protect our family against exposure, parents are no longer confined to keeping their littles safe at home. Venturing out to grab food or a few rays of sunshine outdoors is safe, as long as you practice physical distancing of course!
With state and local guidelines developing around health and safety, many businesses have been allowed to reopen; giving parents even more options for activities during their day.
Restaurant owners are leading the pack in finding new and creative ways to operate safely and dining in is becoming popular; amongst other activities.
With restaurant owners increasing their efforts to clean and sanitize seating areas, they must also find ways to cut costs. However, these savings often come at a price and many businesses are purchasing cleaners in bulk to keep up with new safety standards.
According to the FDA (Food & Drug Administration), restaurants in operation must frequently disinfect surfaces repeatedly touched by employees or customers. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) also offers an extensive list of acceptable cleaners to disinfect surfaces of the coronavirus pathogens. However, the list does not describe the impact these chemicals have on anyone who comes into contact with them.
Just like germs, all cleaners are not created equal.
While upping your cleaning game is never a bad idea, it’s important to realize that if you’re eating out, we’re living in the wild wild west of surface cleaners.
Even surface cleaners that have been approved by the EPA may cause adverse effects on your baby’s health if they come into contact with lingering chemicals. Ingredients like phenolic, quaternary ammonium, sodium hypochlorite, and many others are chemicals that appear frequently on the list of acceptable surface cleaners for restaurants to use.
Though the EPA has deemed these chemicals as “safe” to use for cleaning, they can still cause adverse reactions. Irritation of the eyes, skin, and the respiratory tract has been commonly associated with overexposure to surface cleaners. Be sure to keep a layer of protection between the surface and your baby!
Not only are the effects of these chemicals questionable, but they can also leave a film behind on your mat. This film may or may not be visible and can prevent the mats suctions from sticking to surfaces. In fact, we’ve found that as cleaning measures increase across the globe, so have reports of our Busy Baby mat not sticking to surfaces.
But don’t worry, because we’ve figured it out.
After talking with some of our Busy Baby moms, they’ve shared that the mat sticks well before it’s used on public surfaces that have been disinfected. And to take it a little further, we’ tested this out on our own.
Should I Clean My Mat After Each Use?
Yes! Since our mat is made of food-grade silicone, it naturally attracts crumbs, dust, and lint. This is a feature of all food-grade silicone products.
It’s important to always clean your mat after each use—front & back.
It’s no secret our mats provide an added layer of protection between baby and any questionable surface. Many parents have shared that our Busy Baby Mat gives them peace of mind in their fight against germs
But we’re also finding that our mat has trouble sticking to surfaces that have been cleaned with harsh chemicals.
Now that surface cleaners are being used more frequently, using your mat on a public surface is another big reason to clean your mat after use. Many surface cleaners approved by the EPA leave a film of residue behind, preventing the mats suctions from sticking. This same film stays on the mat after use and can prevent it from sticking to other surfaces in the future.
While we don’t know the exact chemical that is causing the issue, we do know that the mat always sticks better when it's clean.
What Should I Use to Clean my Mat?
As we mentioned before...all cleaners are NOT created equal. And water and soap usually do the trick. But we also know that soap and water don’t always remove the film that strong surface cleaners leave behind.
After putting our mat to the test, here’s what we found when trying to remove this pesky chemical film...
- The cleaning process should start before you place your mat down, especially if you’re out in public. Wipe down the surface with a baby wipe or Clorox wipe before using the mat to avoid the film altogether. (Alcohol wipes work too!)
- Don’t use sanitizers that include methanol. This is a deadly chemical that was recently found in a long list of hand sanitizers currently being recalled. Hand sanitizers that do not include methanol may be used to clean the mat.
- Once you get home, wash the mat with Dawn dish soap and hot water
- If your mat still has issues sticking afterward, we suggest making a paste out of water (or hydrogen peroxide) and baking soda to clean the film off the mat. To do this, you’ll want to create a thick paste made up of one part liquid and two parts baking soda. (If the paste isn’t thick, you can add a little more baking soda to make it thicker.) Once you’ve got your paste ready, rub the mixture all over the bottom of the mat and let the paste soak for 10-20 minutes before rinsing it off. Making a paste with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide will work even better!
How Else Can I Get the Mat to Suck Better?
Who doesn’t love a Busy Baby Mat that sucks? We do and we know you do too! So no matter where you’re using the mat, keep these tips in mind to get the best suction.
- The surface and the bottom of the mat must be clean. Any crumbs, dust, lint, etc will make the mats suctions less 'sucky'. The nature of food-grade silicone is to attract dust and lint. (If we used the additive that would repel those things, it would no longer be food-safe.)
- The surface has to be smooth. Some tables and trays have texture to them, which also makes the suction less 'sucky'.
- Make sure the squiggly end of the tether is plugged into the mat. The squiggles help take some of the direct pressure off of the suction cup when the baby is tugging.
- Place the tray away from your baby. The attachment points on the top of the mat are angled so that when the tethers are pulled at an angle, it’s less likely to break the suction. If you have the tray close to the baby's belly, it will be easier for them to pull it up.
As we find more ways to stay healthy and safe during these unparalleled times, we’re glad to be a part of the solution in protecting your baby against germs.
Are there other ways you like to clean your mat? Tag us on Instagram @busybabymat and show us how you clean yours!