blue bean bag

How to Clean a Bean Bag

Bean bags are not just cosy additions to your living space, they are versatile, comfortable, and can easily become a favourite spot for relaxation.

However, with regular use, they are bound to encounter spills, stains, and the general wear and tear of daily life.

Proper cleaning is essential to ensure your bean bag maintains its like-new appearance. This guide on how to clean a bean bag walks you through the steps to effectively clean bean bags made from various materials.

Whether they’re made of cotton fabric, leather, or suede, you’ll find a straightforward cleaning solution and maintenance tips here.


How Do You Clean a Bean Bag Chair?

Cleaning a bean bag chair will depend on the type of material it’s made of. Here are general guidelines for cleaning common types of bean bag chairs:

Step 1: Read the care instructions

green bean bag care label

Although all bean bags have the same filling, the outer materials vary substantially. You can find bean bags made from cotton, polyester, suede, vinyl, plush fabrics, faux fur, and more.

All these materials have unique characteristics and aren’t all suitable for the same washing methods. 

Therefore, before you start cleaning, check the bean bag’s label for upholstery cleaning codes. This will give you specific guidance on how to clean your particular bean bag chair without damaging it.

If you can’t find this information, don’t worry. We give some general guidelines for special fabric types down below to help prevent damage.


Step 2: Spot cleaning

spot cleaning bean bag

If you spill something on your bean bag chair, it’s best to act quickly and spot-treat the spill.

This is useful for two reasons:

  1. The quicker you clean up the mess, the less time the substance has to penetrate the bean bag fibres and the less likely it will permanently stain the material.
  2. By spot-treating spills as and when they happen, you remove the need for having to wash the entire bean bag chair. It’s a much quicker and easier approach.

Start by using a dry towel to mop up the spillage, leaving only the stain behind. You’ll then want to use a mild washing-up liquid, which can be applied directly, or a mixture of water and a gentle cleaning solution to treat the stain. Always test the cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t damage the fabric.

If you don’t notice any damage or discolouration, gently blot the stain with a clean cloth or sponge dipped in the cleaning solution, as you would when spot-treating a pillow. For stubborn stains, let the soap sit for 30 minutes before rinsing with cold water.


Step 3: Wash the entire bean bag

machine or hand wash bean bag

For bean bag chairs needing a general refresh to remove dirt accumulated through day-to-day use, you need to wash the entire bag.

If your bean bag has removable beans or filling, empty them into a clean container or bag. This will make it easier to clean the cover. You can then wash the bean bag cover either:

  • In the washing machine: If the cover is machine washable (remember to check the cleaning codes), remove it and follow the instructions for washing. Use warm water, a gentle cycle, and mild detergent. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals that could damage the fabric.
  • By hand washing: If the cover is not machine washable, you can hand wash it in a bathtub or large basin. Use a mild detergent and agitate the water gently using your fingers. Add the bean bag cover and let it soak before scrubbing and rinsing with clean water. You can find more detailed instructions on hand washing
  • At a professional dry cleaners: If the cover is labelled as dry clean only, you’ll need to take it to a professional cleaner or dry clean it at home. Avoid attempting to wash using water, as certain fabrics (such as suede and leather) may be damaged when saturated in liquid.

If your bean bag doesn’t have a removable cover, you’ll need to scrub it by hand. Spot-treat all stains first. Then, wet a cloth with a mild detergent and gently rub the entire surface.

Wipe off using a wet towel and repeat the process until all dirt, grime, and cleaner have been removed.


Step 4: Dry the bean bag cover

Unless you had your bean bag dry cleaned, in which case it’s already dry, you need to allow the cover to dry before using it again.

For bean bags with a removable filling, there are several drying options. Firstly, you can hang the cover on a clothes airer.

Weather permitting, you can also let it air out in the sunlight. Sunlight can help kill any remaining bacteria and freshen up the fabric further.

Depending on the cover material, it may also be safe to put in the tumble dryer.

If you have a bean bag with a non-removable cover, do not put it in the tumble dryer. The beans inside will get ruined and might be a fire hazard.

Leave it to air dry, ideally placing it in front of a fan to help speed up the process.


Step 5: Reassemble the bean bag

white bean bag and styrofoam refills

Once dry, reassemble the bean bag chair. Refill it with the beads/filling you set aside earlier, making sure to distribute them evenly.

It’s important to do this only after the cover is completely dry, as getting the filling wet can cause the bean bag to lose its fluffy appearance.

If your bean bag chair looked saggy before washing, now is also a good opportunity to replace the filling with new beans.

It’s also a good idea to do this if there was an accident—for example, your dog peed on the bean bag.

Buy new filling online and use this to stuff the cover for a bean bag chair that looks and smells as good as new!


Can a Bean Bag Be Washed in the Washing Machine?

blue bean bag and washing machine

Whether or not a bean bag can be washed in the washing machine depends on several factors:

  • Whether the bean bag cover is removable: You shouldn’t put an entire bean bag in the washing machine as the filling may deteriorate when wet. Therefore, only those with removable covers can be machine-washed.
  • The material the cover is made from: Bean bags come in various materials, and some special fabrics are unsuitable for machine washing. This includes bean bags made from suede, leather, and faux fur, which can get damaged in the washing cycle.
  • The size of your bean bag and washing machine: Even if the cover is removable and made from a washing machine-safe material, your bean bag should only go in the washing machine if it fits. This depends on the capacity of your washer and the size of the bean bag.

