5 General Steps: How to Clean an Office Chair

Do you work in a home-based office or in a large corporate office? Either way, it is a good idea to regularly maintain and clean your office, especially your often neglected chairs.

How to Clean an Office Chair
How to Clean an Office Chair Photo Hitty Evie
Office chairs aren’t your typical furniture because it is specially designed to be ergonomic and to give good postural support while providing comfort at the same time.

A good comfy office chair can boost your productivity at work and it is considered an investment for your office.

Although these chairs are pretty low maintenance, the habit of regular cleaning every three or six months will ensure it always function well and look good.

In this article we want to lay out the ultimate definitive guide on how to clean an office chair the proper way.

5 General Steps

Here are five general steps on how to clean an office chair:

Prepping up

Step 1:
  • Work in a well ventilated, spacious area.
  • Spread a dropcloth, a plastic sheet, or old newspapers under the office chair to avoid dirt from spoiling the floor or carpet underneath.
  • Using a can of compressed air, blow out the accumulated dust from the joints and movable parts of the chair.


Step 2:
  • Start vacuuming the whole chair to remove any dust or dirt, working from top to bottom. For ease, use a hand-held vacuum or the hose of the vacuum.
  • Use the crevice attachment to access any narrow cracks, especially the area between the seat cushion and back seat.

Cleaning the Wheels

Step 3:
The wheels of the chair are often neglected when it comes to cleaning. It can also be quite tricky to clean.
  • Flip the chair over to access the wheels, making sure it is secure by stabilizing it with the seat and back.
  • While using a scrub brush, remove all the debris stuck onto the wheels. Use a butter knife or a paint spatula to scrape any stubborn dirt.
  • Vacuum any debris stuck inside the wheels. If you want a more thorough clean, remove the wheels from the base using a wrench and screwdriver. This may require a bit of effort since the wheels are secured very tightly.
  • Spray on some cleaning solution on paper towels or microfiber cloths to clean the surface of the wheels.
  • Finish off by wiping the wheels with rubbing alcohol in cotton balls.
  • Screw the wheels back on if they’re removed.
  • Spray some lubricant on the wheel mechanism to make it move better and eliminate any squeaking noise.

Wiping Down

Step 4:
  • Flip the chair back upright and wipe down the arm rests and the legs of the chair with a cleaning solution and microfiber cloth.
  • Read the manufacturers tag at the back of the chair to choose the right cleaning product. Spot clean any stains on the upholstery of the chair using the appropriate stain-removing product.
  • Be sure to read the instructions on the upholstery before using any harsh cleaning products.

Final Adjustments

Step 5:
  • Take your chair out for a spin and make necessary adjustments on the tension of the wheels or other settings on the chair to keep it feeling comfortable when you use it.
  • Tighten the screws and bolts on the chair every three to six months to make sure it is always stable and safe for use.

Now that you know the general steps required in cleaning your chair, we can delve deeper into the details. With so many cleaning products in the market out there, how do you know which upholstery cleaner should be used?

We should choose it based on two criteria:

  1. Type of material the chair upholstery is made of.
  2. The type of stain on the chair.

Let us learn more about the type of material the upholstery chair is made of.

We know that office chairs come in various sizes, shapes and colors. Take note if the chair upholstery has any dyes that may be ruined by harsh chemicals.

Cleaning Codes and What They Mean

Make sure to read the manufacturer tag for cleaning instructions. It is usually placed under the seat or in an inconspicuous spot on the sides. If there is no tags, you can assume that the fabric is made of half polyester. Most chairs are made of this type of synthetic material because it is cheap and easy to clean.

The tags on the seat for cleaning instruction may indicate a “W”, “S”, “SW”, or “X”. Don’t worry if you don’t know what these codes mean- we are here to dispel the mystery. Here is what each individual letters mean:

Code “W” – stands for water

It means the chair is to be cleaned using water or water-based cleaners. For this code, you can use any all-purpose cleaning solution you have.

Mrs. Meyer’s Multi Surface Concentrate is a very good non-toxic option. You can also do a DIY water-based solution by mixing 1 cup of warm water with ¼ cup of dish-washing soap.

Code “S” – stands for solvent

A water-free product such as dry cleaning solvents need to be used during cleaning. Do not use water because it will leave a ring when dried or it may cause fading of the color.

An example of a good dry cleaning product is the American Home K2R 33001 Spot Remover. Its quick drying formula avoids this problem of rings appearing on the surface after cleaning.

Code “WS or SW”

You can use either water based or dry-cleaning products for this chair. However, be sure to test out a small inconspicuous area of the chair first before proceeding. Try to look for any shrinkage or discoloration n the area you are testing it on. Sometimes, it is best to leave to professionals when cleaning chairs with this code because you might risk damaging it.

Code “X” – indicates a ‘no’

It means do not clean this on your own. Call a professional to assist you with your cleaning because neither water or other standard cleaning solvents can be used.

If the tags had been removed and there is no way to find out about the information for how to clean your chair properly, it can be quite risky as you might possibly damage it.

Start with the gentlest cleaning method by testing a small area under the chair. Then proceed carefully from there.

