I’ve been camping for quite a while now, and from experience, mildew is a bit of a nuisance.
While most cleaners and sunlight will kill it, they won’t remove the stain. And those that do are more likely to damage the removable fabric on your camping char.
The good news is you can get mildew out of a camping chair by scrubbing the affected areas with a liquid detergent such as vinegar and washing & rinsing it with water before allowing it to sun-dry completely.
And in the guide below, I’ll share the details on how I’ve managed to eliminate mildew and other contaminants and dirt from my camping chairs.
Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Mold From Camping Chairs
There’re a couple of ways to remove mildew from fabric chairs, but here’s my exact method.
I first brush away all the loose dust, dirt, debris, and mold on the camp chair.
Usually, a soft-bristle brush will do the trick.
And while at it, I’d recommend brushing the loose mold on the outside and in open space, away from any other goods, outdoor furniture, or camping gear to avoid mold spread.
Once your affected surface is free from any lingering debris, spray the chair with diluted vinegar.
I’m a big fan of vinegar because it’ll kill most mold and spores without eroding or damaging the seat fibers or fabrics.
And the reason vinegar will work on mold because it has a lower pH than the mold can’t tolerate.
The ideal mixture ratio for vinegar should be two-thirds vinegar and third water. The ratio is potent enough to kill mold without affecting you.
The third step is to compound the vinegar mixture on the seat fabric.
See, spraying the mixture only settles it on the surface. But using a gentle brush will penetrate the mixture deep into the fabric.
Personally, I love using soft cloth for this step.
I work the vinegar mixture into my camping chair until all the mold drops.
Once all the mold has dropped, I rinse the chair or the camping chair with warm water.
Rinsing is necessary to rid the chair of the mold, debris, and other loose dirt.
Plus, it gets rid of the strong vinegar smell.
Sun-dry the camp chair to eliminate any moisture or dampness that may trigger further mold re-growth.
Storage is also necessary. Ensure your chair is completely dry before storage.
Cleaning Different Types of Camping Chairs
My cleaning procedure is standard for most camping chairs, but a few chairs may require a different process.
And in the section below, we’ll look at how to clean camping chairs.
1) Foldable spectator seat
The folding chairs are the most versatile seats on the market. Besides camping, folding chairs also come in handy for the beach, sports events, and tailgating.
Most folding chairs are made of canvas and polyester, with a mesh for ventilation.
Depending on the chair design, you can remove the fabric and put it in a washing machine for cleaning.
After the wash, you should treat the folding chair fabric for outdoor use.
2) Zero Gravity chairs
The zero gravity chairs are all about comfort.
Their signature feature is the reclining ability, which is handy for users with back problems.
Most zero gravity chairs use robust textaline fabric.
The material is robust and is unlikely to get damaged by strong cleansing agents.
My only concern with this material is that it’s usually attached to the chair, which will likely limit your cleaning.
3) Stadium seats
The stadium seats are built for portability and convenience. They’re usually lightweight enough to carry in a backpack.
Unfortunately, they don’t provide the best seating comfort.
Cleaning is also challenging because they’ve thick cushions, so you must be careful not to soak the padding.
It may take ages to dry, and if it doesn’t dry fully, it may create the perfect breeding ground for more mold.
Spot Cleaning your Camping Chair: Alternatives to Vinegar Solution
There’re a couple of other awesome solutions to spot clean your fabric if the smell of vinegar is a problem for you.
Our alternatives are as effective, if not better, than vinegar.
Steam Cleaning Camping Chairs
When I’m not eliminating mold and mildew from my camping chairs, I use steam cleaning to clean the mildew stain on my RV.
I even used to clean the yellow grout in my basement, and after a couple of cleaning, it’s white.
Fill the cleaner with water, and then direct the hose to the affected region.
Using a steam cleaner is magic, and beyond removing the stubborn stains, it also eliminates the heavy oil and grease build-up.
Understand steam cleaners work best on a surface. If it’s under the surface, then it’s no good.
For example, if you’ve cushions to clean, using a steam cleaner will only push the mold and mildew in deeper, which beats the whole idea.
And depending on the fabric, you should consider turning the steamer a bit low. It may melt anything plastic.
The other issue to consider with steam cleaning is water condensation from the steam. Droplets of water keep dripping, so you must stop frequently to wipe the condensed water with a rag.
I don’t like using bleach or vinegar when my kids are around because it gives them migraines.
Alcohol has proven to be a great substitute.
