What Do You Clean Lawn Chairs With? A Camping Expert’s Guide

It’s finally warm enough to sit outside and relax in your favorite lawn chair. As you sink into the faded cushions and lean back to take in the sunshine, suddenly it hits you – when was the last time you cleaned these chairs?

You glance around at the grime and pollen coating every inch and cringe at the thought of how that mess is probably covering you now too. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. After a long winter of hiding furniture away, deep cleaning is probably the last thing on your mind when pulling it back out. But just a little time and elbow grease can get your lawn chairs looking fresh and new again.

In this post, we’ll walk through a simple step-by-step guide to get your lawn chairs sparkling clean. We’ll share handy cleaning solutions you likely already have at home to dissolve stuck-on grime and restore your chairs to their original glory. No special tools or trips to the store required.

With just a few supplies and a bit of motivation, you’ll be lounging in a clean, inviting oasis in no time. So grab your favorite beverage, put on some tunes, and let’s tackle this outdoor chore together!

Why It’s Important to Clean Lawn Chairs

Before we get into the nitty gritty of how to clean lawn chairs, let’s go over why it’s important to give them a good scrubbing periodically. Here are some of the top reasons to stay on top of cleaning your outdoor chairs:

  • Remove built-up dirt and debris – Like any outdoor furniture, lawn chairs are exposed to the elements and will accumulate dirt, pollen, sap, bird droppings, and other yucky stuff over time. Periodic cleaning keeps them free of these unhygienic buildups.
  • Disinfect – Food, drinks, and who knows what else end up on lawn chairs over the course of barbecues, parties, and everyday use. Disinfecting kills bacteria that can cause odors or stains.
  • Brighten faded colors – UV rays from the sun and chemicals like chlorine cause plastic and fabric on lawn chairs to fade over time. A good cleaning can bring back some of that vibrant color.
  • Extend life of chair – Regular cleaning and conditioning keeps materials from becoming too brittle and breaking down prematurely. Proper care means your chairs will last for many seasons.

What Do You Need to Clean Lawn Chairs?

The good news is you likely already have most, if not all, of these basic cleaning supplies in your home:

  • Water
  • Mild detergent or soap
  • Sponge or soft brush
  • Old towel or soft cloth
  • Disinfecting spray or wipes
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Soft plastic/vinyl conditioner (optional)

For stubborn set-in stains, you may also need:

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Magic eraser sponge

How to Clean Fabric Lawn Chairs

If your lawn chairs have fabric seats and backs, follow this process:

Step 1 – Brush Loose Debris

Use a soft brush to gently brush away any loose dirt, leaves, crumbs or other debris from the fabric. Getting rid of surface-level particles first will make washing easier.

Step 2 – Mix Soapy Water

In a bucket or large bowl, mix together warm water and a small amount of mild detergent or soap, like dish soap.

Step 3 – Scrub Fabric

Dip your sponge or soft cloth into the soapy water and wring out well so it’s damp but not dripping. Gently scrub the fabric using light circular motions to lift dirt from the fibers. Pay special attention to stained or soiled areas.

Step 4 – Rinse

Wipe the fabric with a clean damp cloth to rinse away all soap residue. If the chair can’t be moved, use a hose on a light spray setting to rinse.

Step 5 – Disinfect (Optional)

For extra sanitizing power, spray fabric with disinfectant and let sit for the recommended contact time before wiping dry with a cloth.

Step 6 – Allow to Dry

Move chairs out of direct sun and allow to completely air dry before using or storing.

How to Clean Plastic/Vinyl Lawn Chairs

For plastic or vinyl strapped lawn chairs, follow this cleaning method:

Step 1 – Sweep Away Debris

Use a broom or dry cloth to brush away any loose dirt, leaves or other debris from the chair’s frame and vinyl straps.

Step 2 – Mix Soapy Water

As with fabric chairs, mix warm water and a small amount of mild detergent in a bucket. Add a capful of soft plastic/vinyl conditioner if you have it.

Step 3 – Scrub

Dip a soft sponge or cloth into the soapy solution, wring out, and wipe down the plastic/vinyl and frame, scrubbing gently to remove grime.

Step 4 – Rinse

Wipe straps and frame with a clean damp cloth to rinse off all soap residue. For a full rinse, wipe chair with wet cloth or lightly hose down.

Step 5 – Disinfect

Spray vinyl straps and frame with disinfecting spray. Allow proper contact time before wiping dry.

Step 6 – Condition (Optional)

Apply a light coat of plastic/vinyl conditioner and buff lightly with a dry cloth. This nourishes and protects the material.

Step 7 – Dry

Allow chairs to fully air dry before further use or storage. Place out of direct sunlight.

Removing Tough Stains from Lawn Chairs

Over time, lawn chairs can develop difficult stains that require a little extra attention to remove. Here are some handy tips:

Bird droppings, sap, or tar: Use a plastic putty knife to lightly scrape off as much as possible. Then apply some lighter fluid to a cloth and gently rub the stain to dissolve the remaining gunk. Rinse with soapy water.

Mold or mildew: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Lightly mist the stain and let sit 5 minutes before scrubbing with a soft brush. Rinse clean. The vinegar prevents mold from recurring.

Rust stains: Make a paste of baking soda and water and gently rub onto the stain using a soft cloth or old toothbrush. Let paste sit for a few hours if needed to lift the stain, then rinse clean.

Grease or food stains: Apply a small amount of dish soap directly onto the stain and let soak 5-10 minutes. Scrub with a soft bristled brush, then rinse clean with warm water. Repeat if needed for tough stains. The soap will cut through grease.

Dingy plastic: For plastic frames that have dulled and yellowed, make a paste of baking soda and water and use a soft cloth to gently scrub the paste onto the plastic. Rinse thoroughly once stains have lifted.

With some time and a little elbow grease, even the grubbiest lawn chairs can be revived to look like new again using products already in your cleaning arsenal. Just be sure to stay on top of periodic cleaning and your chairs will provide many more years of carefree, comfortable outdoor lounging and memories.

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