How to Clean an Office Chair

It’s easy to neglect your office furniture. After all, with all the time you’ve spent sitting at your desk, how often do you look at your office chair?

If you’ve realised your chair needs some tender loving care, no worries. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about how to clean an office chair.

We will look at cleaning basics and the essential considerations you need to make before tackling spills and stains on different chair materials.

So, get ready to clean your office chair and bring it back looking like new.

How to Clean Different Types of Office Chairs

Starting with the basics is important when it comes to office chair cleaning. If you perform regular cleaning more often, you’re less likely to have to carry out a significant cleaning unless a bad accident happens.

So, we’ll begin with some general tips and then look at how to tackle tough stains on specific types of chairs.

Clean up Spills as Quickly as Possible

If you have an accident in your office and spill something on your chair, it is critical to deal with it quickly. The longer the liquid is left to soak in on a fabric, mesh or leather chair, the harder it will be to get your chair clean again. Even spills on a plastic chair can cause discolouration or make cleaning harder, so it’s well worth cleaning up straight away.

As soon as you spill something, get a clean, dry cloth or paper towel and soak up the liquid to reduce how much it sinks into the fabric.

Remember not to rub the liquid on a fabric chair as this will spread it. Blot or dab with your cloth to draw the spill out. Use some extra paper towels to mop up as much liquid as possible.

Once you’ve cleaned most spills, move on to our general cleaning methods below, depending on your chair type.

Get Out Your Vacuum Cleaner

Assuming you’re not dealing with an emergency liquid spill, the first step when cleaning an office chair is to use your vacuum cleaner.

By thoroughly removing loose debris, dry dirt, and dust, the regular cleaning process will be much more manageable.

Use the attachments to get into all the crevices on a fabric chair to give them a proper clean. Don’t push or rub too hard, as this can cause dirt to become embedded in the fabric. Instead, move the vacuum head over the surface to suck dirt out. Flip the chair back wider or raise it to get into the gap where it meets the seat.

Cleaning the back of a fabric seat using a vacuum cleaner

Use a soft brush attachment on leather chairs so you don’t scratch the surface. Alternatively, you could use a microfibre duster for the leather itself and carefully use the hoover – but only for the gaps. A brush attachment is also useful for cleaning mesh chairs. Take the time to remove all dirt trapped in the mesh gaps.

Always Check the Chairs Cleaning Instructions

Before you begin, you must check the cleaning instructions.

If you’re using a new cleaning product for the first time, make a patch test on an area out of sight before you clean your entire chair. Follow the cleaning product instructions fully and work in a well-ventilated room.

W – Water-Based Cleaning

The “W” rating means using water-based products to clean the chair. This label is often found on chairs with 100% polyester fabric.

Usually, you’ll use a damp cloth with a few drops of dish soap mixed in water to clean common stains on this kind of chair.

S – Water-Free Solvents and Dry Cleaning Products

“S” means that you’ll clean the chair with water-free products such as dry-cleaning solvent.

SW / WS – Water-Based or Water-Free Products

If you have “SW” or “WS” on your label, you can use a water-based cleaner or a water-free one.

C – Crypton Cleaning

Crypton fabrics have a special protective coating to protect them from stains and unwanted odours. The “C” label means you need to follow Crypton cleaning procedures, including using water with a special deep cleaning enzyme powder or Crypton cleaning mixture.

X – Professional Cleaning Only

The material needs to be professionally cleaned if you’ve got “X” on your label. Blot the spill with a clean cloth or tissue and let the pros take care of it.

How to Clean Fabric Office Chairs

Cleaning an office chair

Once you’ve vacuumed your fabric office chair and mopped up any immediate spills, it’s time to clean the fabric. Having checked the label, you’ll know which method you need to use, so let’s look at some general fabric office chair cleaning tips to follow.

For fabric office chairs that can only be cleaned with water-based products, mix some dish soap with warm water and use a clean cloth to dab it onto the textile. Keep changing the surface of the cloth or towel, so you are always using a clean area with the soap and water mixture. Avoid scrubbing, as that will push the dirt into the fabric.

Repeat as often as needed but take care not to get the fabric office chair too wet. Only apply the dish soap solution to the material with your cleaning cloth. Don’t pour it on directly. Rinse out excess soap with a clean damp cloth once you’re done cleaning.

With fabric office chairs that can be cleaned only with water-free solvents, use a dry, clean cloth with a small amount of cleaner and gently blot at the stains carefully.

