Feeding time with your baby can become a messy affair. Food can spill onto the high chair and little fingers, which have played in the dropped meal, can grab at the straps of the chair.
Another threat can come from mold and mildew while the chair is stored away. If your home is susceptible to moisture in the air, this problem can become a major issue.
The ease of cleaning high chair straps depends on if they are removable or not. That doesn’t mean that non-detachable straps can’t be cleaned, they need a different process. Cleaning the straps will keep your baby safe from germs and bacteria.
A simple wipe with a cloth won’t eliminate the problem. It takes disinfecting or sanitizing to eliminate those nasty invisible threats to your baby’s health.
Let’s show you how to keep your high chair straps hygienically clean.
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Washing removable straps
High chair straps that can be taken off the chair are by far the easiest ones to clean. You can pop them into a washing machine, or dishwasher, or just have them bathe in a solution overnight.
The straps should be easy to detach from the chair. If you’re not sure how to do so, look at the manufacturer’s instructions.
Once you have removed them from the chair, you’re ready to go.
Cleaning the straps through soaking
This is an ideal option if you are concerned about damaging the straps in a washing machine, or the manufacturer’s instructions recommend hand washing.
You will need:
- a toothbrush (or similar medium to soft-bristled brush)
- a knife or plastic scraper (an old credit card will work)
- a bucket or basin
- laundry detergent (we recommend Tide as it is such a powerful cleanser) or you can use dish soap such as Dawn (they have a range of fragrances that make your high chair smell gorgeous such as Apple Blossom)
To clean the straps begin by gently scrubbing at any stuck-on food with the toothbrush. You don’t want to apply too much pressure as you could end up damaging the straps.
More stubborn dirt will require scraping off with the knife or your plastic scraper. Again, proceed with care so that the straps aren’t ruined.
Now that the major gunk is taken care of, it’s time to soak the straps.
Fill your bucket or basin with warm water and laundry/dish soap. Read the instructions for the soap to work out how much you should add to the water.
Mix the water and soap and then place your straps into the solution. Let them soak for 24 hours.
If the stains on the straps are deeply ingrained you could add some baking soda or vinegar to the soapy water. The baking soda can also aid in eliminating any unwanted smells.
Remove the straps from the bucket/basin and rinse them thoroughly.
Pat the straps dry or let them air dry.
Using a washing machine
If you use this method you want to keep the straps protected from harm as well as prevent them from getting stuck somewhere in the machine. A mesh wash bag will cover both potential issues.
Once you have them safely secured in the bag, it’s simply a matter of popping the straps into the washing machine with the rest of your clothes.
You may want to check the manufacturer’s recommendation to see what’s better: a cold or hot wash.
Wash the straps in a dishwasher
Using a dishwasher to clean your high chair straps may seem unusual, but it is possible.
However, you will find some people don’t recommend it as an option. The issue these people point out is the fact that the heat from the dishwasher can cause the straps to lose their shape.
Yet, washing the straps in the dishwasher along with the high chair tray and your child’s plates and utensils is so convenient.
If you want to try this option, proceed with caution. Place the straps on the top rack. This is the best part of the dishwasher for more delicate items.
For those of you who are trying this method for the first time, start with the coolest setting possible to effectively clean the straps and other items within the dishwasher. You can slowly increase the water temperature for each additional wash.
If you are still unsure about this method, you can use a spare strap to experiment with.
How to clean non-removable high chair straps
Some chairs come with straps that can’t be detached. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s still possible to get them clean.
You’ll need to gather up your cleaning equipment:
- laundry or dish soap
- a toothbrush
- microfibre cloths
- baking soda
- a bowl
- knife or scraper
Once you have got your kit together it’s time to clean.
In your bowl mix the water, laundry/dish soap, baking soda, and vinegar together.
Dip one of your microfiber cloths into the bowl and then wring out any excess water. Wipe down the straps, rubbing at those areas in which the food is well stuck.
If the food refuses to budge, wrap your cloth around the strap and leave it for several minutes. After that, remove the cloth and use your knife/scraper to tackle those stubborn leftovers.
For deep stains, you will want to use a separate baking soda solution: mix water and baking soda together until you have a paste.
Apply the paste to those heavily stained areas. Leave the paste on the strap for 30 minutes, then scrape it away. Wipe down the strap with a microfiber cloth dipped in warm water.
Once you have given the straps a good clean, allow them to air dry.
Removing the really stubborn stains
Some stains may need heavy-duty treatment. Anything that is red such as strawberry or tomato sauce stains are famous for being difficult to remove. Yet, that doesn’t limit the stains to only one color or type.
Ingrained stains aren’t impossible to get rid of. You just need to up your cleaning game. Try one of these methods:
1. Use some lemon juice
If you don’t want to use a harsh chemical like bleach, the juice of lemons is an option worth considering. It is a natural bleach that can remove stains from fabric, plastics, and more.
Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice onto the stain. You can gently rub some salt over the area to force the juice deeper into the strap.
If the strap is removable, give it a good rinse-off to remove the juice and the salt. Then allow the strap to dry.
Feel free to add in a touch of baking soda for extra bleaching power.
2. Vinegar and baking soda
Just like lemon juice, these are both natural bleachers. Combine them and you have a powerful pair of stain removers.
Mix the vinegar and baking soda and then apply the solution to the stain. Having the baking soda only partly dissolve allows the fine grains to be more abrasive and attack the stained fibers.
If you have detachable high chair straps, soak them in the solution. For those straps that you can’t remove, either apply the solution with a cloth or toothbrush.
3. Use some bleach
Bleach can remove stains, but you have to be careful. If you use too much then you run the risk of discoloring the high chair straps. That may not seem like a big issue, but for those who live things to be aesthetically pleasing, it can be annoying.
Add bleach and cold water into a basin or bucket. Start by spot testing a small indiscreet part of the strap. If you are happy with the result then allow the straps to soak in the bleach for half an hour.
If you can’t remove your straps, you can try tying a bleach-soaked cloth around the straps.
A word of precaution
No matter what method you use, make sure that you give the straps a good wash (or wipe down for the non-removable types). You don’t want any residue left on them.
Baking soda and bleach can both have the potential to irritate your baby’s skin.
Removing mold from the straps
Mold is always a health hazard and needs to be dealt with as soon as you discover it. Removable high chair straps make the task that much simpler.
All you need to do is take them off and pop them into your washing machine (if the manufacturer allows that). If you can’t use a washing machine, then hand wash them.
But, whether the straps are removable or not you can deal with mold and mildew using any of the methods we have mentioned.
If you do have to store the high chair away in a location that may be prone to moisture, you can keep the mold at bay:
Cover the chair in a sealable bag. Within the bag place several packets of silica gel or another type of moisture absorbent material.
Finish the task with disinfectant
Though cleaning the straps will take care of the germs, it doesn’t hurt to complete the job using a disinfectant. You can either get a spray or use baby wipes.
Give the straps and the entire chair a good going-over with the disinfectant.
High chair straps can harbor a range of germs and bacteria that threaten your baby’s health. Giving them a clean will ensure that you keep your wee one safe during feeding time.
Removable straps are simpler to clean as you can detach them and pop them into your washing machine (if the manufacturer says it’s okay). You can hand wash non-removable straps.
If mold of an issue where you live, try and store the high chair somewhere in which there is little moisture in the air. You can use silica gel to help keep the moisture at bay.
The high chair and straps are clean and safe. What a great parent you are.