• Cleaning: 30 – 45 Minutes
  • Drying: 1 – 2 Hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Cost: Low

Camping chairs are lightweight and portable chairs that protect you from the cold, hard, and dirty ground, offering you a more comfortable place to sit during your camping escapades. If you’re an avid camper, you’ll know that camping chairs easily get dirty.

Dirt and mud, food and drinks, and bird droppings are likely culprits. Fortunately, you can easily clean camping chairs thoroughly using a simple vinegar solution or a store-bought chair cleaner to get the gunk out. It’s simple, fast, and cost-effective!

In this guide, we’ll show you how to remove all types of stubborn stains from your camping chairs and discuss some of the most common questions related to the process. Let’s jump right in!

Cleaning Camping Chairs

Camping chairs are typically made of a plastic or metal frame, and with a nylon, polyester, or canvas fabric. Some popular types of camping chairs include foldable chairs, beach chairs, lawn chairs, spectator chairs, and stadium chairs. 

Folding camping chairs are by far the most popular since they are lightweight and easy to transport, simple, and convenient for camping. These chairs also often come with reinforced metal frames, armrests, backrests, and side pockets that offer more comfort.

However, due to the nature of camping, these chairs are prone to getting dirty very quickly. If they aren’t cleaned regularly and stored away properly after a camping trip, these stains can harden and become difficult to remove.

In addition, your camping chairs may develop mold and mildew, which can be very difficult to red rid of. If you have a camping chair and are wondering what is the best way to clean it, this guide is just what you’re looking for. Let’s get started!

What You Will Need

  • White vinegar or dedicated store-bought cleaning solution
  • Some water
  • Spray bottle
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Cleaning cloth

1. Prepare the Cleaning Solution

A vinegar solution is one of the most effective ways to remove stubborn dirt, mold, and other debris and stains from camping chairs. White vinegar is also effective in tackling mold and mildew.

However, keep in mind that vinegar contains acetic acid, which can be quite potent and can discolor certain fabrics. That is why it is important to dilute the vinegar with water to further reduce its acidity and to do a small test on an inconspicuous corner of the chair fabric before you start cleaning it in earnest.

Creating a vinegar solution is a simple process. Start by diluting ⅔ cup of vinegar with ⅓  cup of water to make an effective cleaning solution. We recommend transferring the solution to a spray bottle for easier application.

Vinegar is a natural and non-toxic alternative to cleaning chemicals but if you would prefer to opt for a dedicated store-bought cleaning solution, we recommend using Star Brite Mold & Mildew Cleaner. It’s tough on mold and mildew but gentle on the fabric. 

The triple-action, high-alkaline formula contains chelating agents and surfactants that lifts dirt and cuts grease easily. This product is specially made for outdoor upholstery and will not damage thread or stitching.

However, before using this product, we recommend you do a small spot test on the corner of the fabric to observe the results. You may also use any product that has similar ingredients and that’s suitable for your camping chair.

Important Note: Never use dark or fruit vinegar to clean fabric as that would leave a stain, best to use clear vinegar.

2. Apply the Cleaning Solution to Your Camping Chair

Make sure to unfold your camping chair fully before you start cleaning it. Grab hold of the top of the back frame and the edge of the seat and pull them apart. Then, take hold of the armrests and spread them away from each other to make sure the fabric is fully unfurled, which will make for more effective cleaning.

You might find that some parts of the chair are caked with dirt and mud. Before you start spraying, use a soft-bristled brush and brush away the clumps of mud and sand from the fabric seat, arms, and legs.

Once the chair is relatively free of dirt clumps, you can start spraying. Apply the cleaning solution evenly over all parts of the camping chair. If you’ve decided on using a vinegar-based cleaning solution, allow the solution to sit on the chair for about 10 minutes.

During this time, the vinegar will break apart the dirt particles and stain molecules. Pay careful attention to areas where the fabric is bound to the chair fabric as this is where mold and mildew have the biggest chance to grow. Therefore, ensure that these areas are properly covered by the cleaning solution.  

3. Wipe or Brush Your Camping Chair

Once you have coated the chair evenly with a cleaning solution, it’s time to give it a gentle scrub. You can use a clean rag or a soft-bristled brush to gently wipe or brush the camping chair.

Remember to pay special attention to the nooks and crannies of the chair and work the brush or cloth in. Even a small amount of dirt can cause corrosion or rot in your camping chair, which you should avoid at all costs.

If there are any stubborn stains or any area that requires more cleaning, apply more cleaning solution to the area and use a cloth or brush to work it in. Aside from the fabric, it is also important to clean the frame of the chair as well.

4. Rinse and Dry Your Camping Chair

After the dirt and stains have been removed, rinse your camping chair with water. Most camping chairs are waterproof so it will be safe to get them wet. However, if that’s a concern, you can use a clean damp cloth to wipe it down gently. 

After that, leave it unfolded and place it out to dry completely, preferably in the sun or in a ventilated room. Take note that if camping chairs are left damp, rust may develop on the frame along with mold and mildew on the fabric. 

Therefore, allowing it to dry completely helps to eliminate any lingering smells from the vinegar or dedicated cleaning solution.

5. Store Your Camping Chair

Once the camping chair is completely dry, fold it up and store it away (some camping chairs come with a storage bag). This helps to keep the chair clean and prevents the frame from bending. Proper storage can help to prolong its lifespan and ensures that it will be ready for your next camping trip! 

