How to Get Mildew Out of Camping Chairs?

Camping enthusiasts often find themselves having to ask this question.  Invariably, chairs for camping are exposed to damp weather. They accumulate moisture and produce the perfect setting for mold growth.

If you notice musty, stale aromas coming from your camping chairs, there’s a good chance they have mildew on them.


Can you get mildew out of a camping chair?  Yes!  To get mildew out of a camp chair, there are some specific cleaning supplies and methods that you need to use.  Truth be told, mildew is something that most campers tend to overlook.

Notwithstanding, although residual fungus can stain your camping chairs, proven solutions do exist.

Indeed, there are several ways to eliminate mildew if your chairs have been affected already. Implement the following methods and you can store away your camping chairs in a clean state after use, with no subsequent problems.

How to Clean Camping Chairs of all Types

1. Chairs With Foldable Seats

Standard camping chairs, which are a common sight at tailgate parties and sporting events, are folding camp chairs that often include coolers.

Typically, such chairs are made from polyester or canvas, however, some feature meshes lightweight fabrics for extra ventilation. Based on the type of chair you own, you might be able to take the canvas off and wash it in a machine.

2. Stadium Seats

Camping chairs like these are light and small, so you can carry them around with you in a bag. Although they are ideal for bleacher seats, they are quite uncomfortable on the ground. The cushions tend to be thick, so you need to take care to avoid soaking the padding.

Otherwise, it will not dry for a long time. Mildew, bacteria and mold could develop inside the padding if it is not properly dried. Suffice to say, this will ruin the seat.

3. Zero Gravity Camping Chairs

These reclining chairs are ideal if you have a bad back because they enable you to sit with your feet raised. Often made from texta line material with a bungee suspension system, this fabric is tough and designed for outdoor use.

Thanks to the robust nature of this fabric, you can clean it easily without causing any damage. Nonetheless, you can not take the fabric off the chair, so cleaning it thoroughly is more difficult.

The Methods of Cleaning Camping Chairs

Before attempting any other cleaning methods, you should leave camping chairs that are affected by mildew to dry in the sunshine.

This way, the residual mold will die naturally. It is best to allow the chairs a minimum of half a day to dry off. After this, you can eliminate mildew from them using the following methods:

1. Alcohol Spraying

Put ethanol or alcohol into a spray bottle and apply this to the fabric of the chairs. Then, leave the chairs to dry off in the sunshine.

You might have to repeat this process a few times to achieve good results. It is important to test alcohol treatments on part of the chairs initially, to ensure they do not damage or discolor the materials.

2. Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning using a handheld cleaner is a quick way to get rid of mildew from camping chairs. Put water into the device and wait for it to heat up and start creating steam. Then, put a nozzle onto the cleaner and point it at the camping chairs.

Aim to cover every part of the fabric and frames in a methodical manner. Eventually, heat from the steam will destroy any mildew that remains on the chairs after they are brought in from outdoors.

3. Vinegar Treatments

Put some undiluted white vinegar into your spray bottle and spray this over the areas on the chairs affected by mold. Wipe the camping chairs all over with a cleaning sponge to get rid of the vinegar.

Then, mix together a small quantity of the cleaning detergent (which should be gentle on fabric), a teaspoon of baking soda, a teaspoon of lemon juice and some water. Use this solution to wash the camping chairs, then rinse them off. Leave the chairs to dry completely in the sunshine.

4. Washing Machine

If the fabrics on your chairs can be removed, read the labels to find out whether they can be machine washed. Use a mild detergent and a gentle cycle. Also, put delicate fabrics like mesh into a laundry bag.

Once they are washed, apply a suitable fabric protector and put them back onto the frames. If you can’t machine wash your removable fabrics, wash them by hand in a bathtub. The tub should be filled with hot, soapy water and you can submerge the fabrics into it.

Use a soft brush or cloth to scrub any stains. This will protect the fabrics during the cleaning process. Alternatively, you can rub the fabrics together to dislodge any debris or dirt. Leave them to soak for a few hours, then rinse them off.

Organizing the Camping Chair Cleaning Process

It is always recommended to clean dirty camping chairs outdoors, particularly if mildew or mold is prevalent. You will need a ventilated open space, so the air can circulate.

Lay down a tarp or some newspaper if you want to keep the area clean, like a patio or garage floor. This also helps to prevent mold spores from spreading any further.

Clean your chairs on a nice sunny day, because they will have to stay outdoors in the sunshine after you are finished. If the weather is overcast or rainy, there’s a good chance that mildew could develop on the chairs – because they will remain moist.

Begin in the morning if you can, so there is enough time to dry the chairs in the sunshine once they are properly clean. The quantity of time required will vary, based on the material and whether you have to wash any padding as well.

Undoubtedly, camping chairs are great accessories to take on trips. You can use them to sit around a campfire or unwind during downtime.

Whether you depend on sunshine alone to remove mildew from the chairs, treat them with alcohol/vinegar or steam clean them, you now know multiple ways to get them ready for your next outing.

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