Spring has well and truly arrived.
It’s great to be enjoying the outdoors again in warmer weather with our little ones and having more light at the end of the day. Our family spends a fair bit of time outdoors, walking dogs, feeding animals at the farm and playing in parks. After a wet winter, your buggy may look like it has been spending a bit of time itself playing in mud puddles. We like having a clean buggy. It doesn’t take long for your prized buggy to go from show room condition to, ‘my goodness, let’s hide that mud splattered, food encrusted buggy well out of sight!’
Never fear though as with a bit of cleaning magic and a few general maintenance tips, you’ll have it looking sparkling again. I’m not promising ‘just left the shop’ condition, but certainly less a few raisins and biscuit smears. They don’t call it spring cleaning for nothing so there’s no time like the present. Get set to have a clean buggy!
Clean buggy – Mud?
If you’ve been trekking through muddy conditions, a puddle is never too far away from the car park. A few quick wheelies does wonders for the getting the worst off before you load it away in your car. Not a very scientific tip to start off I know, but it does help! Alternatively, brush the dirt off the wheels and the frame with a stiff brush when you get home.
Sea salt is very damaging to metal frames and working mechanisms. It gets in the crevices and causes rust. For a clean buggy, I would always recommend giving the frame and fabric a quick hose off after being near the sea. You’ll also have to dust off the sand that little one has managed to drag back into the buggy. This is so the sand doesn’t get into working parts causing friction and damage.
If you’ve been caught in the rain (or you’re following my blog and have just washed your buggy), place the buggy in an area to thoroughly dry. Sunlight is best or second best is a heated room. Never leave a wet buggy folded up in your car as it won’t dry there and it won’t smell that great either. Also, remember to hang the wet rain cover up to dry before you pack it away again.
If you’ve bought a top notch buggy (like the type the smart people at phil and teds manufacture), then it should be constructed of durable fabric. You will still need to look after it though! You can clean the surface mud and grime with warm water and a cloth, using mild soap such as sunlight soap. Never use any bleach or harsh chemicals that may perish the fabric or be poisonous to your little one – yes they all lick various parts of buggies. We like to use a very weak solution of water and tea tree oil after cleaning (5 drops to 500mls). It freshens the buggy and tea tree oil has natural antibacterial properties.
Baby wipes also work wonders for cleaning up food spills as they occur. It’s much easier to get the worst off at the time rather than wait until it is a big clean up job. If you have a major spill in your buggy (think of a child with an upset stomach), then sometimes the best solution is to take the buggy outside and give it a hose. Our little one was sick in a shopping mall recently and luckily he was in our p&t smart buggy as once we got it home, it came up good as new with a water blast!
Buggy Liners & Sleeping Bags
We use a sheepskin liner in our buggy. It looks great, keeps our little one warm in winter and cool in summer. It’s easy to remove to vacuum or wash using a mild wool detergent – for a clean buggy. You’ll find that if you use a comb once it’s dried, it pulls the pile up well. Liners are great as you can vacuum them quickly to pick up the many raisins and biscuit crumbs. Better still, if you have a fabric liner, you can toss it in the washing machine on a gentle cycle and it can do all the work for you.
A clean buggy also includes cleaning all accessories. Remember to include your sleeping bags or buggy blankets as part of your spring clean. If you’re lucky enough to own the plush sleeping bag type ones such as those sold by p&t, follow the care instructions on the label. I made a buggy sleeping bag out of an old wet weather jacket. It is easy to just toss it in the washing machine to give it a clean. When you have the liner or sleeping bag out, it’s a great opportunity to check the condition of the harness and make sure it is still the correct fit/length for your rapidly growing little one.
You should check the pressure of your tyres regularly. Your buggy should come with an instruction manual which states the correct pressure limits. Eg: our p&t Explorer’s buggy tyres should be 20-22 psi. Tyres naturally lose air gradually through use and through being exposed to warm temperatures such as those found in car boots. Your buggy will be easier to push and manoeuvre when tyres are pumped up to the correct pressure. The tread will also last much longer. If you do a lot of walking with you buggy, you will need to replace the tyres every few years. They do wear over time and the thinner the tyre, the greater the risk of a puncture. You can purchase a tyre pump from your local bike shop or buggy manufacturer.
Oily & Moving bits
Now I know that we aren’t’ all mechanics but you are actually capable of giving your buggy a quick once over. Look for any loose nuts or bolts and tighten where possible. Buy a general purpose silicone lubricant, such as CRC, and apply to the wheel bearing area and other moving mechanisms. It’s easier to access by removing the wheels first. Check that the break on your buggy is firm and works efficiently. If not, book it in for a service as safety is paramount. A service of your buggy will also give you’re the opportunity to replace any worn parts. These could be: locks, snap fasteners, tyres, plastic parts and moving parts. Also, remember to look at the condition of the safety harness. Always check with your local buggy retailer, they’ll tell you where you can get this done.
Happy buggy pushing folks. Get out there and enjoy our beautiful country with your little ones.