How to Clean Your Dirty Office Chairs

Posted on November 30, 2017 by Alyssa Ochs

Just for fun, let's start this buying guide off with a riddle.

You use it 40+ hours per week. It could be a little more comfortable. It's gotten downright disgusting. What piece of office furniture are we talking about?

If you guessed "office chair," then you'd be right!

Many of us take our office chairs for granted until they're wearing out or broken. But when is the last time you took a good, hard look at yours or gave it a little scrub?

With everyday use and daily wear and tear, office chairs tend to become breeding grounds for dirt, dust, and germs. Let's look at the three most popular materials used in office chairs and the best ways to clean them. With a little TLC, not only will you feel better sitting in your chair, but you might even prevent an oncoming sickness too!

Topics Covered in this Buying Guide

1. Cleaning Upholstered Office Chairs

Office chairs that are upholstered with fabric are very common and affordable options for busy offices. However, fabric has a way of attracting dirt and lint over time, not to mention every coffee spill and drip of sauce soaks into the fabric.

The first step to cleaning an upholstered office chair is to vacuum it to get off the bulk of the dirt and grime. From there, you can spray on a layer of cleaning foam that's safe for upholstery. Cover all parts of the fabric with the foam and allow it to remain there according to the product directions. Then use a hard-bristled brush to scrub away caked-on dirt and stains.

After scrubbing, it helps to let the chair dry for at least 10 minutes, but perhaps longer if your office air is particularly humid. Finally, grab that vacuum again and use it to remove dirt that was brought up by the foam product.

Recommended Upholstered Office Chair Cleaning Products

2. Cleaning Leather Office Chairs

Leather chairs are comfortable and professional, but they can also get really dirty with regular use. Since leather chairs tend to be more expensive than upholstery chairs, you'll want to check the furniture tag or manual to see if any specific instructions are recommended.

As a general rule, vacuuming your leather office chair frequently is a great way to get off dirt and debris. Just make sure that the suction isn't too strong to avoid damaging the leather, and use a soft bristle attachment for extra care. For the most part, you can get by with wiping your leather chair down with a clean cloth about once per week. Weiman Leather Wipes are also great to use because they are specially formulated with a micro-oil emulsion process that includes six natural oils.

But for a deeper cleaning method, you can add a couple drops of mild soap to a quart of water and use a lint-free cloth to wipe down the surface. Just don't use too much soap or a residue will be left behind. A clean, damp rag will help wipe away any of that residue, and then allow the chair to fully dry before sitting in it again. Leather furniture protectors and conditioners are great to use after a deep cleaning to protect the material for many years to come.

Recommended Leather Office Chair Cleaning Products

3. Cleaning Mesh Office Chairs

Mesh office chairs have gained a lot of popularity in recent years because of their ergonomic features and modern aesthetic. Yet many people are intimidated by the idea of cleaning them because of all those curves and grooves. But what's great about these chairs is that they allow a greater degree of airflow, compared to upholstery and leather chairs, so you won't sweat through the material as easily.

Just like the other two office chair materials highlighted above, the first step in cleaning a mesh chair is to vacuum it. See how handy it is to have a small, handheld vacuum around the office?

Simple dish soap and a cleaning rag will do the trick from there. You can rub a mesh office chair with a bit more force than you'd want to for an upholstered or leather chair because the material is more durable. But to get in all those little crevices, it helps to have some cotton swabs on hand for detail work. Start the cleaning job from top to bottom in case any water or debris drips down while you're cleaning. Then use a clean, dry cloth to dry off the chair and allow it to air dry completely.

Recommended Mesh Office Chair Cleaning Products

4. Plastic and Metal Chair Parts

The fabric of the chair is typically the hardest part, but cleaning the rest of the chair from here is fairly easy. Simply wipe the plastic or metal surfaces down with a damp cloth or all-purpose cleaner. You'll probably want to flip over chair and take off the wheels to clean those too if you have some extra time. Lots of hair and gunk gets stuck in the wheels, but you can dig that out with a basic butter knife. Every few months or so, it's a smart idea to check your chair's bolts and screws for dirt and hair build-up.

Other Recommended Chair Cleaning Products

Overall, it's much easier to clean your chair on a regular basis rather than waiting for years and dealing with a big mess all at once. We hope you've found these tips and product suggestions helpful, but if you have any other questions about office chair cleaning, let us know!

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