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Removing Food Stains from Your Busy Baby Mat

Removing Food Stains from Your Busy Baby Mat

What is food-grade silicone?

As parents, we’re saving the world, one diaper at a time. But we also face lots of pressure to save the environment and we’re given an assortment of sustainable baby products to choose from.

Whether we’re shopping for diapers, bibs, or bottles…we’re encouraged to be more conscious about the impact daily products have on the world and our baby’s health.

With environmental safety and health at the forefront, you’ll find that more products are being made of silicone. Silicone is a unique rubber that is used for a variety of consumer, health, and industrial applications. It’s often referred to as food-grade or medical grade, but both types of silicone offer the benefits of being non-toxic, durable, and versatile.

What’s the difference between these silicone types?

Each type of silicone has its own set of regulations set by the FDA; standards that overall support health, safety, and the environment.

Although their names are pretty much self-explanatory… “medical” grade silicone isn’t just used by your baby’s pediatrician. This type of silicone is made specifically for products and devices that are used inside or outside the body; such as implants, baby bottle nipples, menstrual cups, mouth guards, and more.

On the other hand, food-grade silicone isof courseused for products that meet food. 

Companies are finding new and innovative ways to use food-grade silicone for producing everything from cookware to Tupperware, to bibs, teethers, and even some breast pumps!

Not only is food-grade silicone safer, but it’s also extremely durable and lightweight. And we know it’s the perfect material for Busy Babies and Busy Moms alike.

While food-grade has a long list of benefits, there is one drawback. Using food-grade silicone with certain foods or ingredients can stain the material, sometimes permanently. 

What stains food-grade silicone mats?

Ironically enough…food can stain food-grade silicone! If your Busy Baby loves Italian or Indian food, you may have a little extra work ahead of you.

Any foods with tomato sauce, pesto, or turmeric can cause stains; depending on the color of your mat. Oil and flavor residue can also remain on the mats surface if it isn’t thoroughly cleaned after use.

Now…if you’ve already planned spaghetti for dinner tonight, don’t ditch your mat just yet. All you’ll need to do is put a little extra elbow grease into cleaning it after dinner.

What’s the best way to remove stains from food-grade silicone mats? 

Lucky for you...we’ve already done the footwork and tested a few different cleaning solutions on the mat. (And yeswe tested all 6 colors!)

 

Although we LOVE Dawn Dish soap as a regular cleaning agent, it doesn’t quite cut it when it comes to removing stains on our food-grade silicone mat.

Instead, we found out that creating a paste of out of water (or hydrogen peroxide) and baking soda does the trick.

And to top it off, creating your own cleaning mixture at home saves you money and is actually pretty simple!

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Grab a bowl for mixing
  2. Hydrogen Peroxide and baking soda to create a thick paste. We recommend using twice as much baking soda, as there is liquid. If the paste isn’t getting thick, add a little more baking soda to make it thicker.
  3. Once your paste is at a good consistency, rub it on the mat and let it soak for 10-20 minutes (the longer the better!)
  4. Rinse the mat off under hot water and let your mat air dry

If you’re still seeing stains on your mat afterward, simply rinse and repeat, but let the paste sit longer.  

 

The results are in! 

We’ve tested several different stain-causing foods on every color of our mat and found that most stains came out after following the steps above.

 Here’s what happened when we tried cleaning each color with the baking soda paste:

  • Yellow & Pewter – ALL the stains were easily removed
  • Pink, Spearmint, & Blue – The turmeric stains remained, but all others were removed
  • “OG” Orange – The orange mat never stained, no matter what we put on it. So, we’ve secretly named this our “OG” mat.

Moral of the story… turmeric stains are the hardest to remove. So, you may want to skip this ingredient in your next recipe OR grab an orange mat if you can’t resist it!

Does your baby have a favorite food that always stains their mat? Or do you have another cool way to clean your mat at home? 

Share your recipes and your cleaning success stories with us on Instagram @busybabymat! 

 

Protecting Your Busy Baby (& their mat) Against Harsh Surface Cleaners

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 usefront & 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...

  1. 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!)
  2. 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. 
  3. Once you get home, wash the mat with Dawn dish soap and hot water
  4. 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.

  1. 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.)
  2. The surface has to be smooth.  Some tables and trays have texture to them, which also makes the suction less 'sucky'.  
  3. 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. 
  4. 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!










New Ways to Protect Your Baby from Public Surface Germs

New Ways to Protect Your Baby from Public Surface Germs

 

Let’s talk about germs.

