No matter how careful you are, it’s just inevitable that your baby’s high chair will get messy eventually — especially when they snatch the spoon straight from your hand or worse, bat it away from their face. Knowing how to clean your baby’s high chair in a way that is safe and effective is important for every parent. After, all this is the spot where your baby eats every single meal, so you want to keep it as germ-free as possible.
Yes, they’re going to fling strained peas everywhere, they’ll smear spaghetti sauce all over the cushion, and probably spill entire bowls of cereal down the legs and onto the floor at some point. Eventually, that yogurt they smeared under the tray will start to smell if you’re not wiping the chair down after each use.
There are plenty of easy-to-clean high chairs on the market, but even when you can take the whole thing apart to wipe every single crevice, you still want to make safe cleaning a priority.
How Often Should You Clean Your Baby’s High Chair?
“Parents should clean any visible food residue after every use,” pediatrician Dr. Natasha Burgert tells Romper. “Routine cleaning ensures that baby's food does not get contaminated with spoiled food from pervious meals, increasing the risk of food-borne illness. Plus, kids will pick up and eat just about anything — keeping the high chair clean will lessen any parent's worry that their baby is eating something unsafe.”
Basically, you should wipe down your baby’s high chair after each use and disinfect the eating surface. But in addition to a wipe-down after meals, pediatrician and author Dr. Whitney Casares tells Romper that “at the end of each day, giving the high chair a more thorough cleaning is a good idea.”
High Chair Parts To Clean After Each Use:
Using a damp cloth, you can wipe the following high chair parts down after each use to help prevent germs, gunk, and build-up of food — especially in the moving parts of your baby’s chair.
- Top of the tray
- Underneath the tray
- Behind the cushion
- Release button
In addition to a good wipe-down, the tray’s eating surface should be fully disinfected using a baby-safe cleaner or in the dishwasher (if allowed by the manufacturer) after each use as well.
“Most high chair trays can be sanitized in the dishwasher,” Casares tells Romper. “If your high chair tray can’t be cleaned in a dishwasher, use dishwashing liquid and warm water to scrub the surface, then rinse thoroughly, and dry.”
Baby-Safe Cleaning Products To Use
Every family has their own preferences when it comes to cleaning products, but experts say there are several routes you can go when choosing a baby-safe disinfectant.
“Chairs can be cleaned with simple soap and water, and allowed to air dry,” Burgert tells Romper. “After particularly messy meals or for periodic deep cleaning, a solution of diluted bleach will disinfect surfaces. If bleach or disinfecting solutions are used, all surfaces should also be well-rinsed with water and allowed to air dry.”
The type of high chair that you’re cleaning can also make a difference when you choose which cleaning products to use. For example, if you’re cleaning a wooden high chair, you want to make sure to choose a disinfectant that is safe for wooden surfaces. Be sure to read labels carefully. Burgert also tells Romper that parents who are unsure which disinfectant to use can “consult the manufacturer care guide for additional guidance.”
Casares recommends that parents who want to go the natural cleaning route can make their own vinegar mixture to clean with. “Disinfect the chair every few days by wiping it with a natural disinfectant like a 50:50 mix of vinegar and water, which will kill germs but won’t leave behind a long-lasting residue,” she tells Romper.
But what about parents who just want to pick up a disinfectant at the grocery store? “When looking for commercially-manufactured products, choose food-safe options specifically approved for food contact surfaces,” Casares says.
Below are a few kid-safe cleaning supplies to consider.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Romper's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
How To Deep Clean Your Baby’s High Chair
It is inevitable that your baby’s high chair or booster seat — regardless of the type — will need a periodic deep clean to scrub away built-up gunk. Melissa Maker, a mom and YouTube creator of Clean My Space, tells Romper that “a deep clean is appropriate monthly if the highchair is given a regular wipe down.”
One of Maker’s best tips for parents as they deep clean their baby’s high chair is to “have a cleaning toothbrush, and a bowl of dish soap and water handy.” She says that using an enzyme-based cleaner (she recommends Bac-Out) can help to break down stains and odors from food.
Maker says to follow these steps to deep clean your baby’s high chair:
- Disassemble the parts of the chair as much as possible. Depending on your chair or booster seat, this may involve removing the tray, unbuckling the straps, or removing the seat pad. “It just makes accessing nooks and crannies easier,” Maker notes.
- Spray all high chair parts down with cleaner of your choice. “Allow this to sit for a few minutes to break down dirt/build up,” Maker says.
- Next, Maker says to “use a saturated toothbrush to get into nooks and crannies and scrub out old food.”
- Once old food is loosened, “take a damp sponge and scrub clean, using a toothbrush or the scrubby side of the sponge to loosen stubborn dirt where needed,” Maker explains.
- Lastly, Maker advises using “a clean microfiber cloth soaked in water and start to do a ‘rinse’ wipe, to remove soapy residue.” You should continue this wipe down until the residue is gone.
- Dry each part of the high chair thoroughly with a cloth or allow to air dry completely before re-assembling.
In between your deep cleans, your baby’s high chair straps and seat may need a touch-up cleaning. Maker recommends that parents “scrub straps and seat pads where needed with the solution and toothbrush,” then rinse well and dry before the next use. She also says to check your manufacturers instructions, as some seat pads are machine washable and can just be thrown in the washer between deep cleans.
Dr. Natasha Burgert, MD, FAAP, pediatrician in Overland Park, KS who writes at KCKidsDoc.com
Whitney Casares, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P., author of The Working Mom Blueprint: Winning at Parenting Without Losing Yourself
Melissa Maker, YouTube Creator, Clean My Space