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How to Clean an Office Chair

How to Clean an Office Chair

The office chair has to endure a lot in its lifespan. This humble piece of furniture not only has to support your weight for up to 8 hours a day, it also has to survive endless spillages of coffee, tea, soft drinks and food.

The good news is that you can reduce wear and tear on your office chair by giving it a good clean every six months. The problem is, with so many different types of office chairs out there, finding the right cleaning program can be challenging.

So in this guide, we are going to look at how to clean the most popular types of
office chairs; fabric, leather and mesh.

What youíll need

Microfibre cloth

Large bucket

Vacuum cleaner

Vacuum brush attachment

Vacuum crevice tool

Flat-headed screwdriver


Water-based cleaning solution/dry cleaning solvent

Leather conditioner

5 step process for cleaning fabric office chairs

Fabric is one of the most challenging coverings to keep clean. The nap of the cloth is a natural dust trap, while coffee and tea spills can leave stubborn stains.

The following method describes how to clean fabric office chairs using either water or solvent-based cleaning products:

Check the label
Always start by checking the label. This will indicate if the chair should be cleaned using either a water-soluble solution (W) or dry-cleaning solvent (S). Once you know which product to use, spot check a small area to make sure it doesn't damage the fabric.

Wipe clean and vacuum
Start the cleaning process by giving the arms, legs and under-seat area a wipe down with warm soapy water. Then vacuum the chair covering to remove any surface dirt and debris. Make sure the chair is touch dry before moving on to the next step.

Clean the fabric
When cleaning with a water-based solution, use a clean damp cloth and warm water. Add the cleaning solution to the water and rinse regularly. To remove stubborn stains, dab the cloth against the fabric. Donít scrub aggressively as this can push dirt further into the cloth.When cleaning with a solvent-based solution, make sure the area is well ventilated. Then apply the solvent directly to any stained or dirty areas and blot with a clean dry cloth. You may need to do this several times for stubborn stains.

The next step for both water and solvent-based cleaning is to allow the chair to dry naturally in a well-ventilated area. When using solvent, always read the label as this will provide drying times.

Finally, once the chair is completely dry, vacuum it again. This will remove any traces of cloth or cleaning solution leftover from the cleaning process. When finished, the chair should be spotlessly clean and ready for use again.

5 step process for cleaning leather office chairs

Leather is a popular office chair choice due to its luxury finish and hard-wearing properties. However, leather can start to look worn if not properly cared for.

The following method describes how to clean leather office chairs:

Start the process by giving the chair a vacuum to remove any excess dirt and dust. Vacuum the top and underside of the chair using a soft brush attachment to reduce the risk of damaging the leather.

Wipe clean
One advantage of leather chairs is that they are easy to wipe clean. Just use a damp cloth rinsed in warm water. For stubborn stains, apply a leather stain remover and work it into the leather using a circular motion.

Once the chair has been thoroughly cleaned, leave it to dry naturally in a well-ventilated area. Donít attempt to speed up the process by placing the chair next to a heater as this will dry out the leather, causing it to crack.

Condition the leather
Once the chair is dry, apply a leather conditioner and protector. This helps the leather to stay soft and reduce the risk of cracking. Apply the conditioner directly to the leather and work in with a clean dry cloth.

Wipe down the arms and legs
Next, move on to cleaning the arms and legs. If the arms are covered in leather, use the same method as for the seat covering. For plastic and metal parts, use a damp cloth rinsed in warm water.

4 step process for cleaning mesh office chairs

Mesh is one of the most popular coverings due to its durability and ability to support different body shapes. However, crumbs, dust and dirt can collect between the mesh, making cleaning an important requirement.

The following method shows how to clean mesh office chairs easily:

Start by vacuuming the chair using a brush attachment. This will remove any dirt and dust trapped between the mesh. Vacuum both sides of the mesh to ensure any deeply ingrained dirt is removed.

Clean the mesh and arms
Next, clean the mesh using warm soapy water. Use the same water to clean any plastic or metal parts including the arms and legs. Keep the cloth damp but not wet and try to avoid getting water in the seat adjustment mechanism.

Clean any hard to reach areas
Some mesh chairs have adjustable seat bases and backs. These mechanisms can be difficult to clean around. Use a vacuum cleaner and crevice tool attachment to get into hard to reach areas. If you donít have a crevice tool, cotton buds are a good alternative.

Finally, wipe the chair down using a dry cloth or paper towels to remove any excess moisture. Alternatively, leave the chair in a well-ventilated area and allow it to dry naturally.

Tips for cleaning castor wheels

There is more to an office chair than the seat and arms. Most office chairs have castor wheels to give users freedom of movement around their desks.

The following method can be used to clean castor wheels.

Remove the wheels
Cleaning castor wheels is easier if you remove them first. Most castor wheels either push-fit or are screwed into the base. You don't need any tools to remove them, simply pull them out or unscrew them.

Remove excess dirt and debris
Next, use a vacuum cleaner crevice tool to remove any excess dirt. Any debris trapped in the castors can be removed using a small screwdriver. Be careful not to damage the wheel.

Clean with soapy water
Next, clean the wheels using a damp cloth rinsed in warm soapy water. No matter how tempting it may be, DO NOT rinse them in a bowl of water. Some castor wheels contain bearings that will seize if water gets into them.

Dry and reattach
Finally, dry the wheels using a clean cloth and leave them to dry on a paper towel. Make sure they are thoroughly dry before reattaching them. If you are cleaning the rest of the chair, leave the wheels off until you have finished then reattach them.

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