Your outdoor chairs are dragged around to all kinds of places – dusty baseball fields, camping trips, beaches, and outdoor concerts. They also spend their off-time sitting around inside of your garage, shed, or basement. It’s no wonder they get really dirty, really fast!

Before you pop a squat, you should give your lawn chairs and folding chairs a good scrub. This guide will tell you more about cleaning:

  • Fabric lawn chairs
  • Plastic folding chairs
  • Metal folding chairs

It will also give you some fun craft projects you can do to make your chairs look brand new!

How Do You Clean Folding Lawn Chairs?

Is it a beautiful sunny day outside? You can sit on your porch and sip lemonade in a moment. First, let’s get your lawn chairs squeaky clean!

What you’ll need:

  • Warm water
  • Mild dish soap
  • White vinegar
  • Measuring cup
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Spray bottle
  • 2 to 3 washcloths
  • Sponge (optional)

Here’s the best way to clean your lawn chairs:

  • Step One: Brush away loose dirt and crumbs with a soft bristle brush.
  • Step Two: Mix 1/3 warm water and 2/3 white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the entire chair from top to bottom.
  • Step Three: Use a soft washcloth or sponge to gently scrub the mixture into the chair.
  • Step Four: Scrub the legs of the chair using warm water, mild dish soap, and a soft washcloth or sponge.
  • Step Five: Rinse everything down with water.
  • Step Six: Set the chair out in the sun and let it dry.
  1. Step 1

    Brush Away Dirt

    You don’t want to clean the chairs while they’re still full of gunk. Take a soft bristle brush and use it to wipe away any dirt, crumbs, or grime sitting on top. You can also turn the chair upside down or use a vacuum cleaner.

  2. Step 2

    Spray a Mixture of White Vinegar & Warm Water

    Mix 1/3 warm water and 2/3 white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray down the entire chair from top to bottom. Be sure to get the front and the back.

  3. Step 3

    Scrub in the Mixture

    Gently scrub the mixture into the chair using a soft washcloth or sponge. You might have to give the chair a few more spritzes to make sure any stubborn stains are totally cleaned away.

  4. Step 4

    Clean the Legs

    While the mixture is soaking, use mild dish soap, warm water, and another soft washcloth or sponge to scrub the chair legs. You can also get underneath the arm rests if they’re on a metal frame.

  5. Step 5

    Rinse with Warm Water

    Rinse away the mixture and the soap using water. Note, you don’t want to blast the chair with a powerful hose or you risk causing damage.

  6. Step 6

    Dry in the Sun

    Set the chair out in the sun and let it dry naturally. It may take up to an hour or two for it to be completely dry.

Keep in mind this method works best for fabric lawn chairs. You’ll follow a totally different process when it comes to chairs made from plastic or metal*.

*Disclaimer: Quality Logo Products® is not responsible for any damage caused by cleaning your lawn chairs or folding chairs. When in doubt, it’s always best to contact the chair’s manufacturer directly to find out what they recommend when it comes to cleaning.

Pro Tip

You can remove grass stains from your fabric chairs with rubbing alcohol, laundry detergent, or baking soda. Scrub the stain with any of these materials, let it sit for about 15 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly.

How Do You Clean Outdoor Furniture Cushions?

Some lawn chairs are fitted with little cushions or pillows that will have to be cleaned separately.

The best way to clean outdoor furniture cushions is with some kind of stain remover. You can buy these over-the-counter at most retail stores. Some cushions may also be able to go directly in the washer. Call the manufacturer to find out if that’s possible for your furniture!

How Do You Remove Mildew From Lawn Chairs?

You can get rid of any mildew on your fabric lawn chairs by scrubbing the areas with a good liquid detergent or oxygen bleach. Scrub the area with a soft-bristled brush for at least 15 minutes and then wash it down with the hottest water possible. Let it dry naturally in the sun!

How Do You Clean Plastic Folding Chairs?

Plastic folding chairs are super easy to clean. You just need the right tools for the job, a good 45 minutes to an hour, and a can-do attitude doesn’t hurt either!