Always consult the care label for washing instructions for your specific bean bag. We suggest hand washing the bean bag chair or taking it to a professional cleaner for advice if unsure.


How Do You Clean a Bean Bag Made from Special Materials?

Cleaning bean bags made from cotton, canvas, polyester, or polyester blends is straightforward. Use the method above to spot-treat stains, wash the bean bag cover, and dry it at home.

However, bean bags made from special fabrics require different approaches depending on the material.

Here are general guidelines for cleaning bean bags made from common fabrics:

Faux leather or vinyl bean bags

leather beanbags

  • Avoid heat: Keep faux leather or vinyl away from direct heat sources, as excessive heat can cause damage to the material.
  • No machine washing: Do not machine wash faux leather or vinyl covers. Instead, use a damp cloth with mild soap to wipe down the surface of the bean bag. Avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the material.


Linen, velvet and velour bean bags

dog on orange velvet bean bag

  • Dry cleaning: Most bean bags made from linen, linen blends, velvet, or velour are marked as dry clean only. Take it to a professional cleaner to avoid causing damage.
  • Spot cleaning: If dealing with small spills or stains, you can deal with the problem at home. Use a mild detergent or a mixture of water and a gentle cleaning solution to spot-clean the stain. Blot using a clean cloth or sponge.


Bean bags with a waterproof coating

  • Wipe clean: You need to be cautious of the heat and type of detergents used, as they can potentially destroy the waterproof coating. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the surface or mild soap for tougher stains. Never put the cover in the washing machine.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals: Do not use harsh chemicals when washing these bean bags, as they can also damage the waterproof coating.


Suede bean bags

  • Dry cleaning: Suede is generally unsuitable for water-based cleaning methods, including washing and steam cleaning. Dry cleaning is often the recommended approach for suede.
  • Stain removal: You can use a suede brush or eraser to gently remove small dry stains or dirt at home. For wet stains, use a dry cloth to blot the stain gently. Use a suede cleaner or a mixture of white vinegar and water for tougher wet stains.
  • Protective spray: Consider applying a suede protector spray to help repel stains and water. Follow the product instructions and perform a spot test first.


Leather bean bags

dark blue bean bag

  • Wipe clean: Leather is unsuitable for machine washing or being soaked in water. When cleaning, use a damp cloth with a small amount of mild soap. Wipe the leather gently, avoiding excessive moisture.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals: Do not use harsh chemicals, bleach, or abrasive cleaners on leather, as they can damage the material. Use these leather cleaning products
  • Conditioning: Leather can benefit from occasional conditioning to maintain its suppleness and prevent drying or cracking. Use a leather conditioner following the product instructions.


How Do You Clean Bean Bag Mess?

If you’re not careful when filling and refilling the bean bag, it’s easy for some of the beads from inside to make a mess.

These little beads can be frustrating to clean up—they’re small, they’re lightweight, and they have a tendency to scatter fast.

So, how do you clean spilt bean bag beans?  Fortunately, you only need one thing: a vacuum cleaner.

Empty the vacuum bag before you start so that you can pour the spilt filling back into the bean bag cover.

When vacuuming, hold the nozzle a few centimetres above the ground to reduce the amount of dirt you suck up with the beads.


Tips to Keep Your Bean Bag Looking Great

bean bag tips

Keeping a bean bag looking good involves more than washing every now and then—it requires regular care and maintenance.

Here are some tips to help you maintain the appearance of your favourite bean bag:

  • Spot clean promptly: Deal with spills and stains promptly. Blot any liquid spills with a clean cloth, and use a mild detergent or a specialised cleaner for spot cleaning.
  • Regular vacuuming: Vacuum the surface of the bean bag regularly to remove dust and debris. Use a soft brush attachment to avoid damaging the fabric.
  • Rotate and flip: Rotate and flip the bean bag periodically to ensure even wear. This is particularly important for bean bags that receive frequent use
  • Avoid direct sunlight: Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause fading. Position the bean bag away from direct sunlight or use curtains to block sunlight if necessary.
  • Secure zips: If your bean bag has a zip, make sure it’s securely closed to prevent accidental spills. Some bean bags come with child-resistant zips for safety.
  • Keep sharp objects away: Avoid placing sharp objects, such as keys or scissors, on the bean bag. Sharp objects can puncture the fabric and cause damage.
  • Keep indoors: If your bean bag is not designed for outdoor use, store it indoors when not in use. Exposure to the elements can deteriorate the fabric over time.
  • Use caution with pets: Be cautious about allowing pets on the bean bag, especially if they have sharp claws. Place a blanket or pet-friendly cover over the top to protect it.
  • Protect from heat sources: Keep the bean bag away from heat sources such as radiators or heaters. Excessive heat can damage the fabric and affect the filling.
  • Repair tears promptly: Inspect the bean bag regularly. If you notice any tears or damage, repair them promptly. Small tears can often be fixed with a fabric patch or a repair kit.