How to Clean Your Dirty Camping Chairs After a Fun Weekend Away

After a long weekend of camping, nothing beats coming home and collapsing into your favorite chair. But wait—is that mud caked on the legs? And what’s that weird sticky spot on the seat? Ugh, looks like your trusty camping chair needs some TLC. No need to panic! I’ve got some simple steps to get it looking brand new.

First up, break out the brush and vacuum to tackle any dried gunk. Mud and sand can really cling to the nooks and crannies, so you’ve got to fully remove them before washing. Next, mix up a cleaning solution of warm water, dish soap, vinegar or baking soda. Apply it to stains and let it soak in for 15-20 minutes—this will help lift even stubborn grime.

Now comes the satisfying part: scrubbing! Use a soft brush or sponge to gently scrub the entire chair. Get into every corner and crevice. Rinse everything off with warm water and give it another scrub to ensure all soap residue is gone. Lastly, dry it thoroughly with a towel or let it air dry before packing it away.

Don’t forget to check the manufacturer’s instructions too. Proper cleaning keeps your chair looking its best trip after trip. With just a little elbow grease, you’ll be back to relaxing at your home basecamp in no time. Let me know if you need any other camping cleaning tips!

Step 1: Remove Loose Debris

Before giving your camping chair a deep clean, you need to remove all the dried, caked-on gunk. Use a stiff brush or the hose of a vacuum cleaner to dislodge any large chunks of mud or dirt stuck to the fabric. Pay extra attention to the hard-to-reach spots like the joints and legs. Removing all this clingy debris first helps the soap and water work better in later steps.

Step 2: Mix Your Cleaning Solution

Now it’s time to mix up a cleaning liquid that will cut through the remaining stains and residue. Most camping chairs clean up nicely with a mixture of:

  • Warm water
  • Mild dish soap or detergent
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda

Experiment to find the right proportions for your specific mess. More stubborn stains may need extra soap or vinegar. The solution should be gentle enough not to bleach or discolor the fabric.

Step 3: Soak the Fabric

Armed with your cleaning solution and an old sponge or washcloth, start soaking the fabric. Apply the mixture liberally over the entire chair, especially focusing on problem areas. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes so the ingredients can penetrate and break down the grease and grime.

Step 4: Scrub Every Inch

Now the labor-intensive part begins! For this step, use a soft-bristled scrub brush, sponge, or rag to gently scrub the soaked fabric. Apply light pressure and work the cleaning liquid into all the fibers. Scrub every square inch – don’t forget the undersides and crevices! This scrubbing action lifts the dirty residue from the chair.

Step 5: Rinse Thoroughly

Once scrubbed, it’s imperative to completely rinse away all soap and debris. You don’t want any residues being left behind. Use a hose or buckets of clean water to rinse every section until only clear water comes away. Turn the chair upside down to rinse the bottom too.

Step 6: Dry and Air Out

Before storing your clean chair, make sure it dries fully. Lay it flat or prop it open to allow air circulation. You can blot excess water with a towel then let it finish air drying. Never put away a damp chair, as moisture promotes mold.

Tips for Cleaning Tricky Camping Chair Spots

Follow these tips when faced with some especially tricky gunk on your camping chair:

  • Bird droppings – Rinse immediately, then rub with baking soda before washing
  • Rust stains – Apply lemon juice and let sit before scrubbing
  • Mildew spots – Use bleach cleaner and rinse excessively
  • Tree sap – Soak in rubbing alcohol to dissolve, then wash

Deep Cleaning vs Quick Cleaning

You don’t necessarily need to deep clean your camping chair every time. For a quick cleaning after a short trip:

  • Knock off loose dirt
  • Spot clean stains with a rag
  • Let air dry fully

Save the full scrub-down for when it’s really grimy or after extended trips. Monthly deep cleans keep chairs fresh.

Protecting Your Camping Chairs from Dirt

While cleaning chairs is necessary, you can also be proactive about keeping them clean in the first place. Follow these tips:

  • Use a barrier underneath like a tarp or blanket
  • Spray fabric protectant spray before trips
  • Cover chairs when not in use
  • Shake dirt off frequently when camping
  • Rinse mud off legs before it dries

Checking the Care Instructions

It’s important to always consult the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific camping chair model before cleaning. Some fabrics and features may require special care. Most are machine washable but shouldn’t be dried or bleach can fade colors.

When to Replace a Chair

With frequent cleanings, camping chairs can last for years. But if the fabric becomes brittle or starts degrading, it’s time to shop for a replacement. Look for torn stitching, sagging, or broken framework as signs to retire a chair.


FAQ 1: Can I use bleach to clean my camping chair?

Bleach is not recommended, as it can fade or discolor the fabric over time. Stick to mild dish soap, vinegar, and baking soda solutions instead.

FAQ 2: What is the best way to dry a camping chair after cleaning?

Lay the chair flat or prop it open to allow for maximum airflow as it dries. You can blot excess water with a towel first. Never put away a damp chair.

FAQ 3: How do I clean mildew off of camping chair fabric?

Mix a solution of 1 part bleach to 4 parts water and scrub the mildew spots. Rinse very thoroughly afterwards. This is a very diluted bleach solution to avoid fabric damage.

FAQ 4: Should I take apart the frame when cleaning the chair?

No need to fully disassemble the frame. Simply clean around it and wipe down any grime using a wet rag. Avoid submerging metal joints/connections.

FAQ 5: How can I stop mud from getting caked onto the legs?

Rinse legs off immediately after use before mud dries. You can also apply a fabric protectant spray that repels dirt and moisture. Store chairs on a tarp or blanket.

Enjoy Your Freshly Cleaned Camping Chair!

Armed with these cleaning tips, you can tackle any mess your trusty camping chair encounters. No stain will stand in the way of you and that coveted seat around the fire. And remember to perform regular cleanings to keep chairs looking like new for many seasons. Soon you’ll be relaxing in a sparkling clean chair enjoying the fresh air!

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