Just like any other piece of furniture, office chairs can get dirty and smelly over time. An office chair can become a breeding ground for allergens and bacteria without regular cleaning.
Plus, a dirty office chair isn’t great for business. So, in this article, we’ll discuss how to clean an office chair. We’ll also consider the different materials that make up office chairs.
Let’s dive in!
What Do I Need to Clean Office Chair?
The equipment you should get depends on how deep you want to clean the chair.
For routine maintenance, you can clean your office chair with these items:
- A vacuum cleaner: Some vacuums have attachments designed to remove allergens like dust from furniture.
- Two to three clean, soft pieces of cloth: Either use an old cotton shirt, rags that don’t leave behind lint, or microfiber cloth.
- Dishwashing soap: Any kind can work.
- A small bowl or a spray bottle: To apply the soap.
- (Optional) A duster or a can of compressed air: They reach into the tight little spaces that your vacuum might not be able to access.
For removing stubborn stains, or deep cleaning, we recommend that you use these items:
- Vinegar, alcohol, or laundry detergent: Troublesome stains that aren’t cleaned out by dish soap require more potent cleaning agents. These can do just the trick.
- Upholstery cleaner: You may consider investing in this product for the deepest cleaning.
What Are Cleaning Codes?
Any piece of furniture typically has cleaning codes. You’ll find them on the chair tags upon purchase. These codes can also be found under the cushion if it’s detachable.
These letters tell you what cleaning agents you can use for the chair. Checking these cleaning codes can save you a lot of trouble later.
Typically, the codes are W, S, or S/W. Respectively, they mean:
If the cleaning code is W, you will have an easier time cleaning your office chair.
This code signifies water, meaning that you can clean the chair with a water-based detergent. Typically, the chair is made of artificial fabrics, such as nylon and polyester. Leather is also under Code W.
You usually won’t need special cleaning agents other than some soap.
The cleaning code S means that the chair can only be dry-cleaned with cleaning solvents, as its materials won’t react well to water. These include organic fabrics such as wool, silk, cotton, and linen.
Don’t apply a dry cleaner directly on the chair when you use a dry cleaner. Instead, soak the chair first with a cloth. Only then can you use the cleaner on the chair.
You should clean a chair with this code using a combination of water-based detergent and cleaning solvents. Usually, you’d want to leave cleaning a chair like this to professionals because it’s pretty easy to make mistakes.
Cleaning an Office Chair: Step-by-step
Now that you know what equipment you need, as well as what the cleaning codes mean, we can now go through each of the steps.
Typically, the solution is pretty straightforward if you spill liquid on your chair. Just put a tissue or clean cloth over the spill.
Firmly keep the tissue or clean cloth in place. Gently scrub it on the spill to absorb the liquid well. If your chair has a fabric cushion, you’ll need to be especially quick with cleaning out spills.
Of course, if your chair comes with a manufacturer’s cleaning manual, follow that first. If the chair doesn’t have one or you can’t find the manual, then the steps below are a good place to start.
How To Clean Fabric Office Chair
Fabric is pretty comfortable sitting on for long periods, but it’s a magnet for dirt and debris. This is especially true if you frequently eat while sitting on your chair.
With that in mind, you can expect much dirt to collect here. You’ll have to clean out the bulk of dirt thoroughly.
- From the top down to the wheels, vacuum up any debris.
- If you find a hard-to-reach space, you can use a duster or can of compressed air to clear it out.
- Spray the office chair with some fabric cleaner, such as detergent. Apply extra cleaner to stained areas.
- Wait for ten minutes. The fabric cleaner will work in the meantime.
- Once the fabric cleaner is finished, vacuum the entirety of the chair. This removes all the extra dust the cleaner had pulled out of the fabric.
Tip: When you get to the wheels and underside, you might want to overturn the chair to its side to clean these areas thoroughly. Make sure the floor is clean, or put down a carpet before overturning the chair. This applies to all other types of office chairs.
How To Clean Leather Office Chair
If you’ve invested in a leather office chair for your use, you’ll make sure to keep it in good condition. It is a bit more sensitive to wear and tear, so you’ll have to be careful.
- Vacuum the leather office chair every few days.
- Make sure you’re using a soft brush attachment on the vacuum so the chair doesn’t get scratched.
- Remember that the suction shouldn’t be too strong to avoid any damage to the chair.
- Once a week, wipe the chair with a clean cloth. Make sure it’s a cloth that won’t leave any lint or dye. Wipe lightly, don’t scrub.
- If the chair needs a deep cleaning, take a 1:4 solution of distilled water and soap. Dampen a lint-free cloth with the solution and then wipe your chair.
- Once again, don’t scrub the chair. Be gentle when wiping it down.
- Once you’re done, remove any trace of soap or any other residue using a clean, small cloth.
- Leave the chair to dry.
How To Clean Mesh Office Chair
Mesh chairs, while comfortable due to encouraging airflow, tend to collect much dirt. You can expect to clean your office chair a lot if it’s made of mesh.
- Vacuum the office chair’s seat and back.
- Remove any crumbs inside using a hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner.
- Soak a washcloth with warm water and a mild soap solution, then clean any stains or spots.
- If the stains are stubborn, try using a stain remover. Don’t use anything that might cause the mesh to tear and fray.
- Once you’ve finished cleaning the chair, let it sit to dry. This can take up to a few hours, so plan your activities accordingly.
How To Clean Vinyl Office Chair
Vinyl is an inexpensive material with the same feel as leather but needs less maintenance. Before you start cleaning it, remove all excess spills with a wet cloth.
- With a soft brush or cloth, clean the chair with water and mild soap.
- Rinse the chair and pat it dry.
- You can opt to use concentrated cleaners to get rid of stubborn stains.
- Then, rinse the chair with water and dry it with a clean cloth.
- For persistent stains, use 6% bleach and water.
Tip: Don’t use concentrated bleaches or alcohol-based cleaners as these will damage your chair.
- Once the stains are gone, rinse with water and dry with a clean cloth.
How Do I Clean Office Chair Odors?
If a chair’s dirty, you can bet it’s also going to smell strange, if not outright bad. Maybe it’s just new. Whatever the case, you’ll want to remove these odors.
Cleaning New Office Chair Odors
Newly purchased office chairs tend to have a strong chemical scent. These can be a pain to smell in a small, enclosed space.
The most straightforward solution to these odors is to set the chairs outside in the open air to just ‘air out’.
Cleaning Old Office Chair Odors
The longer a chair is used, the more smells it can hold onto. Without regular cleaning, it can get more and more unbearable.
To clean out the odors on an older office chair, try using a fabric deodorizer. Remember to do all of this in a well-ventilated area.
- First, spray the deodorizer on the chair. Let it dissipate and spread.
- You can then spray rubbing alcohol or vinegar on the chair. This helps suppress odors and provides a more pleasant smell once the deodorizer has dried out.
- Wipe hard surfaces with a cloth soaked in soap.
- Let everything dry out completely.
A lot of the time, the odor on a chair is due to a lack of cleaning. A deep clean like the ones described above can solve the chair’s problem with odors.
You should clean your office chair regularly to keep it in good condition. How you clean it depends on what materials the chair’s made of, and how dirty it is. It’s best to clean your office chair once or twice a week to prevent the accumulation of dirt.