As a parent, your busy baby puts you in some unique situations. From eating off the floor, to sucking on shopping cart handles, to putting ALL the things in their mouths... they keep you on your toes and more cautious about germs.

Preventing the spread of germs is a big part of the daily routine that keeps your baby safe and healthy. 

While parents aren’t new to germs, the recent spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), has increased the level of germ awareness across the globe. 

According to the CDC, the virus typically spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets that are transmitted from coughing, sneezing, or talking. Due to its composition, the virus can live on various surfaces for several days. Although more research is being done to find out how the virus spreads, health experts have found that coming into contact with contaminated surface areas can lead to contracting the illness.    

As a result, health experts recommend cleaning surface areas as often and thoroughly as possible. But this can be challenging to do, especially when you have a busy baby to keep up with.

While it’s important to clean the surfaces in your home and in public, adding the Busy Baby Mat to your daily routine puts an extra barrier between your baby and any lingering germs.

 

For extra precaution, always disinfect surface areas before putting the mat down for your baby to enjoy. This can help prevent surface germs from sticking to the bottom of your mat. 

The CDC recently shared that using soap and water is the first step to disinfecting soft surfaces against the coronavirus. So, if you're using the mat at home, you can’t go wrong with using good old-fashioned soap and water to clean surfaces beforehand. 

However, if you’re planning to take your baby for a trip outdoors, you may want to bring along a surface cleaner with a little more kick. There are several products you can try to get the job done. In fact, the U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a list of over 300 disinfecting products you can use in your home. Many of these products can also be used on public surface areas, while you're on the go. 

When choosing a cleaner, you’ll want to check the label to make sure it can take care of bacteria and viruses that live on soft surfaces. Health experts also suggest using environmentally friendly cleaners that don’t have lots of harsh chemicals.

Once you’ve got your ideal cleaning product, you can use it to wipe down tables, highchairs, travel systems, or any other smooth surface before placing your mat down. We also recommend cleaning surfaces in these specific ways to ensure your baby’s safety:

Skip the baby wipes. 

Although tempting, baby wipes aren’t strong enough to destroy deadly surface germs. However, you can still use them for your baby or to wipe down washable marker residue off your mat. They also work great to improve suction. Simply wipe down the suction cups and the surface before you put down the mat.

Swipe right (or left).

If you’re using alcohol or ammonia-based wipes, the CDC recommends you practice the wipe-discard-wipe method. Contrary to popular belief, wiping a surface in circular motions moves germs around, rather than removing them completely. You can remove more surface germs by wiping in one direction, tossing the wipe, and wiping the surface once more. 

If you’re short on wipes, just remember...a contaminated wipe shouldn’t be passed over an area that has just been wiped. Instead, try folding the contaminated wipe after each swipe. This offers a new surface for each swipe. 

Spray and slay.

If you’re using a disinfectant spray, the CDC recommends the spray-wipe-spray method. Letting the disinfectant sit for a few moments gives it time to destroy existing germs. Wipe the germs away and spray the surface area once more to kill off any remaining germs. 

Air-dry, then give it a try.

After wiping or spraying away any germs, always wait another few seconds for the surface area to dry. The suctions on the back of your mat work best on dry surfaces. Once dry, place your mat down and let your busy baby have at it!  

Clean it again—yes, again.

When you're all done, don’t forget to clean the mat once more—especially if you’re using it in a public space. Use your disinfectant to quickly wipe it off from front to back. Then roll it up and put it in its sleeve.

If you’re using it home, you can stick to using soap and water or toss it in your dishwasher. 

For added germ protection, you can also place your mat in a large zip lock bag if you plan to store it in a bag in between uses. However, zip lock bags aren’t necessary to maintain cleanliness. The mat’s sleeve is the perfect barrier against germs all on its own. 

Speaking of the sleeve...don’t forget to wash that too! You can hand wash it or machine wash it every few uses.

Now...if you’re not doing this already, these added steps may seem a little overwhelming. 

And you're 100% right. 

Being more conscious of germs and taking the extra steps to clean everything your baby encounters takes work.

But we know you’re willing to go the extra mile to keep your baby germ free. And we’re certain that, after putting these steps into practice, the added precautions will start to become a normal part of keeping your baby happy and healthy. 

Other than cleaning surface germs...what are some other ways you and your busy baby are staying safe at home during COVID-19? 

Tag us on Instagram @busybabymat and share your story with us. We can’t wait to hear it! 

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