I’ve started using isopropyl alcohol to eliminate mold, which has been more effective than before.
Get a bottle of vodka, and put it in a spray bottle. Next, spray the mold.
Ensure you scrub the mold before rinsing it with clean water.
I prefer vodka over the cleansing agent because it’s cheap and safe to work with. It doesn’t emit harmful gas, and there is no need to wear a mask around it.
If you’re not a vodka fan, you may opt for rubbing alcohol. It’s the most recommended product to keep your fabrics free of mold.
Rubbing alcohol works by denaturing the mold cells, and the right alcohol concentration may denature the mildew pore before it evaporates.
The washing machine is perfect for camping chairs with removable fabrics.
However, it’s a good idea to check the labeling and manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations before putting your fabrics on a washing machine.
If the manufacturer allows, you can proceed, and to make the results better, use a mild cleaning solution.
Don’t use anything harsher than a gentle cycle because you risk ruining the material.
If you can’t machine wash your camp chair fabrics, opt for traditional or old-school hand-washing.
Simply pour your favorite liquid soap/ cleaning solution into a basin of warm water.
Submerge your stained camp chair fabric and let it soak for a while. Then scrub the mold & food stains using a soft-bristled brush to avoid spoiling the material.
Ensure you let the material sun-dry completely before using it.
Hydrogen peroxide is an effective solution for stubborn and persistent mold/mildew stains. It’ll also eliminate any stubborn stains, including bird droppings and food & grass stains.
I’m a big fan of hydrogen peroxide because it also has to disinfect properties to kill germs and bacteria.
The perfect hydrogen peroxide mixture should be a ratio of one to three. Add a third of hydrogen peroxide into two-thirds of the water.
Pour the hydrogen peroxide mixture into a spray bottle, and use it to spot and treat the mold stains. Ensure you scrub the mixture into the fabric and then rinse with cold/warm water.
The final alternative to killing mold is using baking soda paste.
You can DIY baking soda by mixing sodium bicarbonate with water. It forms a baking soda paste, which you rub on the stained section.
Leave the baking soda paste for a few minutes, scrub the area with a thistle brush or old toothbrush, and rinse it with water.
Protecting your Camping Chairs from Mold and Mildew
Avoiding the problem is the best way to protect your camp chairs from getting moldy.
It involves ensuring that your outdoor chairs are free from an environment that may trigger mold growth.
Here’re a few steps to follow to protect your camping chairs from mold.
If you’re outdoors, I recommend keeping anything that may mess up your camp chairs.
For example, if you’ve access to a picnic table, I suggest you use it instead of your camping chair.
Next, keep your chair far away from the sap-dripping trees when setting up your chair.
In short, try to minimize the chances of your camping chair getting messy or dirty from the environment.
Proper Storage is Key
Most mold growth usually happens during storage.
I’d recommend storing your outdoor chairs in a laundry bag to keep the dirt and grime, especially when traveling.
A camping chair storage bag is also helpful in preventing the rips and tears on your camping chair fabric.
Guard your Chair against Grime
Another effective way of protecting your chairs is guarding them with a water-resistant and stain-resistant wand.
The wand keeps the chair from water damage or accumulation of dirt and mold-causing debris.
While you’ll still need t clean your chairs periodically, it saves them from the likelihood of stains and mildew setting.
Other Tips to Guard your Chair Against Mold
- Always clean your camping chair after use. Cleaning is necessary to rid the dirt, debris, food stains, and mess that may provide a breeding ground for mildew.
- Always store your dirty chairs in a cool, dry place. Avoid locations with moisture.
- Camping chairs should be cleaned with a mild detergent and no bleach. Bleach may damage the fabric.
- After cleaning, always ensure your entire chair sun-dries completely.
- Always clean your camping chairs in an open and well-ventilated location so the mildew doesn’t spread to other locations. It also ensures that cleaner fumes don’t build up inside.
Getting Mold Out of Your Camping Chair Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: How do I dry a camping chair?
A: The best way of drying a camping chair is through sunlight. Allow the chair to dry in direct sunlight. This will eliminate all forms of dampness and keep.
You could also use a hairdryer in a low setting.
In short, the primary goal should be to dry the fabric completely before storage.
Generally, the most sure-fire way of keeping your camping chairs from mildew is cleaning them regularly and storing them in a cool, dry place.
Consider cleaning them more often if used regularly or if you live in a humid location.
With proper care, camping chairs can last for many years without worrying about mold or mildew on your next camping trip.