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How to Clean Your Office Chair

Office Cleaning
Office Cleaning
Staff Writer
May 17, 2021
Staff Writer
May 17, 2021
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We often don't notice the damage to our office chairs until they are worn out or close to breaking. These stains aren’t just eyesores, they can become breeding grounds for various types of bacteria and mold that could make you sick, and emit a foul odor from your chair. 

By cleaning out your chair, not only will you feel better sitting in it, but you might prevent yourself from getting sick, too! But before you go searching for "life hacks” on how to clean your office chair, here's our comprehensive guide on office chair cleaning:

How to Clean Office Chairs

You’ll only need some common household cleaning staples to clean and sanitize your office chair. You can virtually clean any chair with a vacuum cleaner, and a DIY cleaning solution made with mild dish soap and water. Here’s how:

  1. Mix together dish soap and water in a 1:16 ratio, and place the mixture in a spray bottle for convenient cleaning.
  2. Vacuum up your entire chair: from the seat and the backrest, to the wheels, hinges, and legs of the chair. Use the upholstery attachment to get into the nooks and crannies.
  3. Use a soft cloth dampened with the dish soap solution, and wipe your chair clean. Go over the entire surface multiple times until your cloth comes back free of dirt.
  4. Use another cloth dampened with plain water to “rinse” out the soap. 
  5. Let the chair dry before using. 

Stain Removal

For stain removal, you’ll need hydrogen peroxide, which may bleach fabrics so it is best to use this solution on white to light colored surfaces. Vinegar and baking soda will work just as well, but may have an off putting smell while the mixture is still wet.

  1. Use pure or diluted hydrogen peroxide, and spot clean the stains. Apply a moderate amount of hydrogen peroxide onto stained spots, and let it sit for a minute or two. 
  2. Alternatively, you can use a paste made from baking soda and white vinegar to remove the stain the same way.
  3. Use a dry cloth to blot out the stained marks. Keep blotting until the stain is gone. 
  4. Let the chair dry, and vacuum up any residue if using the baking soda paste method.

Disinfection

You may also disinfect your office chair with plain rubbing alcohol. You will want to test the reaction of the chair material to alcohol, however, by applying a small amount of alcohol on a discreet part of your chair, like the underside. To disinfect your chair: 

  1. Place 70% rubbing alcohol (isopropyl or ethyl) into a spray bottle.
  2. Spray the entire chair until the surface is covered in the solution.
  3. Use a cloth to wipe dry, or let your chair air dry to get the full effects of disinfection. 

Remember that different types and materials of chairs require different cleaning methods. Some materials, like fabrics and plastic, are more forgiving than others. Leather, mesh, and suede chairs may require higher levels of maintenance than fabric chairs, so it is important to know how to properly clean these materials to avoid damaging them.

How to Clean Different Types of Office Chairs

Before you proceed with any of the following cleaning methods, make sure to spot test a small area of the chair before cleaning the entire seat. If you're using abrasive products, always default to the instructions on the box or label.

Your furniture may have tags that will have cleaning instructions on them. Usually, these are labeled with a lettered cleaning code, making it useful for you to surmise which cleaning method to use. A brief overview of the possible tags that could be on your office chair:

  • "W" for spot cleaning using water-based cleaning products
  • "S" for cleaning using a dry-cleaning solvent or a water-free product
  • "SW" or "WS" means you can use either of the two methods listed above
  • "X" means that you'll need to have your chair cleaned by a professional
  • "C" stands for Crypton cleaning, which utilizes a powdered enzyme detergent and water, or a commercial Crypton upholstery cleaner

1. "W" — Water-Based Cleaning

Water-based cleaning is usually reserved for 100% polyester furniture with acrylic or latex backing. If your office chair falls under this label, then here's what you'll need to do to clean it:

  1. Vacuum the chair on low suction to remove any debris without ruining the upholstery.
  2. Mix a few drops of mild liquid soap such as dish detergent with a cup of water.
  3. Spot test on an inconspicuous part of the chair to ensure that the solution doesn't erode the color or texture of the seat.
  4. If all is well, apply the solution to the rest of the stained area. Do this by dampening a clean cloth with the solution and then blotting at the stain. To avoid damaging the upholstery, do not pour the solution directly onto it.
  5. Repeat the process until the stain is removed.

2. “S” — Water-free Solvent Cleaning

Some office chairs will require that you use a water-free solvent or a dry cleaning solvent for cleaning out the chair. You can purchase these cleaners at furniture stores, hardware stores, or online. Make sure to purchase solutions without tetrachloride listed in the ingredients, as this is toxic. 

  1. Vacuum the chair on low suction to remove any debris without ruining the upholstery.
  2. Follow the instructions on the water-free solvent to remove any stains and clean the chair.
  3. Spot test on an inconspicuous part of the chair to ensure that the solution doesn't erode the color or texture of the seat.
  4. If all is well, apply the solution to the rest of the stained area. Dampen a clean cloth with the water-free solvent and then blot the stain out. 
  5. Repeat the process until the stain is removed.

3. “SW/”WS” — Water-Based / Water-Free Cleaning

If your office chair has "SW/WS" on the tag, your cleaning method options have just doubled! Usually used on furniture made from 100% recycled polyester or on polyester mixes, this tag means that you can use either of the methods we've just listed above.

