If you’ve ever been camping or caravanning without camping chairs, you’d no doubt be thinking ‘never again’. It’s not an exaggeration to say that camping chairs can make or break an outdoors getaway. Set them up outside your tent, by a fire, on a sandy beach or halfway through a hike — wherever you do, they’ll make any situation that much more comfortable and convenient.
This is why, when it comes to the cleaning of said camping chairs, you want to make sure you’re doing it right. You’ve invested in them and value them, and you want to make sure they stay as pristine as possible. So, how do you go about doing that? How can you clean the inevitable mould and mildew that gets in camping chairs?
Well, there are a few methods to try. But before we get into them, the first step for all of them is to use sunlight to weaken the mould and mildew. Place the chairs directly in the sun to dry them out and then use a soft-bristle brush to wipe the loose pieces away. Now, let’s get into what to do next.
Clean with vinegar
First up is to try cleaning the chairs with vinegar. Because full vinegar will not only leave a strong odour on the chair but also patches, you’ll want to first dilute the vinegar into a spray bottle of warm water with a ratio of 1/3 water, 2/3 white vinegar. Then, you’ll spray the chairs from top to the bottom, using a washcloth or sponge to gently scrub the mixture into the chairs. Next, you’ll sponge down the legs of the chairs with warm water and mild dish detergent before rinsing them out with water and setting them out to dry.
If this method still isn’t getting the mould or mildew out of patches on the chairs, try soaking the areas in the vinegar mixture instead. After a few hours, put some baking soda on top of them and scrub them away.
Clean with rubbing alcohol (ethanol)
Another option is to clean them with rubbing alcohol instead. For this mixture, you’ll want to use equal parts rubbing alcohol with equal parts water, mixing them into a spray bottle. You’ll also want to ensure you’re testing the mixture on a small part of the chairs to check that it doesn’t result in any discolouration or damage. Once you’ve tested it, spray the mixture thoroughly from the top of the chairs down. Unlike with the vinegar mix, however, you won’t need to rub the ethanol mix into the chairs. Instead, you’ll simply wait for them to dry in the sun.
Next up is to try steam cleaning the chairs using a garment steamer. As you would with a normal steam clean, fill the steamer’s chamber with clean water before aiming it at the mould or mildew. This is a great option for cleaning as it steaming is also a good way to kill germs and bacteria that may have found their way into the fabric. Because your steamer will no doubt need to be plugged in, you’ll either need to bring the chairs inside (ideally, into a bathroom) or use an extension cord for the steamer to reach outside.
Wash the canvas in the laundry
And finally, the last way you can get mould and mildew out of camping chairs is to take off the chairs’ removable fabric pieces (provided they are removable, of course) and then to toss them into the wash with mild detergent. Be sure to use a gentle cycle and consider putting the fabric in a laundry bag.
With all the above methods, when you’re done, be sure to store your camping chairs in a dry, but warm location (like your garage or hallway closet) until the next time you use them. This will stop them from building up more mould or mildew and forcing you to repeat all the steps again.