How to clean a crusty high chair

The Lacemaker by Basile de Loose
I always go far too long between high chair cleanings (except the tray), and it is usually truly gross by the time I get around to taking it apart and attacking it. Why, oh why, are there so many cracks and crannies in a high chair for food to hide in?

Luckily, it's not actually that hard to clean the high chair if you follow the spray and soak steps below (steps 4–5). I accidentally discovered this once when I got distracted after spraying down the high chair and came back to it later. It was so much easier to clean.

The sad news: this time around, I cleaned the high chair so we can put it away, because Tiger Lily isn't a baby any more. It's hard to believe how big she's gotten.


What you need:
  • A small vacuum, optional
  • A rag or two
  • Cleaner (I used about 1/3 vinegar, 2/3 water, with a drop of dish soap)
  • A bowl of warm water, or a sink nearby
  • A toothbrush
  • A table knife
 How to do it:
  1. Remove any loose bits, by hand or with a small vacuum.
  2. Remove the pad, then remove any more loose bits that were hiding under the pad.
  3. Decide what to do with the pad. If it's machine washable, go for it. Mine is, but after two kids, the plastic started peeling away from the cloth. Oh well.
  4. Spray your whole high chair down with cleaner. You want it pretty wet, so do this somewhere that can handle it. I did it by the kitchen sink, but you could do it in the garage or outside.
  5. Wait 5–10 minutes while the cleaner sits on the high chair and loosens up all the gunk. 
  6. Come back and start scrubbing. Use the rag everywhere you can, rinsing as necessary. Use the table knife to get off any large, stuck bits. Use the toothbrush to get in cracks and crevices. 
  7. If there is any extra-stubborn gunk, spray again and wait until it loosens up.
  8. Let it dry, then put it back together.


  1. When my children were babies I made wiping down the highchair part of the dishes and kitchen clean up. It never got gunky, sort of like a stove, if you clean it daily it never builds up.

  2. If you have a yard and a hose and live in a temperate climate, outside cleaning with a little soap is the easiest and best way to clean a dirty high chair.