Are you still unsure and don’t want to take any chances? We suggest you call a professional for assistance in cleaning your office chair.

How to Clean Different Types of Office Chairs


Depending on the decor, many modern workplaces use plastic chairs in different vibrant colors and a simple minimalist design.

These chairs may not be very comfortable as they often don’t have enough supportive padding on the seats. However, it is the easiest type of chair to clean.

Plastic materials do not absorb liquid therefore it doesn’t stain easily. Usually cleaning involves light dusting and wiping down with a microfiber cloth.


Fabric upholstery requires regular cleaning because like our clothing, it gets dirty, stained, and worn out fairly easily. The upsides is that fabric upholstery is a comfortable and breathable material.

Sometimes you may need to deodorize or sanitize the chair because bacteria from your sweat may be transferred from your skin onto the seat.

Here are a few options you can take to keep your chair smelling great:
  • Leave it under direct sunlight and fresh air for a few hours. This may kill some of the bacteria that is causing it to smell.
  • Use a mixture of water and vinegar to spray on bad smelling parts. Leave it to air-dry
  • Make a DIY deodorant by mixing baking powder and your favorite essential oils. Leave it to air-dry.
  • Use a mixture of water and detergent to wipe the surface of the chair.
  • Use the hose for a carpet shampooer to deep clean the cushion of the seat.

As a finishing touch, you can spray on Scotchgard Fabric and Upholstery Protector to keep your chair resistant from spills or stains.


The mesh chair is quite popular because of its ergonomic design. The mesh surface allows ventilation, which helps avoid any sweat or oils accumulating on the seat.

It is also quite easy to take care of. To keep it clean, vacuum the chair thoroughly and wipe it down with soap water. Clean in between the crevices with damp cotton swabs

Check the manufacturers tag to find out the types of cleaning solvents that is safe to use on this chair. Be sure to handle the mesh carefully as it can be damaged by too vigorous scrubbing.


Leather chairs have a luxurious look and feel. The leather is high quality material that needs regular maintenance to preserve its sophisticated appearance.

Basically there are three steps to it: you will need to clean, condition and maintain. You will also need a proper leather cleaning solution because using the wrong product can cause the surface to dry and crack.

A good product for leather surfaces is the Weiman Leather Cleaner and Conditioner.

This material is usually stain resistant, but always take care to wipe up spills immediately.

Make sure to dust and vacuum the chair before spot cleaning, followed by applying a layer of conditioner to restore its shine.

Conditioning can be done a few times a year to maintain its surface.


Vinyl is a synthetic mix between fabric and plastic. For soft vinyl chairs, you can simply use a damp rag with diluted all purpose cleaner. Regularly vacuum your chair to prevent dirt and grime buildup.

For hard surface vinyl chairs, you can sprinkle some baking powder on a wet cloth to wipe on the chairs. Vinyl surfaces are quite resistant to stains but be sure to wipe any spills on its surface.

If your vinyl chair has a tough, stubborn build up on the surface, consider using a commercial cleaner like Tuff Stuff Multipurpose Foam Cleaner for deep cleaning. This product is a best seller and worth a try when cleaning those stubborn stains.

Types of Stains and How to Remove

Water-based stains (beverages, fluids)

For water based stains, use any all-purpose water based cleaner that you have. Detergent can also be used.

  • Make sure to test a small area before starting to clean.
  • Mix 2 cups of cold water with 1 tablespoon of liquid cleaner.
  • Dip a cloth into this solution and wring out the excess water.
  • Gently wipe the stain with this solution.
  • Make sure to always use a clean surface of the cloth when wiping down the stain. Change the cloth when it has become over-saturated with dirt.
  • After thoroughly cleaning the stain, allow it to dry, and finish off with vacuuming the area.
Helpful advice!
If your chair has become too soiled or in an overall bad condition, consider calling a professional furniture cleaning service.

Oil-based Stains (makeup products, food, ink stains)

If it is a new spill, absorb as much grease as possible by sprinkling cornstarch or baking soda on affected area. Let it sit for a a few minutes.

Alternately, you can also use a stain pretreat product to loosen up dirt such as the Bissell Stain Pretreat

  • Vacuum up any powder residue that is left.
  • If there is a stain, use a dry cleaning solvent or a commercial spot remover. As always, there is always a risk of discoloration or damage so be sure to test a small area before proceeding.
  • Using a cloth or brush, apply the solution on the dirty area.
  • Use a clean cloth to blot the affected area to absorb the cleaning solution and stain.
  • Rinse the area lightly with a damp cloth or a sponge.
  • Let the area air-dry, and vacuum the surface.
  • Keep repeating the steps above if the stain persist.

If you are unable to remove a stubborn stain that covers a large area of your chair, do contact a professional cleaning service to assist you.

If you need further information about different types of stains and how to remove them, please refer to this stain removal chart by the American Cleaning Institute.

We hope that armed with all this information, you can now clean your office chair with ease. Regular maintenance of the office chair will extend its durability and period of use, therefore eliminating the need for you to spend more money buying another chair. It is better to take good care of your things in the long run as this will save you time and money.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.