Bean bag chairs have been around since 1969 when the Italian company Zanotta produced the first line of chairs designed by Piero Gatti, Cesare Paolini, and Franco Teodoro. Since those first pear-shaped leather bags, bean bag chairs have filled dorm rooms, recreation rooms, and chic living spaces.
Today you can find bean bag chairs covered in suede, fake fur, vinyl, leather, cotton, or microfiber in sizes ranging from those designed for babies to giant bags that can seat multiple adults. The filling is usually expanded polystyrene (EPS), a hard-celled plastic similar to Styrofoam. Since the filler is impervious to water, there are bean bags that are sold for outdoor use.
Since bean bag chairs are often used as footstools, for kids, and in lounge areas, they can get plenty of stains. Cleaning methods depend on the outer covering but most can be cleaned with supplies you probably have on hand.
How Often to Clean a Bean Bag Chair
Just as structured, upholstered furniture should be cleaned regularly, so should bean bag chairs. Frequency of cleaning depends on the amount of use, whether you have pets, and the type of fabric. However, a couple of general rules apply.
- Spills and stains from food or mud should be cleaned up immediately for the best results.
- All types of chair coverings should be dusted using a microfiber cloth or a vacuum's upholstery brush weekly.
Equipment / Tools
- 1 Washing machine
- 1 Dryer or clothesline
- 1 Soft-bristled brush
- 1 Microfiber cloth
- 1 Spray bottle
- 1 Wide-toothed comb
- 1 Vacuum with an upholstery tool
- 1 Laundry detergent
- 1 Enzyme-based stain remover
- 1 Leather soap
- 1 Leather conditioner
- 1 Hair conditioner
- 1 Trash bag
- 1 Dishwashing liquid
How to Clean Bean Bag Chairs With Removable Washable Covers
Read the Care Tags
Every bean bag sold in the United States must have a care tag. Read it carefully to determine the best way to wash the removable cover. Follow those directions for water temperature and drying instructions.
Before you remove a washable cover, have a trash bag handy just in case the inner sac filled with pellets is ripped or torn. If the "beans" are leaking out, place the inner sac in the trash bag until you can repair the rip or dispose of the chair. Scooping up millions of tiny pellets is not simple.
Pretreat Stains and Wash
Before tossing the cover in the washer, pretreat visible stains with an enzyme-based stain remover or a dab of heavy-duty laundry detergent. Use your fingers or a soft-bristled brush to work the cleaner into the fabric. Set the cover aside and let the cleaner work for at least 15 minutes and then wash as directed.
Dry and Reassemble
Follow the care instructions for drying. If you are unsure, air-dry on a clothesline to help prevent shrinkage from overheating in the dryer. Reassemble the bean bag chair.
How to Clean Leather Bean Bag Chairs
Whether the outer covering is removable or not, leather should not be tossed in the washer. If you have a faux-leather or vinyl bean bag, it can be cleaned with just a damp cloth and a bit of dishwashing liquid.
Mix a Cleaning Solution
In a small bowl, mix a solution of warm water and a saddle or Castile soap.
Wipe Down the Leather
Dip a microfiber cloth in the soapy solution and wring until just damp. Start at the top and wipe down the leather cover. Rinse the cloth frequently to remove accumulated soil.
Dry and Condition
Allow the leather to air-dry, then, following the product directions, apply a leather conditioner to keep the leather soft and supple.
How to Clean a Faux Fur Bean Bag Chair
Most faux fur covers are removable and washable. Always read and follow the care tag guidelines.
Use the Gentle Cycle
Set the washer on the gentle cycle and the lowest spin cycle setting. This will help prevent excessive tangling from too much agitation.
Air-Dry and Fluff
Never place faux fur in a hot dryer. It can melt! Allow the cover to air dry. If it is tangled, use a wide-toothed comb to loosen up stubborn fur.
Smooth the fibers by mixing one teaspoon of hair conditioner with two cups of warm water in a spray bottle. Spritz a small area of the fur and use the comb to gently untangle the fur. Work in a small area and comb slowly. If fibers come out, then you are combing too hard. When the faux fur is smooth, wipe down the cover with a clean, damp white cloth and allow to air-dry.
How to Clean a Suede Bean Bag Chair
Microfiber, velour, or velvet mimic the soft, plush finish of real suede but can be cleaned more easily. Most microfiber covers are machine-washable. Again, read the care label. Natural suede leather needs much different care.
Vacuum or Brush
Real suede cannot withstand wet cleaning. Begin by vacuuming the suede covering with an upholstery tool or brush thoroughly with a soft-bristled brush.
For oily stains, sprinkle the area with cornstarch or talcum powder. Let it sit for at least four hours to help draw the oil out of the suede. Brush or vacuum away the powder and repeat until the stain is gone.
For wet stains, blot the suede with a clean white cloth and allow the area to dry. Use a brush to lift any pile that has been flattened.
For mud stains, allow the mud to dry for easier removal. Brush it away and vacuum well.
Use a stain and water repellant product to treat suede bean bag chairs when they are new for easier cleaning.