Follow the instructions on your preferred water-free solvent, and vacuum the chair thoroughly before proceeding with your chosen cleaning method. You can also sprinkle baking soda onto your chair before vacuuming to deodorize the chair.

4. Crypton Fabric Cleaning

Crypton fabric is special as it offers permanent protection from stains, moisture, bacteria, and a host of other office-chair horrors. Because of its hardiness, Crypton fabric needs a different cleaning process compared to other types of upholstery.

For this type of fabric, you'll need to remove stains using a powdered enzyme detergent and water. Other options are water-based cleaning products, germicidal detergents, commercial Crypton upholstery cleaners, and foam shampoo in a pinch. For mild dirt and stains, follow this process:

  1. Mix 1/4 cup mild liquid dish detergent with a gallon of warm water.
  2. Place this cleaning solution in a spray bottle.
  3. Spray the solution onto spots and then scrub with a soft bristle brush or a slightly abrasive sponge. Work from the outer edges of the stain inwards so as not to spread the stain further. Rinse your sponge or brush frequently.
  4. Let the solution soak into the fabric before rinsing thoroughly. 
  5. Blot out excess moisture with a towel.
  6. Repeat the process until the stain is gone, and then air dry the furniture.

5. Standard Vinyl Cleaning

Vinyl is a cost-effective option for office chairs, as the look and texture is comparable to leather—but with less maintenance required. Vinyl is especially great as they're typically resistant to common stains. However, they may be susceptible to dyes and ink stains.

  1. Mix a few drops of mild liquid dish detergent with a cup of water and dampen a soft-bristle brush or a clean cloth with the cleaning solution.
  2. Rinse your vinyl chair with this and then pat it dry with an old towel.
  3. If there are some persistent stains, you'll need to use a commercial concentrated cleaner specific for vinyl to remove it. Follow the instructions on the bottle for application, then rinse with water and wipe clean.
  4. For deep stains, use a 6% mixture of oxygen-based bleach mixed with water. NEVER use full-strength bleach or an alcohol-based agent on this type of chair.
  5. Wipe clean with a damp cloth and air dry.

6. Healthcare Grade Vinyl Cleaning

Healthcare grade vinyl is made to be sturdy and resistant to common stains, as well as to sulfide, urine, and most bacteria. Similar to standard vinyl, you'll want to start by removing any excess moisture and debris by wiping down your chair with a damp cloth. If the vinyl doesn't have a PERMABLOK3® finish, follow these steps:

  1. Mix a few drops of mild liquid dish detergent with a cup of water and dampen a soft-bristle brush or a clean cloth with the cleaning solution.
  2. Rinse your vinyl chair with this solution and then pat it dry with an old towel.
  3. If there are some persistent stains, use a commercial concentrated cleaner specific for vinyl to remove it. You can find these in hardware or furniture stores, as well as online. Follow the instructions on the bottle for application, then rinse with water and wipe clean.
  4. Wipe clean with a damp cloth and air dry.

7. PERMABLOK3® Process Cleaning

If the vinyl chair you're using has a PERMABLOK3® finish, that means it has an extra protective coating that protects the chair from germs, stains, and abrasions. Depending on the type of stain, do the following:

  1. If you're removing any inky substances such as grease, marker ink, or mascara, first remove the excess liquid with a damp cloth. Then dampen the area with a 1:1 ratio of liquid dish detergent and water. Rinse and then pat dry. This solution works well on food spills as well as crayons.
  2. If you're dealing with tougher stains such as blood, oil based paint, urine, feces, or the like, use a 1:1 ratio of ammonia and water or a 1:4 ratio of bleach and water. Rinse and then pat dry.
  3. If you're trying to remove dyed waxes such as lipstick, use a straight application of a commercial cleaner specific for these types of chairs. Follow the instructions on the bottle and then wipe it out with a cloth.
  4. For anything else, you can attempt to use a 1:1 mixture of isopropyl alcohol and water to remove the stain. If the stain persists, then forego the water and use straight alcohol. Rinse and then pat dry.

8. Leather Cleaning

Leather office chairs are fairly common, being arguably the most comfortable chair as well as the classiest and most professional-looking. If you decided to invest in such a high-quality chair, then rest assured we're certain that you want it to stay that way. 

  1. Vacuum frequently with the upholstery attachment to keep your chair clean.
  2. Wipe down your office chair with a microfiber cloth dampened with water.
  3. For a deeper clean: mix a few drops of liquid soap with a quart of distilled water. Dampen a rag with the solution and wipe gently at the surface of your office chair.

Helpful Tip: Consider purchasing a leather conditioner or a leather protector to keep the material in good condition.

Why Should You Hire Professional Services to Clean Your Office?

If cleaning is taking up too much time, or if you're cleaning the same things over and over again, then start looking into hiring a professional cleaning service!

Hiring a professional cleaning company such as Luce Maintenance Group will ensure that your office furniture is cleaned to perfection! Our highly-trained cleaning staff can completely clean your office furniture—including your chairs—at a competitive price. Give us a call today to book an appointment.

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Staff Writer

Staff Writer

This article is written by our passionate staff writers who seek to share our knowledge from our business

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