Sustainable Furniture

How to Clean a Bean Bag Chair

Learn how to keep all types of bean bag clean

How To Keep A Bean Bag Clean Featured

Whoever invented the bean bag chair is something of a legend. Who’d have thought that some fabric stuffed with tiny polyester balls could be so comfortable?!

Whether you’re a gamer or you love to dissolve into this comfortable squishy chair to watch a film, it’s a guarantee that your bean bag is going to see a lot of use. But, with regular use comes the big problem: how do you keep your bean bag chair clean?

Whatever the material, we’ve got you covered (just like your plush bean bag chair). Keep reading for tips for cleaning a range of different bean bag covers and tips for keeping them fresh when between cleans.

p.s. need to clean your other couch while you’re at it? Check out our guide for cleaning a couch.

How to Clean Bean Bag Chairs with Cotton Covers

Cotton is a material that takes a lot of wear, can withstand high temperatures in the washing machine, and can even go into your tumble dryer. It’s a great material if there are kids around, with their sticky fingers and clumsy ways.

If your bean bag is generally clean and there are no signs of stains, then a regular going-over with the vacuum will keep it lint and dust free. However, if it’s a chair that gets plenty of use, there may be a stale smell or a stain or two on the material.

When you open the removable cotton cover, first check to see if the beans are sealed in their own separate bag and if they are, remove this bag as one. If the filler balls inside are loose, remove the balls as carefully as possible (trust us – you really don’t want them all over your floor), putting them into a container, such as a large trash bag.

Once the balls have been removed, machine wash the cover with a little laundry detergent. Use a cool to medium heat setting and air dry once the wash is done, unless the care label states that tumble drying is fine.

How to Clean Your Bean Bag With a Suede Cover

Suede isn’t as easy to clean as cotton. You should never machine wash a suede or velvet cover, but there are other ways to stay on top of the dirt.

A vacuum cleaner will once again take off dust and crumbs. If there are stains, spot-clean these with a damp terry cloth that’s been soaked in warm water and a mild detergent. .

If the whole cover needs cleaning, first remove it and soak in a sink or tub filled with the same mix of warm water and mild detergent used above. Leave it for an hour to really help lift any stubborn or stickier stains, and then – to give it and extra clean – give it a once-over with a soft-bristled upholstery brush or even a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Brush using light, circular motions, and then when you’re done, rinse well in cold water to ensure all the soap’s gone. Don’t wring the water out, as tempting as it is. Instead, let it drip-dry over the bath or even better, outside if the weather’s good. Air dry, never tumble dry, and your cover will be good as new.

Consider investing in a suede brush or suede eraser, which is a a rubber block that allows you to rub out stains as though they were pencil errors on paper. This can be an effective way of tackling small marks and scuffs. You could try a metal suede brush but you might find it’s overkill for a bean bag.

How to Clean a Bean Bag With a Vinyl Cover

Probably the easiest of all bean bag covers to clean are vinyl bean bags! There’s no need to even remove the cover piece from the bag, although it might make it easier to get the whole thing cleaned well.

Warm water and some detergent on a damp cloth applied in a circular motion to the surface area will do the trick. A vinyl cover will even tolerate stronger cleaning products if the stain you’re trying to remove is a little bit more stubborn. Once the cleaning’s done, you’ll have the cover dry again in minutes.

Dust regularly with a clean cloth to keep it looking clean, but a vinyl bean bag chair is a dream to keep clean, even if the overall effect in your room isn’t as stylish.

Cleaning a Bean Bag With a Leather Cover

Leather is one of the most versatile and hard-wearing products that could be used in an item of furniture, and we’ve been using it for thousands of years. Even today, real leather bean bags bring warmth and class to a room and makes for a great material for bean bags.

It’s easy to clean a bean bag that’s made with leather. Run a damp cloth over the bean bag once a week, and if you need to remove stains, use a mild detergent with warm or cold water, cleaning in a circular motion. If necessary, take a soft bristled brush to more stubborn stains.

Keep your leather bean bag in tip-top condition by applying leather conditioner once every three months or so.

How to Clean a Bean Bag Chair with a Velvet Cover

Velvet should be treated in similar ways to suede, in that it should never be put into the washing machine, nor should you machine dry. Velvet is one of those materials that looks and feels great on a bean bag but can be a real pain to keep clean.

Keeping on top of it with regular spot-cleaning is going to make all the difference. Vacuum regularly as part of your household cleaning, and if there are any spills, deal with them immediately rather than letting them dry.

Warm water and mild laundry detergent will be your best friend, but it’s never a bad idea to invest in some tools to keep on top of your bean bag cover. A velvet brush is an inexpensive item and just going over the bean bag cover once a week will keep it clean.

Avoid using a stain remover unless you’re sure it won’t discolor the fabric.

It Might Look Clean… But Does it Smell Clean?

Even if our clothes look clean, they still need washing and often, it’s the scent that alerts us that it’s time they went in the wash. It’s the same with bean bag chairs.

Keeping the cover clean using the tips for each material will go a long way, but it could simply be grime and sweat that’s gone into the bag of PVC pellets. If that’s the case, freshen the pellets up by putting them in a trash bag or container, along with a sprinkling of baking soda. Give it a good shake, leave for a while, then return the pellets to the bean bag cover.

Using coffee grounds is also a nifty trick- put coffee grounds into a small, dry towel or terry cloth, tie it up with a rubber band, and slip inside the cover. This is a great way to absorb odors.

If these steps don’t help, replace the beans! You might be pulling your hair out wondering how to clean a bean bag chair that won’t smell good no matter how hard you try but fresh filler beans inside might be the answer.

How to Keep Your Bean Bags Clean (7 Tips)

Once you’ve got your bean bag clean, you’re going to wait to keep it that way:

  • Save yourself most of the work and use a vacuum on your bean bag chair regularly. A lot of marks could just be crumbs and dust.
  • Warm, soapy water and a damp cloth are your new best friend for most materials. Don’t forget those circular motions!
  • Don’t let spills dry. Tackle them immediately with your trusty damp cloth so there’s less chance of staining.
  • Stay on top of odors is half the battle. Freshen up those beans!
  • Invest in brushes for suede and velvet.
  • Never wring water out your materials: drip-dry then air dry.
  • Use a leather conditioner to keep your luxury bean bag chair in tip-top condition.


By now you’ll be fully equipped with the information of not only how to clean a bean bag chair, but how to keep it looking and smelling fresh for years of squishy comfort!