What you’ll need:

  • Water
  • Mild dish soap
  • Bucket
  • Soft washcloth
  • Sponge (optional)
  • White vinegar or baking soda
  • Measuring cup
  • Magic Eraser (found on Amazon or at most retail stores)

Here’s how to clean your plastic folding chairs:

  • Step One: Fill a bucket with water and mild dish soap. You should have more water than soap in the bucket.
  • Step Two: Dip a washcloth or sponge into the bucket and start wiping down the chairs from top to bottom.
  • Step Three: Rinse the chairs with a hose.
  • Step Four: Mix 2/3 warm water and 1/3 baking soda or white vinegar. Apply it to any stubborn stains and let it soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Step Five: Rinse the chairs again with the hose.
  • Step Six: Use a Magic Eraser to get rid of any remaining scuffs and then gently wipe the spots with a damp washcloth.
  • Step Seven: Turn the chairs upside down and let them dry in the sun.
  1. Step 1

    Fill a Bucket

    Fill up a bucket with water and mild dish soap. You should only add about 2 or 3 drops of the dish soap, with the rest of the bucket being filled with the water.

  2. Step 2

    Wipe Down the Chairs

    Dip a sponge or washcloth into the soapy bucket and start wiping down your chairs. Be sure to get from top to bottom, front to back, and in hard-to-reach areas like the legs and under the arm rests.

  3. Step 3

    Rinse

    Use a hose and thoroughly rinse all of the soap from the chair. You might want to turn it upside down to ensure you get every inch.

  4. Step 4

    Apply White Vinegar or Baking Soda

    Mix 2/3 warm water and 1/3 white vinegar or baking soda. Apply it to any stains and let it soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Afterward, wipe it down with a washcloth or sponge. If the area is particularly stubborn, you can also try WD-40, which is a degreasing spray that’s found at most retail stores.

  5. Step 5

    Rinse Again

    Use the hose again to rinse the chairs from top to bottom. After all, a little extra water never hurts!

  6. Step 6
    https://amazon.com/

    Clean with a Magic Eraser

    The Magic Eraser lives up to the “magic” in its name! These little white sponges are great at removing pesky stains and scuffs that would otherwise stick to your chairs. Use one to gently scrub away at any leftover marks.

  7. Step 7

    Turn Upside Down to Dry

    Now that your chairs are looking clean, it’s time to let them dry! Simply turn them upside down, let them rest in the sun, and come back for them later on in the day.

How Do You Clean White Plastic Folding Chairs?

White folding chairs can be cleaned like any other plastic chairs, but with one exception. You should pour a quarter cup of white vinegar into a bucket of hot water instead of the dish soap, and then scrub with a bristle brush. This should help remove any dirt or stains from your chairs.

You can also use bleach or a dishwashing detergent instead of the white vinegar if your chairs are super dirty. Let either solution soak for at least 15 minutes, and make sure to wear rubber gloves so you don’t irritate your skin!

How Do You Clean Metal Folding Chairs?

If you’ve ever looked under your car after a long winter, you know metal can easily rust! The same holds true for metal folding chairs, which is why you should keep them clean and protected.

What you’ll need:

  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Scrub brush or sponge
  • Old toothbrush
  • Washcloth
  • Tablespoon
  • Baking soda

Here’s how to clean your metal folding chairs:

  • Step One: Wash everything down using warm water, dishwashing soap, and a sponge or scrub brush.
  • Step Two: Use an old toothbrush to get hard-to-reach areas, like the grooves in between the chairs or the arm rests.
  • Step Three: Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with warm water and apply it to any rusty areas using a washcloth. Let it soak for about 20 minutes and repeat as necessary.
  • Step Four: Spray it all down with a hose.
  • Step Five: Dry the chairs by setting them upside down in the sun. You can also use a large towel if you need the chairs right away.
  1. Step 1

    Wash Everything Down

    Pour warm water and dishwashing soap in a bucket and start scrubbing down the chairs with a sponge or scrub brush. A scrub brush is the better choice if you’ve got mud or other grime caked onto the chairs.

