Babies and toddlers are messy during mealtime and this often means that the high chair seat, tray, and straps get dirty quickly. Luckily, when it comes to your little one’s high chair staying clean, there are some easy steps to follow!
How to Clean High Chairs? As with any mess, consistent effort works wonders. Aim to wipe down and disinfect the high chair after every use, before your baby’s food can get too stuck. Take some time once a week to tackle the straps, crevices, and tricky spots that require a bit of extra attention.
Are you ready for your high chair deep-cleaning session? Follow the step-by-step instructions below, and your little one’s high chair will be looking brand new in no time!
How to clean your high chair
Before you begin cleaning, you’re going to want some supplies on hand. Here’s a helpful checklist for cleaning supplies to have ready before you start.
- Paper towels or clean cloths
- An eraser sponge
- Dish soap
- Sprayable cleaner.
By the way, if you have never checked out silicone sponges they are an absolute game-changer. They don’t hold odors and you can literally throw them into the dishwasher to clean and reuse them. How amazing is that?
When it comes to sprayable cleaner, it’s important to use something on the high chair that can cut through grease and oils that water just won’t touch. Because your little one is going to be using this chair, it’s crucial you use natural cleaners that aren’t stuffed with chemicals. Here are three of my favorites:
- Method Cleaner – All of Method’s products are amazing and you can normally find them in the grocery store as well!
- Puracy – In addition to cleaners, this brand has all kinds of amazing, natural baby products like bubble bath, shampoo, and lotions!
- Better Life – More of a household brand, Better Life focuses on providing all-natural cleaning products for all over the home!
Of course, there is always white vinegar and dish soap as well! Vinegar is a kitchen hack that isn’t limited to just food. White vinegar packs a powerful cleaning punch, and can even help remove stains in some plastics and fabrics. Just add a few tablespoons of vinegar to your soapy water.
Be sure to never mix bleach and vinegar though! The combination makes toxic chlorine gas.
Now that you have your supplies, you are ready to start cleaning your high chair!
- Wipe off any loose crumbs. Using a paper towel or dry cloth, brush off any crumbs or dried pieces of food. If you have some sticky spots left, don’t worry! We’ll wipe them up soon.
- Remove the straps/seat covers and tray. Even though it’s a pain, taking off the straps and seat covers lets you get a real clean on every surface of the chair. If you don’t know how to remove the high chair straps or seat covers, we’ll address that later in the article. Take the tray off and set it aside along with the straps.
- Clean each piece of the high chair. The tray, straps, and base of your high chair should all be cleaned separately to ensure there isn’t any food residue left. Follow the step-by-step instructions in each section below to ensure a spotless clean.
- Let dry. Be sure each piece of the high chair is dry before putting it back together. Extra water moisture can be trapped, and cause nasty smells or even mold.
- Put back together. Replace the straps, seat covers, and tray.
- Make another mess! Even the cleanest high chair won’t stay that way for long. But with your newfound knowledge, you’re ready to tackle high-chair cleaning as often as it needs it.
High chair straps are the trickiest part of the chair to clean, but don’t let that stop you! Here’s some tips to make the job as easy as possible:
- Let soak. After removing the straps from the high chair, soak the straps in hot water with dish soap. The longer the straps soak, the easier it will be to scrub out the dried food.
- Using a sponge or washcloth, rub the straps until all of the dried food has been removed.
- Apply stain remover. If the straps are light-colored and stained, you can use a few tricks to try and help. Vinegar or hydrogen peroxide can help lift stains from some fabrics. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions before using any stain removers to avoid damaging the straps.
- Be sure to rinse out any soap residue. Plain, warm water should do the trick.
- You can either lay the straps out to dry or hang them. Be sure they’re completely moisture-free before replacing them on the high chair.
How to remove high chair straps
Each high chair is different, but with most, it is possible to remove the straps. If you have access to the instruction manual for your high chair, check there for strap removal instructions. If you can’t find the instructions for your specific high chair, you may have to explore a bit.
Follow the straps to where they connect to the chair, and see if they’ll twist off. If the straps are attached with a screw, you may need a screwdriver to remove them.
Can you put high chair straps in the washing machine?
If you don’t want to handwash your high chair straps, the washing machine is a good alternative option. If you choose to use the washing machine, be sure to check the labels on your chair to see if the manufacturer recommends machine washing for their product. Using a wash bag can help keep the plastic parts of the straps from breaking in the washer.
You should never put high chair straps in the dryer, as the high heat could melt the plastic in the straps.
How to clean non-removable high chair straps
If your high chair straps are non-removable, you can still get them cleaned up! Using cleaner or warm, soapy water, scrub at the straps until any dried food has been removed. Because you can’t soak the straps, you may need to put in a bit more effort to get the straps cleaned properly.
Wiping down the straps more often can make it easier to keep non-removable high chair straps clean.
