If your darling toddler is likely to be getting into the festive spirit this Christmas and decking the halls, walls and their high chair with the contents of their feeding bowl, then having a high chair that’s easy to clean is a must.
In fact, in our March 2020 survey of 1,625 parents with a child under five, 44% said that the most important feature they look for when buying a high chair is one that’s easy to clean.
That’s ahead of other features such as how sturdy it is (28%) and whether it’s value for money (24%).
Read on to find out what goes into our high chair cleaning tests and which ones we’ve tested that have scored well for it.
How to spot a high chair that’s easy to clean
Our rigorous lab tests check a range of things including how easy the high chair is to clean.
To do this, we smear the high chair with Bolognese and apple puree to see how easily it stains the chair or any padding, and we sprinkle the chair with crumbs to check if there are any folds or creases where these will accumulate.
We check how easy the covers are to remove from the frame and whether they’re machine or hand-washable.
We also note if the high chair tray is removable, or has a removable insert, as that can make clearing up much easier.
If you’re looking to buy a high chair, these are the designs and features to look out for if you want a product that’s easy to clean.
- Smooth moulded plastic Anything with sharp edges or deep crevices will be a haven for bits of squashed food and grime.
- Darker colour schemes This isn’t always easy as baby products tend to use quite pale colours, but seat covers and padding that are navy or red for example are less likely to show up stubborn stains. This is also something to look for with the harness, as the textured or woven material used for it can sometimes mean food stains are harder to remove.
- Removable trays If you can lift off the food tray from the main high chair, it not only makes it easier to get your child into the seat, but can make it less effort to clear food off it. Some high chairs have a tray insert that can also be quickly flipped out to wipe down.
- Machine washable cover The Holy Grail of high chair features – being able to remove the cover and machine wash it is rare as manufacturers often worry that doing this will shrink it and then you can’t fit it back on. However, if you spot a high chair that has this, it could be worth considering. Our ‘Tech Specs’ tab on our reviews will tell you if the high chairs we test has this option.
Check out our high chair reviews.
Five easy to clean high chairs
All the high chairs below got the maximum five stars for cleaning. However, make sure you check the full review to find out if other important features mean it’s a high scoring product overall.
BabyBjorn high chair, £204
Probably best known for their baby carriers and bouncers, Swedish baby brand BabyBjorn also has a high chair as part of their range of products.
With minimal crevices, this makes it less likely to trap chunks of carrot or smears of dried up gravy. However, at more than £200 it’s definitely an investment piece.
Read our review of the BabyBjorn high chair to find out how it scored in our other areas of testing, including comfort, assembly and ease of feeding.
Beaba Up & Down high chair, £140
As the name suggests, the Beaba Up & Down can be adjusted to six different heights to provide a choice depending on the height of your table.
It has a removable tray and smooth bucket-style seat that while white, was still easy to clean during our tough ‘Bolognese test’.
Read the full review to find out what our panel of parent tests thought of the chair when trying it with their child.
The Graco Contempo has been on the market for years – we first tested it in 2009, and then again in 2018.
The padded seat cushion is removable which means it should be much easier to clean as you can sponge out stains or leave it to soak (it’s not machine washable).
It’s also got a removable inner tray, which parents in our tests always rate, as it means you can lift it out easily and scrape food waste straight into the bin.
Read our review of the Graco Contempo high chair to find out how easy it is to fold and store.
Ikea Blames, £45
Ikea is a popular stop for parents looking for a high chair – the wallet-friendly Ikea Antilop high chair is one of our most popular high chair reviews on the Which? website, as parents love how easy it is to clean.
However, the Ikea Blames high chair is also a good option for an easy-to-clean high chair. The wooden frame is easy to wipe down and won’t stain like fabric covered high chairs, plus the tray can also be removed.
Find out how the Ikea Blames high chair scored for comfort for your baby and ease of assembly by reading the full review.
Phil & Ted’s Poppy, £89
The pod-like body of the Poppy high chair is covered in a soft foam insert, which should make it easy to wipe down.
The tray is smooth without any deep rims, and can be removed, so it’s easy to clean. The harness is also a dark colour so food stains won’t show up (although in our tests, the straps were easy to scrub clean anyway).
It’s worth noting that Phil & Ted’s has released an updated ‘2020+’ version of the Poppy since we tested it, which we hope to send to our lab in 2021. Until then, read our review of the Phil & Ted’s Poppy to find out how it scored in our tests.
Coronavirus and cleaning your high chair
COVID-19 can be spread from person to person or by touching dirty equipment or surfaces, including your child’s high chair.
If you’re taking advantage of the family meet-up armistice that’s happening this Christmas, you’ll want to ensure that you’ll keep all areas of your clean and hygienic as much as possible.
Just as you would wipe down your kitchen area before you invite guests into your home, we’d recommend you do the same for your child’s high chair. Follow these tips to keep your high chair as clean as possible.
- Use either soap and hot water to rinse bacteria and viruses away, or a disinfectant spray or wipe.
- Clean the tray and seat area after each meal.
- If the high chair seat cover can be machine-washed, we’d recommend you do this regularly.
- Straps can be soaked in washing up liquid to remove any food stains. Be careful of using any strong cleaning products on them as they may bleach the colour.