As we go back to school and the office in the Fall, you may be wondering if your trusty office chair is in need of a deep cleaning. After all, these items accumulate everything from crumbs and dead skin to lint and dust throughout the year. Discover effective methods for cleaning and disinfecting different office chairs, including tips for different materials and surfaces.
How to Deep Clean an Office Chair
You should be wiping down and doing a surface clean of your chair every day to prevent stains from setting in, and this usually takes no more than five minutes. More intensive cleaning and disinfecting should be performed once a week for a chair that is in frequent use and usually takes about 15-20 minutes.
What You’ll Need:
- Vacuum cleaner with removable attachment
- Dish Soap
- Microfiber Towels
- Natural Stain Remover (you can also use rubbing alcohol, vinegar, or laundry detergent)
- Spray Bottle
- Compressed Air (optional)
1. Vacuum and Dust
Use a vacuum attachment to thoroughly clean the chair from top to bottom.
2. Manually Remove Dirt
Dirt may have accumulated in the wheels or small nooks and crannies. You can remove this dirt with compressed air, tweezers, or an old toothbrush or cleaning brush. Manually remove wheels with a screwdriver to ensure they are thoroughly cleaned.
3. Wipe Down the Chair
Mix lukewarm water and a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle, and use a microfiber towel to coat the chair’s surface with the solution. Avoid saturating the chair with too much solution, as this can damage the chair material.
Take a clean microfiber towel and lightly moisten it with water. Wipe away any remaining soap solution.
Use a clean microfiber towel to dry hard surfaces, such as the legs and armrests, as well as seat covers. Fabric-covered surfaces can either be air dried or dried using a hair dryer or shop vac if you’re in a dry.
Pro tip: Always refer to a chair’s care instructions to ensure you are using the proper solvent. The label usually includes special instructions and symbols for upholstery:
- C: Upholstery is Crypton and needs an enzyme-detergent.
- S: Use dry-cleaning solvents that are free of water.
- SW/WS: Use a solvent that is water-based or water-free.
- W: Use a water-based solution.
- X: Professional cleaning service is required.
How to Remove Stains from Office Chairs
If stubborn stains remain, follow these steps for spot treatment using an enzyme-based stain remover.
1. Test Your Stain Remover
Before starting, test your stain remover on an inconspicuous area to ensure it won’t damage the material.
2. Saturate the Area
Spray the affected area, and allow it to sit for up to 15 minutes. If a stain is older or deeper set, allow more time for the fabric to absorb the solution.
3. Wash and Dry
Wash and dry the area according to its fabric care instructions.
Pro tip: Rubbing alcohol can be used to treat stains in some cases, but avoid using it if your chair is composed of any pieces containing treated wood.
When to Disinfect Your Office Chair
If your chair is riddled with mold or bacteria (especially staphylococcus aureus, which causes boils and is commonly found in chairs), it may be time for it to be properly disinfected. Office chairs can often act as fomites and carry and spread infectious agents, so disinfecting is particularly important to avoid the spread of viruses, ranging from COVID to the common cold and flu.
A deep clean can be done with a portable carpet and upholstery cleaner, which can be rented. Alternatively, you can also enlist the help of a professional cleaning company, who can ensure proper disinfecting and deep cleaning when necessary.
Special Care for Different Surfaces
If your chair is made from a special material, it may require a specific cleaning method.
Synthetic or Genuine Leather
Avoid drying leather, whether it’s genuine or synthetic, in the sun, as the fabric can melt in the heat. Only breathable fabrics, such as cotton or linen, should be dried outside.
Avoid over saturating polyurethane upholstery with too much water or cleaning solution, as this can damage the fabric's finish and texture.
Mesh or Net
When vacuuming net or mesh fabric, use a gentle setting to avoid damaging the material.
To avoid rust on any metal parts of a chair, use mineral oil or WD40 on any parts that move.
Avoid cleaning plastic parts with bleach since this can damage the material, as it can break down plastic over time.
Avoid letting any water or liquids sit on the wood's surface for too long since this can warp the surface.