High chairs are essential for parents as they provide a safe and comfortable space for their little ones during mealtime.
However, kids are notoriously messy eaters! High chair straps can quickly become a breeding ground for dirt, food stains, and germs, posing potential health risks for your child.
Regularly cleaning high chair straps is therefore crucial for good hygiene and to ensure a safe environment for mealtimes.
This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of how to clean high chair straps effectively.
Continue reading to discover the best practices for keeping those straps spotless and your child happy and healthy.
How to Clean High Chair Straps Step by Step
Follow these simple steps to clean your high chair straps effectively:
1. Check the manufacturer’s instructions
Before proceeding with any cleaning method, it’s essential to review the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific high chair model.
Different high chairs may have unique cleaning requirements or material restrictions that must be considered.
Adhering to these guidelines will help maintain the quality and longevity of the high chair straps.
2. Remove the high chair straps
Children are naturally messy, and most high chairs are designed to have detachable straps that can be removed for easy cleaning.
Gently unfasten the belts from the high chair frame or harness system. If you’re unsure how to remove the straps, consult the manufacturer’s instructions or take to YouTube for handy tutorial videos.
We also recommend taking a photograph of the straps before you remove them. This gives you a reference of what they’re supposed to look like, which is extremely helpful when reinstalling the high chair straps after cleaning.
Note: If the straps are not removable, move on to the “How to Clean High Chair Straps That Don’t Come Off” section below for in-place cleaning.
3. Pre-treat stains and soiled areas
Before washing the straps, it is a good idea to pre-treat any stains or heavily soiled areas. For this, create a mixture of mild washing-up liquid and warm water.
Dampen a soft brush or cloth with this soapy mixture and gently scrub the stained spots and remove bacteria.
Even if dealing with particularly stubborn stains, avoid using abrasive brushes because they may damage the straps’ material.
Likewise, harsh chemicals can damage the fabric and pose a health risk to your little one. If you need extra cleaning power, we instead recommend adding white vinegar to the soapy water to help cut through dirt and bacteria.
4. Wash the high chair straps
Some high chair straps can be cleaned in the washing machine. If the manufacturer’s instructions recommend this, it is by far the quickest and easiest cleaning method.
Put them in a mesh bag before washing them on a gentle cycle to avoid the straps being tangled in the wash.
For most high chair straps, hand-washing is the safest and most effective cleaning method.
Fill a basin or sink with warm water and add a small amount of mild washing-up liquid.
Submerge the straps in the soapy water and gently agitate them for a few minutes. Pay attention to each strap individually to ensure all surfaces are thoroughly cleaned.
After hand washing, rinse the straps thoroughly with clean water to remove any remaining soap residue.
Soap residue left on the straps can cause skin irritation for your baby or cause dirt and grime to accumulate more quickly.
5. Allow to air dry
Once you’ve cleaned and rinsed the straps, shake off any excess water and lay them flat on a towel to dry.
Let them air dry thoroughly before reassembling them back onto the high chair, as putting damp straps back onto the high chair can bother your baby and potentially turn mouldy.
Although it can be tempting to use a tumble dryer to speed up the drying process, avoid this where possible.
Excessive heat may damage the straps or cause them to become misshapen. If you need the straps to dry quickly, we recommend putting them in a well-ventilated room or drying them outside in indirect sunlight.
You may also want to consider purchasing a spare set of straps from the manufacturer to avoid this issue each time you clean.
6. Clean the high chair frame
While the straps are drying, take the opportunity to clean the high chair frame and other plastic or metal components.
Wipe down the surface with a damp cloth and mild soapy water to remove any food residue or stains. Remember to dry the chair thoroughly to prevent rust or mould formation.
7. Reassemble the straps
Once the straps and the high chair frame are completely dry, reassemble the straps back onto the chair.
Make sure they are correctly threaded through the harness system and securely fastened according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the photograph you took at the beginning as a reference if needed.
How to Clean High Chair Straps That Don’t Come Off
If your high chair straps are not removable, cleaning them requires a slightly different approach. Here’s how you can clean them in place:
- Prepare a cleaning solution: In a spray bottle, mix equal parts of water and white vinegar or use a gentle baby-safe cleaning solution. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as they may damage the high chair’s material or pose a health risk to your child.
- Spray the straps: Generously spray the cleaning solution on the high chair straps. Make sure to cover all surfaces thoroughly, particularly stained or soiled areas. The cleaning solution will help break down and remove dirt, stains, and odours from the material.
- Wipe and scrub: Using a soft cloth or a baby-safe brush, gently wipe and scrub the straps to remove any grime and residue. Pay special attention to areas with visible stains or spills. Apply firm but gentle pressure to avoid damaging the material.
- Rinse and dry: Once you’ve cleaned the straps, dampen a clean cloth with water and wipe away any leftover cleaning solution from the fabric. Allow the straps to air dry completely before using the high chair again.
How Often Should You Clean Your Baby’s High Chair Straps
How often you need to clean high chair straps depends on both:
- How frequently you use the high chair; and
- How messy your child is at mealtimes.
As a general guideline:
- Daily cleaning: Wipe down the high chair straps with a damp cloth after each meal to remove surface dirt, spills, and crumbs. This quick daily cleaning will prevent stains from setting in and maintain a cleaner dining environment.
- Deep cleaning: Conduct a thorough deep cleaning of the high chair straps at least once a week or as needed. If you notice stubborn stains, foul odours, or visible grime, it also indicates it is time for a more comprehensive cleaning session.
- Spot cleaning: Address any spills or stains as soon as they occur rather than waiting for a deep clean to treat them. Promptly treating spills will prevent them from becoming more challenging to remove over time.
Why Regular Cleaning of High Chair Straps Is Essential
High chair straps come into direct contact with your child and their food, making them prone to accumulation of debris, spills, and bacteria.
In fact, one study found that restaurant high chairs harboured more bacteria than their toilets!
Neglecting to clean the straps can lead to unpleasant odours, stains, and even mould growth, creating an unhygienic environment for your little one.
Food residues can also attract insects and pests, posing health hazards to your child and potentially contaminating their food during mealtime.
Additionally, if left uncleaned for extended periods, the straps may deteriorate faster, reducing their lifespan and necessitating frequent replacements.
Other Tips for Tough Stains & Maintenance
- Use white vinegar for stains and odours – For stubborn stains or odours, add a small amount of white vinegar to the soapy water. Vinegar helps break down grease and stains and leaves the straps smelling fresh.
- Avoid harsh chemicals – Avoid using bleach or harsh chemical cleaners, as they may damage the straps’ material and pose health risks to your child.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions – Some fabric high chair straps are machine washable. However, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for machine washing and drying to maintain the fabric’s integrity.
- Regularly inspect the straps for signs of wear and tear – If you notice any damage, fraying, or weakened areas, consider replacing the straps promptly to ensure your child’s safety.
- Use covers and pads – Invest in high chair strap covers or pads to protect the straps from direct contact with food and spills. These covers are usually machine washable, making cleaning easier.
Hannah is a freelance content writer with a passion for cleaning. She worked her way around Australia by cleaning hostels in exchange for free accommodation and used her cleaning skills to bag her a job as a chalet host for a luxury ski company in France.