How to Clean Office Chair

Office chairs, including adjustable chairs, have plenty of nooks and crannies where hair, crumbs, dust, and lint can accumulate and hide. This article will talk about how to clean office chair, whether it’s upholstered or non-upholstered.

If your office chair comes with cleaning instructions, either found on the manufacturer’s website or attached to the chair, then you should always follow those guidelines first.

Quick Tips for How to Clean Office Chair

Before we begin and start talking about the different methods of office chair cleaning, let’s talk about a few quick tips:

  1. Clean up any stains right away! If you wait, they’ll become harder to get rid of
  2. Before you start with any cleaning method, you need to pre-test a small, inconspicuous area before moving to the rest of your office chair
  3. Make sure that you’re following all directions on the office chair and on the products you’re using
  4. Use all cleaning products in a well-ventilated area

Office Chair Tags: What Do They Mean?

Most chairs have an upholstery tag, typically located underneath the seat, with a cleaning code. That upholstery cleaning code – X, S/W, S, or W – suggests what cleaners are best for your chair (for example, water-based or dry-cleaning solvents). So, what do those cleaning codes mean?

  • W – If you find a W, this means that your chair can be cleaned with water. So, you could also use upholstery/carpet cleaner (with attachments) on your chair
  • S – If you find an S, this means that your chair needs to be cleaned with cleaning solvents only (dry clean only) and won’t react well if water is applied
  • S/W – This means that a combination of water and dry-cleaning solvents can be used on the chair. It’s often best to leave it to professionals to clean chairs with this code
  • X – This isn’t often seen anymore, but this upholstery tag means that this item isn’t cleanable and is vacuum-only

What You Need

Office chairs that are polyurethane, plastic mesh, vinyl, or leather-covered can be maintained using these common household supplies:

If you need to do some deep cleaning or stain removal:

  • A portable upholstery and carpet cleaner
  • Laundry detergent, vinegar, or rubbing alcohol

How Long Does It Take to Clean an Office Chair?

You should be making sure to clean up any stains or spills daily by blotting them with a water-and-soap solution or with only water to prevent them from staining. This should take around five minutes of your day.

Regular maintenance can take around 15 minutes, including air-drying time. This type of cleaning is used to remove germs and dust and freshen up your office chair. We highly recommend performing this type of cleaning weekly, or at least as often as you sweep or vacuum your office or even wipe down your desk.

To perform seasonal deep cleaning or get rid of stubborn stains, we recommend setting aside around 30 minutes.

How to Clean Office Chair

Now that you know the basics of how to clean office chair, let’s get into the chair cleaning steps.

Dust-Off and Vacuum Entire Chair

From the very top of your office chair down to the chair’s wheels, vacuum up debris, hair, lint, or dust. If you find spaces that you can’t reach with your vacuum attachments, use a can of compressed air or a duster to clean those areas.

Wipe Down the Office Chair With Soap-and-Water Solution

In a spray bottle or small bowl, mix lukewarm water and a few drops of dish soap. An excellent mixture to follow is 16 parts water to one part dish soap, but you don’t need to be exact.

Once you have your mixture, gently wipe the surfaces of your office chair with a washcloth dipped in the soap-and-water solution or spray the chair and dap it in with a cloth. You want to make sure that you’re using enough of the cleaning solution to coat the chair, but not too much because it will start to soak into the chair and down to the insert. This could ruin a fabric office chair.

Rinse and Let Dry

Get another cloth damp with clean water and wipe the dish soap residue off. Then use another clean cloth to wipe dry hard surfaces (i.e., chair legs and armrests) or seat coverings (i.e., vinyl or leather).

Let any soft surfaces, like those on a fabric office chair, let the material air dry. If you’re in a hurry to sit back down, use a hairdryer to remove the excess moisture using the cool setting.

Spot Treat Any Stains with Rubbing Alcohol or Other Cleaning Agent

As you’re using the soap-and-water solution to wipe your office chair clean, you notice stubborn stains that aren’t going away, rubbing alcohol might work to get rid of them. First, you need to test a small area of your chair – such as under the seat – to ensure that the alcohol won’t ruin the fabric.

Then you want to take a few drops and gently rub them into the stain, avoiding saturating the fabric completely. Remove any residue with a damp cloth, and then let the fabric air dry.

If the alcohol doesn’t remove the stain all the way, use a different agent. You might even need to apply the alcohol more than once to get rid of more stubborn stains.

You can also use a cleaning solution of baking soda and vinegar. The two combined will create bubbles. Spray the stubborn stains with the baking soda and vinegar solution and gently rub any stains on the fabric.

Use an Upholstery Cleaner or Hire a Professional

how to clean office chair
Source: Shutterstock

For stubborn stains or deep cleaning, grab your portable upholstery cleaner if you have one, or hire a professional.

Final Thoughts

How often you end up cleaning your office chair will depend on how often you use it. If you use it daily, you should always clean up any spills and stains as soon as you notice them to avoid the stains from going deeper into the fabric. Then perform regular cleaning maintenance every week to keep the germs and allergens at bay.

You can choose to do a deeper seasonal cleaning, such as spring cleaning, too. During this deep cleaning, you’ll take the time to thoroughly clean your chair to remove any deep stains that might have accumulated during the year.

Regardless of how often you clean your office chair, knowing how to clean office chair is essential. If you follow the steps we’ve outlined above, then you’ll be set to clean your office chair in no time.

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