How to Clean Camping Chairs: Get Rid of Dirt, Tough Stains, and Extend the Life of Your Chairs!

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Did you just return from an epic camping trip, with nights under the stars by a crackling fire? Are your camp chairs a total mess now? We know the feeling, and we have some great ways to clean camping chairs and get them looking like new.

Whether you just got back from a nice outdoor trip or are planning your next epic adventure at this very moment, this guide will help you figure out how to clean camp chairs, no matter what kind of material or mess!

If you are a genuine outdoors lover like we are, I bet you don’t go on any adventure without your favorite camping chair. Whether it’s an overnight stay at the beach, hiking in the mountains, camping at your favorite campground campsite, or just enjoying a campfire in your backyard, your camp chair is always there to provide you comfort and help you enjoy your outdoor activities.

Having a camping chair is hundred percent convenient. However, it’s an inevitable fact that they easily get dirty too. Getting them cleaned may sound like a hassle, but it’s actually easy with the right methods.

Below you can find some tips on how to clean camp chairs along with some tricks to help you make them look brand new as well!

Products You’ll Need:

Choose one of these campsites can be found scattered throughout the Finger Lakes National Forest
Set up your tent and camp chairs around the fire ring for a relaxing getaway. We did!

How to Clean Camp Chairs: An Overview

There are several different ways to clean camp chairs since some have removable fabrics while others do not. If your chair has thick cushions, you also have to be sure not to soak the padding because it can take a long time to dry and the lingering moisture can cause mildew.

The best way to start cleaning your camp chair is to dry it out under direct sunlight. Sunlight provides a low-cost and natural way of sanitizing. It can kill germs and bacteria and weaken the presence of mold and mildew in your chair.

If you have bright sunshine today, it’s the perfect time to put your chairs out. Let chairs sit in the sun for at least four to six hours. Once dry, you can use a soft-bristle brush to remove loose dirt and any debris.

After your chair is all cleaned up, you also have to make sure to completely dry it out before storing it in a warm place to prevent further build-up of mold and mildew.

backcountry campsite in Voyageurs National Park that includes a fire ring, bear pole, and tent spot
A night spent around a fire by a lake can be extremely peaceful, but clean camping chairs between uses so you don’t attract critters!

Read More: How to Clean Your Tent When It Has Mold Or Mildew

Different Camp Chair Cleaning Methods

Your camp chairs need to be cleaned from time to time to make sure they’re in tip-top shape and that you’ll be able to use them for years to come. You can use any of these cleaning methods and try out which one works best for you.

Hand Washing or Washing Machine

If your camp chair has removable fabric, check the label to see if it can be machine washed or if it needs to be hand-washed. If it can be machine washed, use a gentle cycle and mild detergent.

To avoid damaging the fabric, consider putting it in a laundry bag, as well.

If the canvas needs to be hand-washed, you can fill a sink or tub with warm water and soap and let the fabric soak. After a few minutes, scrub it gently or use a soft brush to remove the dirt and stains.

Whichever method you use, remember to let the fabric dry under the sun after rinsing it thoroughly. This will not only avoid mold and mildew but prevent unpleasant odors too.


Vinegar is known for having amazing nontoxic cleaning properties that can fight mold and mildew in fabrics and on other surfaces. You can dilute it with water to lessen the smell, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

Put the vinegar in a spray bottle and apply the spray to the dirty parts of the chair, then use a sponge to rub the area clean.

If there’s a tough stain that refuses to be lifted, soak the area with vinegar for a few hours and then rub baking soda on top of it.

If you are worried that the smell will stick to your chair, you can wash it again with mild dish soap, rinse it with warm water, and then let it dry under the sun.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is an effective stain remover that can be used to remove a variety of stains from camping chairs.

To use baking soda, sprinkle it on the spot and let it sit for at least a few minutes. Then spray water on top and scrub with a brush to remove the stain.

This method works best when the stain is still fresh. Older stains may require a lot more effort to remove.

For tougher stains, apply baking soda to the spot and let it sit for a longer period of time before scrubbing with a brush.

Rinse off with warm water afterward to ensure all of the baking soda has been removed.

Baking soda is an affordable and easy way to keep your camping chairs and other equipment looking their best without having to resort to harsh chemicals or expensive cleaning products.

Hydrogen Peroxide (Solution)

Hydrogen peroxide is not only ideal for disinfecting and removing odors, but it’s great for eliminating food and grass stains.

Like rubbing alcohol, you must test it first to make sure that it won’t cause any damage to your camp chair’s fabric.

Mix 1/3 cup of hydrogen peroxide with 2/3 cup of water and put it in a spray bottle. Spray it on the stain and let it soak for 10-15 minutes, then use a towel to wipe away excess moisture.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is also an effective cleaning solution for camp chairs. However, it’s definitely best to test them first on a small part of the chair off to the side or on the bottom to make sure it won’t cause discoloration on the fabric.

After spraying the rubbing alcohol on your chair, all you have to do is to let it dry under the sun. This method is easy, but you might need to repeat the process several times if your chair has severe stains.

Specialty Cleaning Products

If you are not into using home remedies to solve your dirt, mold, and mildew dilemmas, you can also use store-bought solutions such as Star Brite Mold Stain & Mildew Stain Remover.

It’s complete with surfactants, chelating agents, and buffered bleach to eliminate mold and mildew, lift grease, and remove dirt.

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning is one of the easiest and quickest ways to remove dirt buildup on your camping chairs. The concentrated heat or steam is effective in killing off any kind of germs and bacteria in the fabric.

For this cleaning method, use a portable fabric steamer, and simply aim the nozzle at your chair’s dirty spots.