  2. Step 2

    Scrub with a Toothbrush

    Dip an old toothbrush into the soapy bucket and use it to scrub hard-to-reach areas. Some metal chairs have intricate patterns or bars on the back (such as the park bench pictured here), and the toothbrush is an easy way to get in between those grooves.

  3. Step 3

    Clean with Baking Soda

    Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with warm water and rub the solution onto any rusty areas. Let it soak for about 20 minutes and then repeat as many times as necessary until the rust is removed. Is that rust not budging? Try hydrogen peroxide, or no kidding, Coca-Cola!

  4. Step 4

    Rinse the Chairs

    Use your garden hose to rinse the chairs from top to bottom. Be sure to rinse thoroughly so there’s no leftover soap or baking soda.

  5. Step 5

    Let the Chairs Dry

    Turn your chairs upside down and let the sun do its job! You can also dry the chairs with a large towel if you need them right away.

Pro Tip

White vinegar is an all-around cleaner that you should always have on hand. You can use this ingredient to clean patio furniture that’s made from plastic, fabric, metal, wood, or a wicker material.

How to DIY Folding Chairs

Sometimes you can clean all day long, and your folding chairs still look dirty. The good news is you can spruce them up a little with a few basic art supplies. Get ready for your next DIY project!

How to Make Folding Chairs Look Nice

Are you setting out old folding chairs for a backyard wedding? How about a big holiday dinner party? You can make your chairs look amazing with these tips and tricks.

Try any of the following to make your folding chairs look nice:

https://tipjunkie.com/chair-backs-to-make/

Fabric

Measure the chairs and get enough fabric from a craft store to fit on the top and seat. You can unscrew the seat from the bottom, wrap it with the fabric, and hold it all together with a staple gun. Use stencils and spray paint to add stylish details!

https://www.weddingomania.com/28-chair-decor-ideas-with-fabric-and-ribbons/pictures/719/

Ribbon

Ribbon and tulle can easily be wrapped around the back of your chairs. You can tie it in a bow or knot it right in the middle and let the pieces drape down. This is a great look not just for weddings, but also graduation ceremonies and outdoor concerts.

https://tiphero.com/cheap-furniture-look-expensive

Mod Podge

Take a trip to your local craft store and pick up some Mod Podge. You can then lay thick cardstock or wrapping paper on your chairs, use a paintbrush, and apply it directly. Protect it with some kind of sealant or lamination so the paper doesn’t fold when you sit.

Screen Printing

Do you want a bunch of custom lawn chairs for your baseball league? You can order these in bulk and get your design screen printed in ink right on each chair!

https://rusticweddingchic.com/10-ways-to-decorate-your-chairs-at-your-wedding

Flowers

Colorful flowers are an elegant way to decorate your chairs. If you don’t have a ton of money, buy fake ones and tie them onto the side or the back of your chairs.

https://www.bridalguide.com/planning/the-details/reception/wedding-chair-decor

Draped Sheets

Sheets or fabric are an easy, inexpensive way to decorate your chairs. Make sure to tie them in the back with some kind of ribbon or twine so they don’t budge when someone actually sits down.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/pippa/ways-to-revamp-old-furniture

Stencils

Grab your favorite stencils and simply spray paint a few designs all over your metal folding chairs. This is an especially great idea for a playroom!

https://tipjunkie.com/chair-backs-to-make/

Chair Top Hats

Your kid’s birthday party just got a whole lot cooler! Fit the top of each chair with handmade fabric “hats.” You can also make these adorable decorations for holiday dinners and other big events.

https://www.pinterest.com/nikiforov1900/folding-chair-covers/

Seat Covers

Bring new life to your folding chairs by making seat covers. Measure the chairs, and then cut enough fabric to fit around the top and seat. Hold it together with a strong industrial glue.

https://startathomedecor.com/

Can You Paint Metal Folding Chairs?

https://startathomedecor.com/

Yes, you can paint metal folding chairs. First, you need to clean and sand the chairs. From there, you’ll apply a primer and then coat the chairs with a metal-safe paint. Let it dry for 24 hours and then apply a second coat if needed. You’ll want to give it a full two days before actually using the chairs.

