How to Clean a Bounce House in 5 Easy Steps

Cleaning your kid's bounce house is an easy process: 

  • Vacuum the bounce house
  • Spray dirty spots with cleaner
  • Scrub with a soft brush
  • Rinse and pat dry any leftover cleaner
  • Dry the bounce house before storing

Cleaning a residential bounce house takes 15-20 minutes.  The longest part is letting the unit dry which could take a few hours.

In this article, we'll go over each step in detail.  We'll also cover how to remove mold from tough spots and reveal our secret cleaning formula as well as favorite cleaning products.

Why Cleaning A Bounce House Is Important


Regularly cleaning a bounce house will increase the longevity of the play structure for years.  Here's why: 

#1: Dirt and debris can damage the fabric and stitches of the bounce house.  Why?  Because dirt is abrasive.  When the fabric stretches and pulls, the dirt wears it down just a bit.

#2: Dirt and debris also cause mold growth because they carry moisture.  When you store the bouncy castle without cleaning, that moisture helps the mold grow.  It's not as bad as storing it wet from rain.  But over time, that moisture has an effect

When maintaining a bounce house, the majority of the work comes down to cleaning it. It may seem like a big feat considering the size, but cleaning inflatables is actually pretty easy.  Trust us, we've cleaned them hundreds of times when we ran our business!

Inspection

You'll want to quickly inspect the bouncer before and after a party or play date.  Just make sure once the kids are done, you leave the bounce house fully inflated.  Here's what you're looking (and smelling) for:

  • Dust
  • Mold and mildew
  • Funky Smells
  • Tears in the fabric

You'll want to do the inspection before the kids start running around and playing.  You don't have to spend 15 minutes doing this.  Just a quick visual check is good enough.

Bounce House Cleaning Supplies

Inflatable castles are not picky with what they get cleaned with.  You just don't want to use hard cleaners like bleach, bathroom products and solvents.  They can degrade the the fabric and children playing on the bouncer will inevitably come in contact with those chemicals. No matter how hard you scrub and dry, you may miss a spot. 

Cleaning a bounce house requires a special liquid.  Oh great, another chemical to store in the house right?  Not really, bounce house cleaning formula is made from regular household items.

Our Secret Bounce House Cleaning Formula

The 300 year old family recipe revealed!


In a pale or spray bottle, combine the following ingredients:

  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 2-3 drops of dish soap

Shake or stir and get to cleaning!

  • Pro Tip: If you're using a spray bottle that can't fit 4 cups, keep  the water-to-vinegar ratio of 3:1 

​Missing any of these supplies?

Here are our recommendations:

Spray Bottles

These are commercial-grade and come in a three pack.  They're a good value purchase.

Dish Soap

We've found that Dawn cuts grime the best.  The dish soap will help lift the dirt from the fabric and whisk it off.

Vinegar

Any regular distilled white vinegar will do, no need for the gourmet stuff!

Next, you'll want to get all the tools and supplies out ready.  Here's the minimum of what you'll need.  If you're missing anything, we provide product recommendations at each step:

  • The cleaning formula from above
  • Broom or small brush (ex from a hand dustpan set)
  • Vacuum cleaner and enough electrical cord
  • Soft bristle brush for scrubbing
  • Several clean rags
  • Optional: a leaf blower

Cleaning Mold Off A Bounce House

If you've found mold spots on the bounce house, you'll need something more aggressive to remove it. 

When there's mold, it's ok to use bleach.  Make sure you limit the use of bleach only on the small moldy patch.  Bleach will fade the colors of the fabric.  However, because the mold may already have degraded the color, the damage is already done.  Applying the bleach will at least remove the mold.

We recommend a solution of 50% bleach and 50% water mixed in a spray bottle.

  • Pro Tip 1: Clean the moldy area with the regular formula before applying the bleach
  • Pro Tip 2: Rinse the bleach off several times with a rag and water.  If you leave the bleach there, it will spread to other spots on the bouncer when you store it.

Now that you're armed with your cleaning formula, time to give that bounce house a good cleaning!

Step 1 - Vacuum

After all the party-goers have left, it's time to get started. The first thing to remember is to keep the bounce house inflated. It's easier to clean the nooks, crannies and seams when you can dig into them rather than lifting up folds of a deflated bounce house.