Removing Stubborn Stains From Camping Chairs

Camping chairs are particularly vulnerable to different types of stains, including food stains, grass stains, mud stains, tree sap stains, and blood stains. Let’s take a look at some cleaning techniques below that will help to remove stubborn stains.

Removing Food Stains

Food stains can be particularly stubborn, especially ketchup and cranberry juice, for example. However, you can easily clean stubborn food stains with a solution of hydrogen peroxide. Take ⅓ cup of hydrogen peroxide and mix it with ⅔ cup of water.

Spot treat the area where the stain is concentrated using a spray bottle. Let the solution sit on the surface of your camping chair for about 10 to 15 minutes and then wipe it away using a damp towel. If the stain persists, simply repeat the process.

Removing Tree Sap Stains

If tree sap has dropped onto your camping chair, you should first scrape off the hard excess using a butter knife. Make sure not to use a paring knife or a hunting knife, as that can damage the fabric of the chair.

To get rid of the sap, you can use nail polish remover as it contains acetone, which can soften tree sap for easier removal. Alternatively, you also have the option of using isopropyl alcohol or enzyme-based cleaners to remove the tree sap.

After applying your preferred cleaner, allow it to sit to soften and dissolve the tree sap before scrubbing away the residue. You can then use a detergent to wash away the rest of the stain.

Removing Bird Droppings

Bird droppings are a common type of stain on camping chairs. Fortunately, they are easy to remove. All you need is some elbow grease and a damp cloth. First, use a disposable utensil to scrub away the dried residue.

To soften the dropping, spray some water on top of it. Clean the area thoroughly. You should also disinfect the camping chair with bleach to get rid of any bacteria from the bird droppings before drying the chair and storing it away.

Removing Mud Stains

Removing mud stains can be tricky, but with the right technique, it can be done easily. Simply use a damp cloth to blot at the mud stains to dissolve the residue. Once you have removed as much mud as you can, make a soapy water solution by mixing 1 part dish soap with 2 parts water and gently scrubbing the stained area.

Removing Grass Stains

Grass stains can be particularly stubborn, but they can be removed with rubbing alcohol. Simply soak a cotton ball in some rubbing alcohol and blot the stained area gently. Keep repeating this process until the stain is gone. Do not rub the spot aggressively, or the stain might spread even further.

Removing Blood Stains

Blood stains can be notoriously difficult to clean. If some blood has gotten onto your chair, it is important to clean it out as quickly as possible to prevent it from setting. Soak a cotton ball in hydrogen peroxide and blot the blood stain until the stain is gone. Alternatively, you can also try blotting the stain with detergent soap and water. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When it comes to cleaning camping chairs, it’s important that you apply the right techniques and use appropriate cleaning solutions. We’ve also made sure to include a section where we address some of the most frequently asked questions that were sent in by our readers.

How Do I Spot Clean Camping Chairs During a Camping Trip?

To prevent stains from setting on the fabric material of the camping chair, it is important to clean it as soon as possible. On your next camping trip, bring along a packet of alcohol wipes or antibacterial wet wipes for a quick and easy spot clean. 

Alternatively, you may also use rubbing alcohol to spot clean by applying some rubbing alcohol on a cloth and wiping away the stain, blotting if necessary. Otherwise, in a pinch, a light rinse of water may effectively remove most of the stain before it sets in. 

How Else Can I Remove Mold and Mildew from Camping Chairs? 

Mold and mildew are particularly bothersome, but they can easily be cleaned using simple homemade remedies. Create a vinegar solution by mixing 2 parts vinegar with 1 part water.

Transfer this solution into a spray bottle and spray all over any signs of mold and mildew. Let it sit for 10 minutes, and wipe it clean. Alternatively, you can also use any suitable store-bought cleaner to get the job done.

For a more natural cleaning solution, you can mix 10 drops of grapefruit seed oil or tea tree oil into 1 cup of water and spray the solution onto the mold-affected areas. Both these oils have antibacterial properties, which quickly remove mold and mildew.

Can I Steam Clean Camping Chairs?

Yes! Steam cleaning is a very effective and convenient way to remove excess dirt from your camping chairs. Simply aim the nozzle of the steam cleaner on the stains. The steam will soften and lift the dried dirt and will remove any pathogens on the fabric. Be careful not to use too much heat, as it can damage the fabric of the camping chair.

How Often Should I Clean Camping Chairs?

Your camping chair will get dirty every time you use it, so it is best to clean it after each use. If you have taken your camping chair to the beach, the saltwater can result in stains and corrosion, so it is important to give your chair a good rinse as soon as possible.

Cleaning your camping chairs after each camping trip helps preserve their durability and prolongs their lifespan. However, if you do not use your camping chairs frequently, aim to clean them at least once a year.

When is the Best Time to Clean Camping Chairs?

The best time to clean your camping chairs is as early as possible and after every use. Clean the chair early in the day so that it has plenty of time to completely dry out. Ideally, sunny and breezy days are the best time for cleaning them.

About Sirinan

Sirinan is a self-proclaimed cleanaholic and the editor-in-chief of Cleaney. Apart from coming with up creative ways to keep her living spaces clean and tidy, she loves to read on rainy days.