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How to clean a pram: 9 tried-and-tested tips from Mumsnet users

From muddy puddles to snack crumbs and spilt milk, pushchairs get put through their paces on a daily basis. But how to clean a pram? We’ve rounded up top tips from Mumsnetters to blitz bacteria and restore your hood, seat and chassis to their former glory.

By Lucy Cotterill | Last updated Dec 4, 2023

Muddy pram

Of all the essential baby products to buy, a pushchair is one that will certainly get regular use. As a result, your once shiny and pristine pushchair can very quickly become dirty and dull.

Whether it’s muddy wheels and a dirty chassis, or a pushchair seat that's had to deal with poonamis, sunscreen smears, juice spills, baby food splodges and a steady supply of biscuit crumbs, it doesn’t take long before you need to give your baby’s pram a well deserved clean. A dirty pram can harbour germs and bacteria so it’s important to keep things as clean as possible at all times.

Unfortunately, very few pushchairs, prams or strollers come with detailed instructions on how to clean them. But worry not. Thanks to knowledgeable parents on the Mumsnet forums, we’ve gathered nine tips on how to clean a pram, all tried and tested by Mumsnetters.

The best way to clean a pram, by parents for parents

1. Remove crumbs and loose debris 

Before you start cleaning your pushchair, use a vacuum cleaner or a small fabric brush to remove loose debris like snack crumbs and dried-on mud from the seat and basket. It’s recommended to do this outside on a dry day, tipping the whole pushchair upside down if you can, to get deep into the corners, nooks and crannies.

Read next: The best pushchairs, as tried and tested by parents

2. Remove fabric to machine wash where possible

Some pushchairs have fabric sections like seat supports and hoods that can be fully removed or unzipped, allowing you to pop them in the washing machine or clean them via a gentle hand wash. Once washed, lie them flat to dry to ensure they retain their shape or carefully hang them out in the sunlight to dry. Sunlight can also help lighten stubborn stains.

What Mumsnet users say

“Most buggies can be stripped of their fabric covers. I’ve stripped all material off them and machine washed that, then used Milton solution on the body of the buggy.” - suggested by Mumsnet user, justforthisnow 

“Depending on the model, there are quite often videos on YouTube showing you how to take the covers off to put them in the washing machine.” - recommended by Mumsnet user, BikeRunSki 

Read next: The best travel systems, according to Mumsnetters

3. Use a steam cleaner

If the fabric of the seat and shoulder pads can not be removed from the frame, you may want to consider using a steam cleaner to help lift dirt and grime while the fabric is still attached to the chassis. If you don’t have one, it’s well worth checking out our guide to the best steam cleaners featuring tried-and-tested product recommendations from Mumsnetters. Or you can look to hire one for a small fee.

What Mumsnet users say

“If you have a place nearby you could hire a steam cleaner for getting any actual dirt removed” - suggested by Mumsnet user, ivykaty44 

Read next: The best lightweight strollers to buy

Hand with a rubber glove holding a cleaning spray

4. Tackle stubborn stains with bicarbonate of soda 

Some stains can be hard to shift and require more than a little elbow grease and determination. If your pushchair has dealt with unwanted spills like milk or urine, you may experience stains and odours that hang around. Using a bicarbonate of soda solution is a great way to tackle these kinds of marks. You can either add bicarbonate of soda to a wash or use it to scrub things down by hand. Not only can it neutralise odours and musty smells, but it can help lift stains that a first wash might leave behind.

What Mumsnet users say

“Bicarbonate of soda solution - always treat milk spills with this straight away.” - advice from Mumsnet user, HopeClearwater

“I advise bunging it through the wash with some bicarbonate of soda - it’s amazing for killing odours. Or even better soak it in bicarbonate and water before you wash it.” - tip from Mumsnet user, misskatamari 

Read next: The best double buggies to buy

5. Use a toothbrush for the fiddly bits 

Getting into those intricate corners and smaller gaps between the chassis frame and wheels can be tricky. Using an (old!) toothbrush can be a great solution. It can loosen trapped grime and dirt that may otherwise get left behind.

