How to Clean Camping Chairs?

Camping chairs are essential gear for any camping trip. They provide comfortable seating around the campfire and a place to relax at the campsite. However, after repeated use, camping chairs can start to accumulate dirt, stains, and grime.

Learning how to clean camping chairs properly is important for keeping them looking their best and extending their lives. This guide will teach you how to clean all types of camping chairs and remove any mess.

Why It’s Important to Clean Your Camping Chairs

Allowing dirt, food, drink stains, and other grime to build up on your camping chairs can lead to a number of issues, including:

  • Fabric degradation: Dirt and stains can degrade the fabric on the chair. This can lead to tearing, faster wear and tear, and a shortened lifespan for the chair.
  • Unhygienic: Letting stains, dirt, and messes accumulate can create unhealthy conditions if the chair is not properly sanitized.
  • Odors: Spills and stains can leave behind unpleasant odors if not promptly cleaned.
  • Damage: Certain types of stains, like bird droppings, can damage and corrode the frame of a camping chair if left for a long period of time.
  • Appearance: A dirty, stained camping chair is unpleasant to look at and ruins the aesthetic of your campsite.

Properly cleaning camping chairs as needed maintains their condition, appearance, and lifespan.

Types of Camping Chairs

There are a few main types of camping chair construction. Each has its own cleaning considerations.

Aluminum-Frame Camping Chairs

The most common budget-friendly camping chair has a frame made from aluminum tubing and legs. The seating consists of fabric slung between the frames.

Aluminum-Frame Camping Chairs

Steel-Frame Camping Chairs

More heavy-duty camping chairs have a sturdier steel frame construction. The fabric seat and backrest attach to the frame.

Steel-Frame Camping Chairs

Wooden Camping Chairs

Some camping chairs have wooden frames made from wood slats or bentwood. These need special care when cleaning to avoid damaging the wood.

Wooden Camping Chairs

Fabric Camping Chairs

Higher-end camping chairs often have thick, reinforced fabric on both the seat and backrest. These include models like the ALPS Mountaineering King Kong Chair.

Fabric Camping Chairs

Common Stains and Messes on Camping Chairs

Camping chairs endure all kinds of use and abuse, leading to a number of common stains and messiness. Here are some of the most prevalent:

Food and Drink stain

It’s easy to spill drinks, drop food, and leave behind stains on your camping chair. Ketchup, mustard, wine, coffee, and other foods and drinks can stain fabric.

Dirt and Mud

Sitting around a campfire or camping in wet, muddy conditions can lead to dirt and mud caked on your chairs. Dirt can also accumulate on the frame.

Mildew and Mold

Leaving camping chairs folded up or stored while still damp allows mold and mildew to grow. This leaves behind black, green, or gray staining.

Bird Droppings

Bird droppings that sit on chairs can stain and damage the frame if left untreated. The acidic nature of bird poop can eat away at metal.

Grease and Oil

Handling oily or greasy foods at your campsite can transfer over to your camping chairs. This leaves behind hard-to-remove oily stains.

Cleaning Different Types of Stains in Camping Chairs

The technique you use to clean your camping chairs will depend on the type of stain or mess. Here are some tips for cleaning common camping chair stains:

How to Remove Food and Drink Stains

  • Absorb any excess liquid immediately after spillage. Avoid rubbing it deeper into the fabric.
  • Flush the stain with cold water and dab gently with a cloth. Warm water can remove some food and drink stains.
  • Spray diluted dish soap directly on the stain. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Scrub the stain gently with a soft-bristled brush. Avoid overly aggressive scrubbing.
  • Rinse the soap residue with clean water. Allow to fully air dry before storing.

How to Clean Dirt and Mud

  • Allow caked-on dirt and mud to dry fully first. This prevents it from being rubbed deeper into the fabric.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to suck up loose dirt and mud. Don’t press the nozzle too hard against the fabric.
  • Mix 1 cup warm water with 1 tbsp dish soap. Use a soft-bristled brush dipped in solution to gently scrub.
  • For tough stains, spray on hydrogen peroxide. Let it bubble for 5 minutes before scrubbing.

How to Remove Mildew and Mold

  • First, brush away any visible mold or mildew from the chair using a dry brush.
  • Wipe down all frame and fabric surfaces with a cloth dipped in undiluted white vinegar.
  • For tougher stains, make a paste with 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 3 parts baking soda. Spread over the stain and let sit for 1 hour before rinsing.
  • Allow the chair to dry fully in the sun before storing it to prevent remolding.