Now, you might be thinking whether you're too heavy to go in the inflatable castle to vacuum.  After all, don't the instructions clearly state "for children only"? As long as you're not jumping around, the bounce house will survive your weight. Just be gentle as you move around and clean.​

Before you get down to the nitty-gritty of vacuuming, you'll want to give the bounce house a good sweep. This is the quickest way to remove the majority of the dirt and debris.

Any sort of broom will work, however, the handy size of a brush from a hand dustpan is the best.  

We recommend a small brush because in some bounce houses, fitting a full-size broom may be a challenge.

  • Pro Tip: Leaf blowers make quick work of any dust or twigs the kids may have brought in.  Plus, they're fun for adults to use!

Once all the large debris is blown or sucked out, it's time for the vacuum cleaner to come out.  Use the dusting brush to pick up any dirt in the bounce house.  Make sure you push the head into seams to pick up the dirt lodged deep in there.  That's usually where mold builds up.

Step 2 - Spray

Once all the large debris is blown or sucked out, the next step to cleaning a bounce house is spraying it down with cleaner.

This step is pretty simple: spray down one panel at a time and scrub (next step).  Once you're done with one spot, go to the next.

  • There's a reason you need to clean one panel at a time.  If you spray everything down right away, cleaning formula might begin in the seams pooling as it drips.  This will invite mold in the long run.  At the very least, it'll increase your drying time.

If you've found any mold, this is where you'll want to use bleach.  Use the minimum required for the job as it will decolor the fabric.  Once you're done with the bleach, make sure you use cleaning formula over it to rinse it out.

Step 3 - Scrub

You can use almost any sort of rag, however, a soft bristle brush works best.  We like brushes with a good grip and enough distance between your fingers and the bristles.  Something like this works best: 

The reason we like this particular one is because of the handle.  It lets you really get into every nook and cranny.  It's also less tiring for your hand since you're gripping something round instead of the square of a traditional brush.  This little ergonomic push will save you tons of time.

When you're scrubbing, make sure to get deep into the seams and stitching.  Apply just enough pressure to get the dirt to lift. Pushing too hard down will cause unnecessary wear and tear on the inflatable bouncer. ​

Step 4 - Rinse And Pat Dry

After scrubbing, you’re ready to rinse and pat dry.  You'll want to have several on hand for this.  Amazon Basics offers the best value rag here:

Start with the vertical areas and remove most of the moisture with the rags.  For the flat surfaces, spray the cleaning formula on any loose dirt and pat dry with rags.  The goal is to remove the dirt and cleaning formula to accelerate the drying process.  

You're probably tired of reading it by now, but pay attention to the stitches.  Get in there with your rags and dry them as much as you can.​

Warning: We don't recommend hosing down the bounce house. It's not necessary and it'll take forever to fully dry out. Soaking a bouncer will also fade the colors prematurely.

Step 5 - Drying

Now that the inflatable play structure is clean, it needs to completely dry out before storage.  This is the easiest part of the process.  Simply leave the bounce house inflated and let it dry naturally.  On a sunny day, a bounce house will dry in 3 to 4 hours.

  • Pro Tip: You can accelerate the drying process with a leaf blower.

Side Note: need some ideas for more bounce house fun?

Make sure your kids don't get bored of the same old bounce house games  and check out these 5 tips to increase bounce house fun!

​Conclusion

​Cleaning a bounce house should be done at regular intervals.  Of course, this depends on how long it is used a time and how many kids played in it at once. After a birthday party or full day of playing, you should give the bounce house a full cleaning.  However, if you only set it up for an hour of play with your kids, it can likely be stored without a cleaning.

Use good judgement as overcleaning will cause premature wear on the fabric and seams.

Bonus - Industry Secret


​Oh you're still reading?  We'll reward you with a little industry secret!

In all our years of operating an inflatable bounce house business, you'd be surprised to hear what simplest and easiest cleaning method is: household wipes.  They leave just the right amount of cleaner, scrub dirt off and disinfect the fabric.  Here are the ones we used:

Whichever ones you use, just make sure they're the ones without bleach in them.​ Actually, these are the specific ones we used:

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