How to Clean Office Chair

by Julien Gandelin
multiple office desk chair

Having a desk job means that you spend most of your day sitting in an office chair, regardless of whether you work in a cubicle or remotely from home. This means that minor mishaps with drink, ink, or food may likely happen and need cleaning up. 

Aside from that, your chair’s upholstery will require some general cleaning. Also, the wheels might not move as they should, indicating that they require cleaning and routine maintenance.

This article will provide cleaning instructions to help make your office chair look new again!

How to Clean Office Chair: Legs, Armrests, and Wheels

Cleaning the Arms and Legs

Use a damp cloth to wipe down the legs and arms of the office chair. Considering that these parts are typically made from metal or plastic, they are much easier to clean compared to upholstery.

Going over these parts once with a damp rag is usually enough to clean them. But if there is a stubborn stain, you might need to use mild dish soap and water solution.

Once you are done cleaning, you should wipe the legs and arms down using a clean, dry rag.

Cleaning the Wheels

Your first step would be to turn the office chair upside down to remove the wheels. This might be easy to do if you get another chair to sit in. This will eliminate the need to continuously bend down, which could hurt your back. It will also help you to work better.

Some office chairs have wheels that can simply be pulled off, while others are set in place with screws and require a screwdriver to remove.

Using a butter knife, scrape off any large or visible debris on the wheels. Debris could be gunk, small pebbles, or dried food. Any of these items could stop the office chair from properly moving.

A butter knife is recommended for this operation, as it can easily slip into the space between the wheel and wheel cover and allows you to push out any debris inside the wheel. If hair fibres are stuck in the wheel, you can remove them by first cutting them with scissors and then pulling them out.

Next, wipe the wheel down with a dry cloth. Doing this ensures that any debris not caught with the butter knife will be cleaned up. If the wheels are extremely dirty, you can add a few drops of liquid soap onto a damp rag. To get in between the wheel cover and the wheel, you will need a cotton swab. A moist cotton swab is small enough to clean the crack of the wheel.

Once you have completed the process above, use paper towels to dry the wheels. This is important as any moisture on the wheel can stop it from rolling smoothly. Paper towels are a necessity, particularly if you have used soap to clean the wheels.

Attach the wheels back onto the office chair and turn it over to its correct position. If you cleaned it properly using the steps above, it should be able to roll better. If the wheels came with screws, make sure that you put the screws back in before using the chair.

Refreshing the Upholstery

Vacuum Dust and Dirt

Cleaning the upholstery will require vacuuming up any dust and dirt buildup from the chair. This can be done by using an upholstery attachment that comes with a brush and a wide plastic end. The brush can be used for vinyl and leather upholstery as it is soft enough. When vacuuming, you should pass over the arms, back, and seat of the chair.

After this, you can go through the chair using the crevice tool. The crevice tool can help clean hard-to-reach areas. Pay attention to the vacuum cleaners suction to ensure it isn’t strong enough to damage the leather upholstery.

You also want to pay attention when cleaning upholstery made of mesh materials, like the FelixKing Ergonomic Desk Chair, one of the best office chairs in Canada.

Office Chair, FelixKing Ergonomic Office Desk Chair with Adjustable Height and Lumbar Support Swivel Lumbar Support Desk Computer Chair with Flip up Armrests for Conference Room (Black)

Source: Amazon

Clean the Upholstery Using Water and Liquid Soap

Mixing a natural, biodegradable washing-up detergent with warm water can be a great way to clean your office chair. You must test out your mix on a small and inconspicuous section of the upholstery.

Doing this will ensure that you do not inadvertently damage the upholstery. The consistency of your mixture will also depend on the material your office chair’s upholstery is made from. Leather, vinyl, or fabric upholstery requires 240 ml of warm water with a few drops of mild soap in it.

Use a Rag and Cleaning Solution

This step requires you to dip a clean rag into the cleaning solution before wiping the upholstery down. It is important that you only use a lint-free clean cloth. Try to only dampen the rag instead of soaking it. The last thing you want to do is have the cleaning solution soak into the upholstery.

You should also be careful not to scrub or rub, especially with leather and mesh upholstery. Scrubbing can scratch leather materials and make mesh upholstery fray.

Wipe the upholstery using a dry cloth. Make sure every bit of soap and water is wiped, so it doesn’t leave a residue. Next, air-dry the chair, preferably in a well-ventilated area, to dry faster.

Cleaning Up Stains and Spills

Clean Up Loose Debris

Paper towels are great for grabbing solid particles off the chair. You may have to repeat the process a few times to completely remove any solids that have formed on the chair.

If the chair you are cleaning has fabric upholstery, you should dab rather than rub, as rubbing while you clean could cause the solids to move deeper into the fabric. This will inadvertently make it more difficult to clean.

Blot Using a Wet Cloth

Here’s a quick cleaning tip: if you make a mess, you should clean it up as soon as possible. Doing this ensures that the spills do not set.

The quicker you can clean up a spill, the less likely it is to become a stain. All you will need if you act quickly enough is a damp rag or cloth. Use the damp rag or cloth to get out as much liquid as you can. Wring out the liquid and continue to blot until the spill is completely removed.

Look for a Manufacturer’s Care Tag

In most cases, manufacturers will include a care tag with the office chair or upholstery. The tag provides information on how to correctly clean the chair. Here is a quick rundown of what the different tags mean:

  • An “S” tag: If the tag has an “S,” it means you should only use a solvent-based cleaning solution to clean the chair.
  • A “W” tag: This means you should only use water-based cleaning solutions for the upholstery.
  • An “S/W” or “SW” tag: This means just about any type of cleaning solution can be used.

Cleaning W Coded Office Chairs

For this, you will need a water-based cleaning solution. This can be done by combining mild dish soap with water using a damp clean cloth to blot the stain. You should not rub the stain out.  Rubbing the stain could cause damage to the upholstery, particularly if the upholstery is made up of microfibers or fabric.

Cleaning S Coded Office Chairs

These office chairs should be cleaned with a dry cleaning solvent. This means that if any water-based cleaning product is used, it could damage the chair’s upholstery. There are a variety of cleaners to select from, which is why it is important to check the included instructions.

Some cleaning products are in powdered form, while others are liquid. Whichever you use, you will want to put just a small amount of the cleaning solution into a dry rag to blot the stain up.

Next, use a damp rag to wick the cleaning solution off. If you forget to do this or skip it, a ring will likely appear on the upholstery of your office chair.

Use Rubbing Alcohol as a Stain Remover

To do this procedure, pour a few drops of rubbing alcohol onto a cotton ball. Before cleaning a stain with rubbing alcohol, make sure to test it on a small patch of the chair, preferably where it is not visible such as the underside. If the rubbing alcohol doesn’t cause any damage, then you can proceed with the rubbing alcohol cotton ball to get the stain out.

You should note that mesh upholstery can become frayed if you rub too briskly. Ensure you are gentle when rubbing this surface. You should not use rubbing alcohol on any acrylic fabric upholstery.

Rubbing alcohol doesn’t have much water content, so it can be used on S-coded office chairs. However, you should always test it out by applying the rubbing alcohol on a small but inconspicuous patch of the chair. If there isn’t any damage, then rubbing alcohol can be used.


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