How to Clean Away Bird Droppings

  • Wipe away any excess bird droppings immediately before they can corrode the frame.
  • Mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 3 parts water. Use this solution to scrub bird droppings on a frame. Rinse.
  • For fabric bird poop stains, dab gently with rubbing alcohol and rinse residue. Allow to fully dry.

How to Get Rid of Grease and Oil

  • Blot away any excess oil or grease stain immediately with a clean rag. Avoid smearing.
  • Generously coat the stain with baking soda. Let sit for 15 minutes to absorb grease.
  • Scrub with a soft bristle brush dipped in warm, soapy water. Repeat if needed.
  • Rinse away all cleaning solution residue and allow it to dry fully before storing. The sun helps dissipate any remaining oils.

General Cleaning Tips

In addition to spot-cleaning stains, you’ll want to clean the entire camping chair frame and fabric regularly.

Cleaning the Frame

  • Wipe down aluminum tubing with a soft cloth dipped in soapy water.
  • Use a baking soda paste to scrub away the grime on steel chair frames before rinsing clean.
  • Clean wooden chair frames by mixing equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Mist wood and wipe down.

Cleaning the Fabric

  • Handwash fabric with mild detergent for a deep clean. Allow to air dry in the sunlight fully.
  • For a quick refresh, spray the fabric with a water/white vinegar solution. Wipe excess moisture with a clean cloth.
  • Check the manufacturer’s tag before washing. Some fabrics must be spot cleaned only.

Storing Camping Chairs Properly

  • Always allow camping chairs to dry fully before packing them away for storage or transport to prevent mildew.
  • Wipe down the frame and fabric with a clean, dry cloth before folding up the chair.
  • Store chairs in a clean, dry place protected from rain, dirt, and other elements.

Specialty Cleaning Solutions

For really tough, set-in stains on your camping chairs, you can use specialty cleaners tailored for outdoor gear and equipment:

  • Gear Aid ReviveX – Cleans and restores fabric, vinyl, and leather. It helps remove stains.
  • NIKWAX Tech Wash – Detergent concentrate designed for synthetic and waterproof fabrics. It also cleans frames.
  • 303 Fabric & Vinyl Cleaner – Protectant spray that cleans and conditions. It helps prevent future stains.

Always spot-test specialty cleaners in an inconspicuous area first. Follow manufacturer instructions carefully.

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Keeping your camping chairs clean should be part of your regular campsite maintenance routine. Promptly cleaning spills and wiping away excess dirt prevents stains from setting and makes cleaning much easier.

Certain stains like grease or bird droppings require immediate cleaning so they don’t damage the chair. With some elbow grease and the right cleaning solutions, you can keep your camping chairs looking like new for many seasons. Just be sure to allow them to dry fully before packing them away after each trip and cleaning session.


How do you clean mold off camping chairs?

First, brush away any visible spots using a dry brush to clean mold and mildew off camping chairs. Then wipe down all surfaces with a cloth dipped in undiluted white vinegar. For tougher stains, apply a paste of 1 part hydrogen peroxide mixed with 3 parts baking soda. Let sit for 1 hour before rinsing clean.

Can you put camping chairs in the washing machine?

It’s best to check the tag on your specific camping chairs. Some camping chair fabric can be put in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with mild detergent. Avoid washing the metal frame in the washing machine. Always air dry fabric completely before storing chairs.

What’s the best way to get bird poop stains off a camping chair?

Bird droppings can stain and corrode the frames of camping chairs. Wipe away any excess immediately. Use a solution of 1 part hydrogen peroxide diluted with 3 parts water. Scrub this into any bird poop on the frame, then rinse clean. For fabric stains, dab rubbing alcohol on the spot and rinse.

How do you clean mud off camping chairs?

Let caked-on mud fully dry first to prevent smearing it further into the fabric. Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to suck up dried mud. Then mix 1 cup warm water with 1 tablespoon dish soap. Use a soft bristle brush dipped in the solution to gently scrub away the remaining mud. Rinse clean.

What’s the easiest way to clean camping chairs?

The easiest way to clean most camping chairs is to use a mixture of warm water and dish soap. Spray or wipe the diluted soap directly onto stains or dirt. Let sit for 5 minutes, then scrub with a soft bristle brush. Rinse away all soap residues. Wipe down wooden and metal chair frames with the same diluted soap mixture for easy overall cleaning.

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