What Mumsnet users say

“Use a toothbrush on the nooks and crannies and make sure you dry thoroughly.” - tried and tested by Mumsnet user, Danikm151

Read next: The best baby carriers, as tested by parents

6. Shift mould with vinegar spray 

Finding mould on a pushchair you’ve kept in storage is far from ideal. Not only can it look unsightly, but the spores can be unhygienic for your baby too. It’s important to tackle mould stains as soon as you spot them, using vinegar to break down the bacteria and lift it away from the fabric.

What Mumsnet users say

“If it won't come off, try a mix of washing up liquid and distilled vinegar to wash it down with a damp cloth and then when it's dry it shouldn't smell. Vinegar kills the bacteria causing the odours.” Suggested by Mumsnet user LucaFritz

“Vinegar and water solution in a spray bottle - keep on soaking and drying the area until the smell goes.” - Tip from Mumsnet user easyandy101

Read next: The best baby carrier backpacks

Woman with a pressure washer

7. Blitz chassis dirt with a pressure washer 

If your pushchair has been fully embracing its all-terrain capabilities, gliding through puddles or navigating muddy fields and winter school runs, you may find the chassis needs a thorough clean. Using a pressure washer on a low setting can help lift and remove dried-on mud stains in seconds.

What Mumsnet users say

“I always jet wash my prams.” - recommended by Mumsnet user, JessicaPeach 

“We used a Karcher ....pram came up a treat” - advice from Mumsnet user, Kitkat151

Read next: The best baby car seats, as tried and tested by parents

8. Clean wheels with (biodegradable) baby wipes 

If the wheels are removable, you may find it easier to pop them in the sink or a large bucket and blitz them with the hosepipe. Alternatively, football boot cleaners like the Boot Buddy work well. If they can’t be removed, wipe them down with hot soapy water and use a baby wipe to get between the narrower areas.

What Mumsnet users say

“Bits that can't be removed - wash with hot soapy water. Sometimes I use a baby wipe on the wheels.” - method used by Mumsnet user, firstimemamma 

Read next: The best buggy boards for prams

9. Leave it outside to freshen up

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of fresh air and sunlight; a good airing can help reduce musty smells from storage while sunlight can act as a natural stain remover. Ideally, clean your pram in the summer months or on a mild, dry day. Leaving it outside to dry fully before folding it away can ensure that no watermarks remain from your cleaning process too.

What Mumsnet users say

“By far the best way to get rid of the fusty smell is to put the pram outside in the back garden to air then use Dettol spray, lightly over the pram, and leave outside during the day again and bring it in during the night. A couple of afternoons outside should sort out the smell” - Tip from Mumsnet user, ivykaty44

Read next: The best pram toys to buy

How to clean a pram FAQs

Can you get a pram professionally cleaned?

Yes, if you’re short on time, you can arrange to send your pram, pushchair, buggy or stroller to a professional pushchair cleaning company. This can be particularly useful if you’re looking to freshen up a pram for a second child or are looking to sell on a branded pram or travel system and want to get the best possible price for it.

A single pram clean can cost from around £35.

What Mumsnet users say

“I’ve seen a pram cleaning service advertised near me. Saves you a lot of hard work and it would get a professional clean. Should feel like new” - suggestion from Mumsnet user, Mnahmnah

What are the best products to use when cleaning a pram?

Depending on the style of the pram (and whether or not the fabric is removable) the following products are good to have to hand when cleaning your pram:

What’s the best way to quickly freshen up a pram?

The quickest and easiest way to freshen up a pram is to give it a good scrub with warm soapy water and then leave it outside to dry.

About the author

Lucy Cotterill is a mum of two and Content Writer at Mumsnet, specialising in baby/child and lifestyle product reviews and round-ups. Having written product reviews on her own blog Real Mum Reviews since 2012, Lucy loves to research and explore the pros and cons of baby products, scrutinising reviews and consumer feedback to help parents make confident purchases that benefit their families.

Originally from a HR background with a degree in Business Studies, Lucy developed a real passion for blogging and writing when her children were young, going on to write for several online publications including US parenting site Pregistry and the Evening Standard. When she’s not manically tapping the keys of her laptop, Lucy loves nothing more than to cosy up with her Kindle and enjoy the latest thriller, or compete in Nintendo Switch rallies with her daughters aged six and 10.