Always let your fabric upholstery air dry in a well-ventilated area before giving the legs and arms a clean and the chair a final vacuum.

How to Clean a Leather Office Chair

Leather office chairs need some extra care to keep them looking beautiful, and you must use the right cleaning products. Make sure you avoid any cleaners that contain alcohol or other harsh chemicals.

Make sure you clean leather office chairs every week with a soft cloth to keep them dust-free.

If the leather office chair needs more cleaning, you can use a specialist leather cleaner or mix a few drops of liquid soap with a litre of distilled water to make a gentle cleaning solution.

Wipe the surface of the leather gently with your soapy water before cleaning any soap residue with a clean, damp cloth. Remember that cleaning carefully in this instance is more important than excessive elbow grease.

Buff it with a soft cloth after your leather office chair is dry and apply a leather protector.

How to Clean a Mesh Office Chair

A man wearing gloves cleaning a mesh seat

Mesh office chairs are durable and comfortable, so they are becoming very popular. However, they still need cleaning, and the mesh can prove a bit of a challenge.

It would be best to clean mesh office chairs at least once a month to keep them looking their best and stop dirt from building up in the mesh.

Once you’ve vacuum cleaned the mesh office chair with the brush attachment, use a mild soap mixed with water to clean the mesh. Apply warm soapy water with a cloth and dap it over the mesh. You can use a cotton swab dipped in soap and water to get into gaps in the mesh and other crevices that you can’t reach with your cloth.

Make sure that you don’t scrub the mesh when you’re cleaning, as this can cause it to fray.

Use a clean, damp cloth to remove any cleaning solution residue and then wipe the mesh chair over with a dry cloth and leave it to air dry.

How to Clean a Plastic Office Chair

Plastic office chairs are generally easy to clean using just soap and warm water.

Wipe the chair over with your soapy cloth and repeat until it’s clean. Rinse the soap off with a wet cloth and dry the chair with a fresh dry cloth.

Make sure that you only use soft cloths to clean plastic chairs as they can be easily scratched. For the same reason, take care that you don’t get any dirt between the cloth and the plastic surface while you’re cleaning and don’t use alkaline or abrasive cleaning products.

How to Clean Office Chair Wheels

We all like to wheel around on our office chairs. Not only can it be kind of fun, but it also makes getting in and out of your desk easy. Chair wheels, however, will get filled with all kinds of dirt and debris over time, so if you’re going to perform a deeper clean on your chair, you should definitely include the wheels.

Set your chair upside down so you can work easily on them. Carefully use a blunt object like a butter knife to get the dirt out of the gaps between the wheels. Use tweezers to clean trapped hair of other small objects.

Once you’ve got rid of most of the dirt, you can remove the wheels for a deeper clean. Unscrew the wheels and use a cloth soaked in warm soapy water to gently wipe them clean. Use a cotton swab to clean any remaining dirt and really get inside the crevices and the wheel cover.

Let the wheels completely air-dry before you refit them to the chair.

How to Clean Office Chair Arms and Legs

After you’ve cleaned your office chair seat, it’s worth finishing the job properly and giving the arms and legs a going-over.

Arms may be covered with the same material as the chair seat and back, so you should follow the same instructions. You can clean plastic or metal arms with soapy water and a soft cloth.

If your chair has wooden details, dust them with a soft cloth and use a clean cloth dampened with gentle furniture polish to buff the surface. Don’t use soap and water here as it can damage the wood grain.

Final Office Chair Cleaning Tips

If you have particularly stubborn stains on a fabric chair, you might find that rubbing alcohol can shift it. Always test a hidden corner to check that the alcohol won’t damage the surface. Once you’re sure, use a cotton ball dipped in the rubbing alcohol to gently dab the stain: this can magically remove tougher stains that were proving a challenge.

You can also sprinkle baking soda onto the fabric if you have unwanted odours coming from your office chair upholstery. Let the baking soda sit for at least an hour before vacuuming it away. You’ll find the baking soda absorbs the odours and leaves your chair fresh once again.

Cleaning an Office Chair Made Easy

Understanding how to clean an office chair correctly is generally relatively straightforward unless you have to deal with any serious accidents.

Vacuum your office chair regularly to remove dust and crumbs. Make sure that you blot any spills immediately, so they don’t have a chance to dry. Finally, remove stains following our instructions to make sure you use the right cleaning product, and you’ll have an office chair that you are happy to sit on while you work.

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