You can also spray paint your chairs and give them a whole new look. Take these rusted metal chairs for example.

https://momspotted.com/2016/07/diy-spray-painted-metal-folding-chairs.html

A blogger in Massachusetts did this project with a good brand of spray paint and a little bit of time and effort. The color matched the original look of her chairs, and the chairs ended up looking completely brand new at the end.

It just goes to show you don’t have to throw away your rusty or dirty metal folding chairs. A little bit of paint can work wonders!

The Bottom Line

White vinegar, baking soda, dishwashing soap, sponges… you can use all these things to make your outdoor chairs squeaky clean. Set aside some time to give them a good scrub, or a new DIY look, and then sit back, relax, and enjoy the sunshine!

References

Chiavari. (2016, August 30). Best Way to Keep Your Resin Folding Chairs Clean. Retrieved from,
https://chiavarisales.com/best-way-keep-resin-folding-chairs-clean/

Arms, R. How to Clean a Camping Chair (Mildew, Stains, Methods). Retrieved from,
https://glampingorcamping.com/home/clean-camping-chair/

Peyton, J. (2014, December 4). How to Remove Tough Stains From Your Folding Tables. Retrieved from,
https://www.foldingchairsandtables.com/blog/how-to-remove-tough-stains-from-your-folding-tables/

Overstock. How to Clean Plastic Lawn Chairs. Retrieved from,
https://www.overstock.com/guides/how-to-clean-plastic-lawn-chairs

Barber, T. Easy Ways to Clean Your Patio Furniture. Retrieved from,
https://www.rd.com/article/easy-ways-to-clean-your-lawn-and-patio-furniture/

Williams, A. (2019, March 29). How to Clean Patio Furniture. Retrieved from,
https://www.wikihow.com/Clean-Patio-Furniture

Wanke, M. How to Clean White Plastic Desk Chairs. Retrieved from,
https://cleaning.lovetoknow.com/outdoor-cleaning/how-clean-white-plastic-deck-chairs

Merry Maids. How to Clean Outdoor Furniture. Retrieved from,
https://www.merrymaids.com/cleaning-tips/seasonal-cleaning/how-to-clean-outdoor-furniture/

Corlett, K. How To: Clean Patio Furniture. Retrieved from,
https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-clean-patio-furniture/

Lubin, B., Lubin, J. (2019, April 4). How to Clean Outdoor Furniture After a Long Winter. Retrieved from,
https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/house-home/diy/outdoors/clean-outdoor-furniture-after-winter

Gibbs, D. How to Clean Metal Furniture. Retrieved from,
https://www.hunker.com/12445929/how-to-clean-metal-furniture

Thakur, M. (2015, July 24). 7 Easy Ways to Remove Rust Stains from Metal Outdoor Furniture. Retrieved from,
https://www.homecrux.com/6-easy-ways-to-remove-rust-stains-out-of-metal-outdoor-furniture/31513/

Leverette, M. (2020, February 25). How to Clean Outdoor Cushions and Fabric Furniture. Retrieved from,
https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-clean-outdoor-furniture-2146920

Home Guides. How to Make an Ugly Folding Chair Look Fancy. Retrieved from,
https://homeguides.sfgate.com/make-ugly-folding-chair-look-fancy-52908.html

Turk, L. (2018, August 16). 22 Chair Backs to Make Your Party Pop! Retrieved from,
https://tipjunkie.com/chair-backs-to-make/

Chandler, B. How Do You Paint Metal Folding Chair? Retrieved from,
https://www.thebump.com/

About the author

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a promo expert with over four years of experience in the industry. She is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products and has had work published for the Promotional Products Association International and the Advertising Specialty Institute.