bean bag cleaning

How to Clean a Bean Bag

It is frustrating when your new bean bag is stained. I have tested many ways to clean fabrics and I hope these step-by-step actions help.

If you have a vinyl bean bag, they are the easiest type of bean bag to clean as there isn’t a weave for stains to be caught in. If water does not work, I recommend using Eucalyptus Oil to clean them.

If your bean bag is a cloth or PVC coated bean bag than warm water with some mild detergent mixed in will be the best bet to remove any stains.

Chemicals to Avoid When Cleaning Bean Bags


If your bean bags are not made of a durable material and are only suited for indoor use, they might be susceptible to staining more.

Ensure you are careful about keeping these types of bean bags away from pool water. Pool water generally contains Chlorine.

Chlorine acts as a bleaching agent, if your bean bag is “colourfast” meaning it won’t run, you will be fine. This is only for fabric where the colour pigmentation is “melted into the fabric itself”.

Some bean bags have their weave coated with colours or have their colour dyed onto the thread.

These types of fabrics have a greater risk of losing their vibrancy if harsh chemicals are used.

Unlike vinyl, which is actually made of a few layers of fabric (see below). The top layer of fabric has the colour imbedded into the fabric, so they can’t wash away.

commercial grade bean bag material
Bliss Bean Bags Vinyl Fabric


For any other type of fabric, it would be wise to avoid bleach and strong industrial cleaners. I would also recommend staying away from AJAX or cleaners that contain bleaching agents.

How to Use a Washing Machine to Clean Bean Bags


If your bean bag is machine washable, that is great.

However longer pieces of fabric tend to be caught on the “fins” inside a washing machine.

This is a problem especially at the spin cycle phase.

washing machine
Save Yourself The Damage a Washing Machine Can Cause


If you can use a washing machine, them I recommend using a washing bag to put the bean bag in.

This will help the fabric from being caught on the internal pieces of the washing machine.

washing bag
Washing Bag to Protect Your Bean Bag. Source: Amazon UK


When washing the fabric, be sure you don’t use harsh detergents (where bleach as an ingredient)

Another tip is to use a little bi-carb soda and a dash of white vinegar when putting in the detergent as well.

The combination of these two ingredients helps to “whiten” the bean bags without the harsh effect bleach has.

Bi-carb and cleaning vinegar can be bought from any local supermarket as well.

Worst Stains For Bean Bags and How to Clean Them


There are stains that aren’t that bad like apple juice, then there are stains like permanent markers.

We have tested the most common stains and I now realise the sooner you treat a stain the better off you are.

An example of a terrible stain would be black ink left to bake in the sun on a 40-degree day!

The combination of permanent ink blended with heat can really embed a stain into fabric.

Unfortunately, there is nothing much you can do but prevent such a stain for indoor only bean bags. I will expand on this in the next section.

However, if you have a true outdoor piece of fabric to clean, there are a couple of things you can do.

1. Soak the stain with water and a little dab of detergent
This should loosen the coloured particles of the stain and begin the process of cleaning it.

2. Use a little bicarb right on the stain and rub it into the stain.
A great addition to using the bi-carb is to use a little bit of cleaning vinegar (as mentioned above) or some lemon. The low level of acid in these latter ingredients will help break the stain up.

3. If you have an outdoor bean bag, (like vinyl) then apply undiluted Eucalyptus Oil.
This really is like a magic wand for really tough stains.

The oil will remove 90% of tough stains and all that is required is a little elbow grease.

Preventing Your Bean Bag from Getting Stains


I hate hearing “Prevention is better than cure” especially when it is too late.

However, it is worth mentioning that if you can protect your bean bag from stains in the first place you will be much better off.

Products like scotch guard on fabric made of a weave will help a lot.

I also recommend, spraying on a coating of scotch guard, waiting an hour or so to dry, then apply a second spray of the product.

This second layer will catch the parts the first spraying missed.

Using a towel to cover your bean bags works wonders outdoors when they are in use.

The addition of a cheap throw rug covering your bean bag can also save you headaches down the track as well.

And there are a ton of cheaper throw rugs in the market these days from stores like Kmart.

Watch Out for The Damage Water Can Cause


By now you have realised a common theme to clean bean bags is the addition of water.

Water used too liberally can be a problem though.

If your bean bags are left outside and are not protected from Mould and Mildew it can spell disaster.

True outdoor fabrics use have mould and mildew prevention elements “built into” the fabric.

And some are just coated with these compounds.

They both work to prevent mould, however the products that are just ‘coated’ will soon wear away.

Mould is a killer to any fabric if left untreated, so be sure you allow your bean bags to completely dry before using them again.

The other problem is the damage water can cause to the zipper on bean bags.

If water is left to pool by the zipper line, it can cause the zipper to cease up and you won’t be able to open them again.

Again, allowing them to completely dry before using will solve this for you.



I hope this post helps to keep your bean bags clean all year round.

Depending on the fabric your bean bags are made from makes a difference to how you should treat them when stains appear.

Try to stick to less abrasive chemicals and cleaners.

As this can sometimes cause more harm than good.

If I can help with any questions you have about keeping bean bags clean, then please let me know.

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