You use the chairs in your office every day, and they’re bound to get dirty even if you’re careful. To ensure your chairs look their best year after year, take these tips for the regular cleaning and maintenance of all upholstery types.
General Chair Care
Always test cleaning techniques on an inconspicuous spot first. Try the bottom of the chair, the back, or anywhere else that doesn’t show. Make sure you test an unseen spot before you try a new cleaning method on the whole chair. Even if you only use a mild soap, you never know how certain substances might react with your specific chair. Testing a hidden spot first will ensure you don’t damage an important part of the furniture.
Remove stains immediately. The longer a stain sits, the harder it is to remove. Do yourself a favor and clean it up now.
Beware of breathing in harsh chemicals. If using a cleaning agent that has a strong scent or chemical smell, only clean in a well-ventilated area.
Always check your chair for a tag with cleaning instructions. Most office chairs have a tag under the seat that outlines care tips. Look there first before beginning any cleaning.
How to Clean Office Chairs
Fabric upholstery can usually be cleaned using water-based cleaning agents or water-free solvents. First, vacuum any crumbs that may be hiding in cracks and crevasses. If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner handy, use a can of compressed air. Next, mix a few drops of mild soap in a bucket of water. Using a soft, lint-free cloth, wipe this on your test spot first. If it looks good, wipe down the entire chair, then use a second lint-free cloth to wipe it dry.
Genuine leather upholstery can be cleaned in 1 of 3 ways: store-bought leather cleaner, vinegar and linseed oil, or rubbing alcohol and water. For a more detailed description of how to clean and maintain a leather office chair, read our guide to cleaning and maintaining leather furniture here.
Faux leather and vinyl are easier to care for than real leather. In many cases, you can clean faux leather and vinyl using water-based cleaners in the same manner as fabric upholstery, and many vinyl options can even be cleaned with bleach solutions. Double-check the tag on your chair for any special instructions to avoid damage. Read our guide to leather upholstery to learn more.
Mesh chairs should be vacuumed regularly, as crumbs tend to get caught in the little spaces. Any remaining dirt or stains can be removed using a damp cloth, but do not drag the cloth across the mesh, as this can cause the material to fray. Instead, dab any problem areas until clean.
Plastic chairs can be cleaned with soap and water, but avoid using bleach, which can damage the material. For stains, dampen a soft cloth with white distilled vinegar and wipe. Baking soda on a wet sponge can also create a mild abrasive that eats away stains without damaging your plastic.
Wood chairs need cleaning too! Regularly wipe down your wood chairs with a dry lint-free cloth. For deeper cleaning, choose a wood polish and apply it to the chair in small amounts using a cloth. Like with your upholstery, you’ll want to test your polish on an inconspicuous area before going over the entire piece of furniture.Metal chairs are relatively maintenance-free and can be wiped down with a damp cloth with or without mild soap.