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High chairs pick up all sorts of food stains and marks, especially once your baby has started finger feeding or using cutlery. As parents it often looks like more food is on the floor and on the high chair than in their mouths! Cleaning your high chair quickly becomes a daily chore as you wipe down the tray, seat and brush off pieces of food. But how do you clean the high chair cover, and how often should you do it?
If you high chair cover is made from fabric, you should be able to remove it and pop it in the washing machine. However, check the instructions carefully as you may have to handwash it instead, by soaking it in some cold water along with some detergent. Let’s cover all of this in more detail.
How often should you clean a high chair cover?
There’s no set rule on how often you should clean a high chair cover or the straps. You certainly don’t need to do this daily, but if your child is particularly messy you may need to do it weekly. For some, once a month should suffice. Daily tasks should include wiping down the tray, seat, cover and removing all the bits of food, particularly in all the nooks and crannies.
How do you clean a high chair cover?
Here’s a step by step process on how to clean your high chair cover.
What material is it made from?
You first need to establish whether you can put it in the washing machine. You should be able to find this out if you check the instructions, but if not the cover may have a label indicating whether it is safe to do so. In general, fabric high chair covers, padding and cushions should be fine in the washing machine, but if it contains any vinyl then you may have to handwash it.
You will need to remove the cover in order to clean it properly. This should be fairly straightforward as it’s likely it will either be tied to the high chair to keep it in place, or attached using some Velcro straps. Sometimes the high chair straps can make the cover a little more fiddly to remove, but to be honest you’re probably better off removing the straps and washing them at the same time.
Once you’ve removed the cover, you probably want to give it a wipe down and remove all the bits of food in all the cracks. If you haven’t cleaned your cover in a while, removing stuck on food can be a difficult task. If it won’t shift, try spraying a mix of water and vinegar (50:50) and leave it for 10 minutes before trying again.
After checking the cover label, or your high chair assembly instructions, hopefully you can just put the cover straight in the washing machine. If there’s no information on what setting you should use, it’s highly advisable to put it on a cold wash with a delicate cycle.
For handwashing, put the cover in a big bowl or sink and allow it to soak in some water and detergent. Give it a rinse afterwards.
For drying it is essential you just let the cover air dry. If you did use a tumble drier there is a risk the cover may shrink and you won’t be able to reattach it to the high chair!
Cleaning high chair overs – Leading brands
If you can’t find any information on how to clean you high chair cover for your particular model, here is some useful advice for some of the more popular brands.
Graco High Chair Cover
For Graco high chairs, they state that you should refer to the care tag on the cover itself, which isn’t that helpful if it’s fallen off. However, they do elaborate on this and say that their seat pads/covers are machine washable, but you should use a delicate cycle with a cold temperature. Air dry afterwards.
Chicco High Chair Cover
For Chicco high chair covers, you really need to check the instructions carefully for your particular model, as it’s likely you can’t machine wash it. Instead they suggest to spot clean with a damp cloth and mild detergent. They also say any bleach products, including sprays and wipes should not be used on their high chair covers.
Cosco High Chair Cover
For the popular Cosco Simple Fold High Chair (and Deluxe), you can’t actually remove the seat pad, so that takes the issue of using a washing machine off the table! They just suggest to wash the seat pad with a damp cloth and soapy water. You can use a towel to dry everything off afterwards.
How do you get stains out of high chair covers?
Hopefully any stain should come out after a washing machine cycle, or if you handwash your high chair cover thoroughly. If not, try a mix of baking soda and white vinegar. You mix this up in a bottle and spray the mixture on the stain, or apply it with a damp cloth. If this fails, you can try a little bit of bleach, but only do this if you know it is safe to do so. Many high chair manufacturers state that bleach shouldn’t be used on their high chair covers at all. If you do decide to use it, make sure you rinse everything thoroughly afterwards.
How do you remove mould from high chair covers?
Applying bleach is often one of the best ways to get rid of mold, but you may find that it isn’t safe to use on your high chair cover. If that’s the case, particularly if you have a fabric cover or seat pad, try to apply a white vinegar solution with an equal part of water. Spray it on the surface and scrub gently with a brush. Make sure you air dry the high chair cover thoroughly (ideally outside in the sun) before reattaching it. Repeat the process if there is still some mould remaining afterwards.
What to do if you can’t remove the cover from the chair?
For some high chair products, you can’t actually remove the cover at all (like the Cosco Simple Fold). In this case, you’ll just have to wipe down everything thoroughly using some soap or detergent. For a deeper clean and to remove more stubborn food stains, you can always hose it down outside in your yard and let it air dry in the sun afterwards, or use your shower. As you can imagine, unfortunately it’s a lot harder to thoroughly clean a non-removable high chair cover compared to one you can detach and put in your washing machine.
Like the majority of high chair covers, you usually put straps straight in the washing machine (but check this first) or soak them in some solution of vinegar and warm water.
In some cases you can, but it depends on your particular high chair model. In general, fabric seat pads and covers should be fine in a washing machine if you use a colder temperature and delicate setting.
You should avoid this at all costs as it can cause the cover to shrink so it’ll become unusable. Just air dry it instead.
Graham is a father of two who founded Dadometer to share his parenting journey with other moms and dads.