Because this is the part of the high chair your little one touches the most, you want to make sure it’s extra clean.
- Let soak. After removing the tray from the high chair, place it in a sink filled with warm, soapy water. If your sink is too small to fit the tray, you can skip this step. Soaking the tray helps break down leftover food, making it easier for you to scrub it off.
- Using a sponge or washcloth, scrub at the tray to remove any sticky spots or dried food. If you’re having a hard time getting stains off the tray, an eraser sponge might do the trick!
- Rinse any soap suds and food scraps off the tray.
- Be sure to let the tray dry off before replacing it on the high chair.
Can you put a tray in the dishwasher?
Not all high chair trays are dishwasher safe, but some are. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s guidelines to see if your tray can go in the dishwasher. Usually, dishwasher-safe trays are only safe if you put them on the top rack of the dishwasher and don’t run the heated dry cycle, so keep that in mind.
How do you get food stains out of high chair trays?
- Eraser Sponge: These things work miracles! You can pick them up at most grocery stores.
- Baking Soda: Make a paste by mixing the baking soda with water. Use it to scrub away at stains.
- Hydrogen Peroxide: You can pick this stuff up next to the rubbing alcohol in the pharmacy section of your local grocery store. Not only does it work on high chair stains, but it gently cleans small cuts, and works as a bleach substitute when doing laundry.
- Vinegar: Vinegar is a cleaning wonder, especially when paired with a base like baking soda.
Seat and seat covers
A clean high chair means that there’s no crumbs or leftovers hiding in the corners of your child’s seat.
- Remove the seat cover. If your child’s high chair comes with a fabric seat cover, pull it off.
- Wash and dry the cover. If the seat cover is fabric, you should be able to just pop it into the washing machine. Follow the care instructions on the tag, which usually include using only cold water and letting the cover air dry. If the cover isn’t machine washable or isn’t removable, wipe it down with a damp cloth.
- Using a sponge or washcloth, scrub at the high chair seat to remove any sticky spots or dried food. Be thorough, and pay special attention to the nooks and crannies around the seat.
- Rinse any residual food scraps off with a damp washcloth.
- Be sure to let the seat dry off before putting the cover back.
High chair base
Even though the high chair base probably sees fewer spills than the tray or seat, that doesn’t mean it’s not messy too.
- Wipe down with a damp cloth. Before using any sort of cleaner, I like wiping down the high chair base with good, old-fashioned water. A sponge or wet kitchen towel will give you a bit more friction on the chair, and help lift some of the stickier messes. Be sure to wipe down every hard surface of the base, including the undersides and legs.
- Apply cleaner. Spray the cleaner over every part of the high chair, and then let it sit for a bit before scrubbing it off. A sponge or small brush will help you lift the sticky spots and dried food without too much elbow grease on your part. Don’t forget to scrub at the bottom, sides, and legs of the chair. Now is also the time to banish any stains left on the high chair. If your spray-on cleaner isn’t cutting it, a cleaning eraser can do a phenomenal job lifting stains, especially out of plastic.
- Clean out the cracks. Most high chairs have at least a few cracks and seams where the different parts of the chair come together. Even though the cracks are small, plenty of crumbs and drips can collect between them. For a truly deep clean, it’s best to try and clear out the food wedged in these crevices. I use a toothpick, and run it along the crack. It does a good job of getting out the dried food, making it easy to wipe off the chair.
- Wipe down with a damp cloth. After spraying and scrubbing, a final wipe down with a water-dampened cloth can help clean up any food residue that might be left.
Why you should keep your high chair clean
Keeping your child’s high chair clean is about more than just good hygiene. A small study conducted by Microban, an antimicrobial product company, found that restaurant high chairs harbor more bacteria than public toilet seats.
Although your home high chair is likely cleaner than a restaurant high chair, the message is clear: high chair cleanliness is important. Any bacteria lingering on your child’s high chair is likely to make its way directly into your child’s mouth. If you wash and sanitize your own plate after each use, it’s only natural you do the same for your child’s high chair.
How to sanitize your high chair
Sanitizing your child’s high chair can happen after each use. You’ll need some hard-surface sanitizer or disinfectant, some soapy water, and a sponge or washcloth.
- Wipe down the high chair using the soapy water until all food residue is gone.
- Rinse off the high chair by wiping it off with a clean, damp towel.
- Sanitize the high chair by spraying the hard-surface sanitizer. Make sure you let the solution air dry and choose a sanitizer that is all-natural and safe for your little one.
How often should you clean the high chair
You can, and probably should, sanitize your baby’s high chair after each use. If you don’t use sanitization spray, you should at least make sure that you wipe off any food residue so it doesn’t get stuck on the chair.
You should deep-clean your child’s high chair once a week for optimal cleanliness. If you notice any weird smells, sticky spots, or stains, extra cleaning might be in order.