Camp food, like salads, hot dogs, burgers, and mountain pies, can be delicious, but messy. You'll need to clean your camping chairs regularly.
We love our camp food just as much as anyone, but sometimes, it can be messy!

Easily Remove Sticky Residue from Your Camp Chairs

Got stains from tree sap, bird droppings, or, most likely, food?

Scrape the residue off with a butter knife or a disposable utensil and use the following methods below to effectively deal with these sticky stains and get your chair spotless again.

Ice and Cold Water

Ice is best to use for non-greasy spots like tomato stains. You just have to rub the ice on the stained surface, and it works like magic.

You can also dip a cloth in cold water and use it to rub the stain out.

Another use for ice: it also helps to remove a wad of gum stuck to any fabric. Just leave some ice sitting on the gum for about 20 minutes, and then you should be able to scrape the wad from the fabric with a credit card or butter knife.

Shampoo and Dishwashing Liquid

For grease stains, you can try using dishwashing liquid or shampoo.

Pour on a little dishwashing liquid and scrub the stained area or let the shampoo sit on the stain for at least 20 minutes before washing it off with warm water.

Dishwashing liquid is great for grease! It’s made to remove grease from dishes anyway, so it can certainly also remove those stains from your camp chairs.

Mineral Oil

Mineral oil works well in removing tree saps and, at the same time, protecting the metal parts of your chairs from rust.

Dip a rag or sponge in mineral oil, apply it to your chair, and then rinse it with hot water right away.

Nail Polish Remover

Nail polish remover can dissolve sticky stains and repels mosquitoes too!

Be sure to test it first to make sure that it won’t cause any damage to your camp chair’s fabric.

Put a generous amount of it on the stained area, let it sit, and rub it away after.

How to Clean Bird Droppings from Your Fabric Chair

When removing these stubborn and inconvenient gifts left by birds flying overhead, you’ll want to jump on them as early as possible.

First, you’ll need to wipe off the loose droppings as much as you can with whatever you have. Whether that’s the closest stick or a rock on the ground, just get rid of as much as you can

After that, you’ll need to mix a solution of warm water and dish soap. Dip a cloth in the solution and scrub the area gently.

Once you’re done, rinse off the area with clean water and let it air dry. Good as new!

When to Clean Camp Chairs

When it comes to cleaning camping chairs, the best time to do so is right after each use. Cleaning your camping chairs regularly will keep them in optimal condition and extend their life.

It’s also a great way to avoid any bacteria or dirt from building up on the fabric over time, which could lead to a whole host of other problems! You don’t want to expose yourself or your family to any unnecessary bacteria or mold.

Depending on the type of fabric used on your particular camping chair, you may need different cleaning techniques or products.

For instance, if your chair is made with plastic material then using a mild detergent and warm water should be enough to wipe away any germs or debris that might have accumulated during your camping trip.

On the other hand, if your camping chair is made from cloth or fabric material then a mixture of soap and warm water or other cleaning solution we’ve mentioned here can be used with either a brush or a soft cloth to ensure all dirt and dust particles are removed completely.

You’ll also need to consider where your camp chairs were last used. If they were exposed to saltwater spray, you’ll want to get that salt off ASAP. It can cause a lot of corrosion, and your chairs can lose a lot of life that way.

Just by being mindful of when you clean your camping chair – right after each use – you’ll be able to maintain its hygiene and comfort, ensuring that you get years of enjoyment out of your investment!

Quick Tips to Maintain Camping Chairs

Now that you have an idea of how to clean camp chairs, you also have to know how to maintain them. Here are a few tips you should take note of:

  • As you camp, be aware of the spot where you’ll be placing your chairs. Position them away from sap-dripping trees as much as possible.
  • Most camping chairs have storage bags. Use them whenever your camp chair is not in use. It’s an easy way to tidy them up and keep them safe and clean when in storage.
  • A fabric protector spray will make your camp chair water-resistant and protect it against stains, molds, and mildew.
Be sure to clean camping chairs after every few uses, after they've been sitting around these fires!

How to Store Your Outdoor Chairs

One of the most important steps in maintaining your outdoor camping chairs is how they are stored.

When your camping trip is over, you’ll want to store your outdoor chairs in a way that keeps them protected from the elements, and ready for use when you need them next.

First, make sure your chairs are totally dry and check for any dirt or debris before folding them up.

If you find items lodged in parts of the chair, take a little bit of warm water and mild soap solution and dab on it lightly with a soft brush or cloth. Again, make sure they are completely dry before moving on to the next step!

Then, fold up the chairs nicely and neatly and store them in their carry bag. You can also use another plastic bag or box if the original bag has been damaged or lost. 

If possible, try to store your camping chairs indoors in an area that has good air circulation. This will help avoid mildew growth and will help keep out moisture so you can use them again for many more future trips!

Essentials to Use in Cleaning Camp Chairs

Cleaning camping chairs is not as difficult as you might think, especially if you have the right cleaning tools. Before you start dealing with those stains, mold, and mildew, make sure that you are ready and fully equipped with everything you need.

Here are some highly recommended items that will help you clean, and at the same time, maintain your camping chairs. Do not think twice and check them out today!

Keeping your camping chairs clean may seem like an unnecessary task, but with the proper tools and techniques, it can be achieved with relative ease.

If you don’t know how to clean them properly, those camp chairs won’t last long.

Luckily, following these steps can help keep them functioning well and looking great so you can enjoy your time spent outdoors without worrying about attracting pests or worse with your dirty chair.

By learning how to spot clean spills and stains, give the material a deep cleaning every once in a while, and store them properly when not in use, you’ll have camping chairs that look as good as new for many happy outdoor trips to come!