Cleaning Tips for Various Office Chair Materials

Cleaning Tips for Various Office Chair Materials

At Urban 9-5, we're happy to serve as your comprehensive experts for all things office furniture. We offer a huge range of industrial and vintage furniture options, but beyond this, we're also proud to provide expertise and tips to our clients on the proper care and maintenance of any of the products we provide.

Take our wide range of seating and office chairs, for instance, which features a broad selection of various swivel chairs, accent chairs, desk chairs, industrial stools and many others. For the various kinds of materials that will typically be present on these chairs, what are the basic approaches you should take to cleaning and caring for the chair long-term? Here are some basics on a variety of chair cleaning methods.

General Cleaning Tips

Before we dig into specific materials, here are some general cleaning tips for any and all upholstery or other fabrics that might be present on your seating furniture, especially in high-traffic areas:

  • Clean stains or spills right away: This is one of the most important tips for caring for upholstery in general. By cleaning up spills or stains as soon as they happen, you're preventing both staining of a fabric and buildup of grime over time. A mild soap should do the trick for removing most stains right away.
  • Pre-test cleaners on a small area first: While this tip goes for most cleaning tasks in daily life, it's absolutely crucial when it comes to fabrics. Different kinds of upholstery will have different levels of sensitivity. By pre-testing cleaners on a small area before proceeding with a larger stain or spill, you can determine the best approach for cleaning your particular fabric.
  • Follow proper cleaning instructions: Try to be as thorough and attentive to care instructions when it comes time to clean your furniture.
  • Avoid using abrasive surface cleaners: This can cause both scratches and pilling of fabric materials over time.

Upholstery Cleaning Codes

For all chairs or other seats that contain upholstery materials, there are five different cleaning codes you will find somewhere on the furniture piece that will dictate how they can be cleaned. Here are each of these codes, plus a quick word on how you go about cleaning each of them:

  • W -- Water-based cleaning: Commonly used on products that are 100% polyester with acrylic or latex backing, for instance, a water-based code means that no stain- or solvent-based cleaners can be used. To clean furniture with this code, you first vacuum the fabric, then apply a solution of mixed dish soap and water.
  • S -- Water-free solvents and dry-cleaning products: This code requires use of a mild, water-free solvent or a dry cleaning product, both of which can be purchased at any hardware store.
  • SW/WS -- Water-based OR water-free products: Some pieces of furniture are more versatile, and can be cleaned with either a water-based or a solvent-based cleaner.
  • X -- Professional cleaning: This mark means that you should never attempt DIY cleaning, and the item should be cleaned professionally.
  • C -- This refers to Crypton cleaning, a special and unique cleaning process designed by DuPont for its Crypton fabric, which repels liquids like water, oil, alcohol and other common everyday substances.

Vinyl Cleaning

What if you've chosen certain vinyl seating options in your office and are looking to keep these clean? Vinyl is a cost-effective seating material with a similar texture to leather, but takes less time and effort to maintain. Here are some basic steps to cleaning it:

  • Remove all excess spills or stains with a wet cloth.
  • Clean the vinyl with a mild soap and water solution.
  • Dry the piece thoroughly with either a towel or cloth. 
  • Work on cleaning upholstery before most stains occur: By keeping your furniture clean, you're preventing unnecessary wear and tear over time.

In some cases, stains may remain on vinyl after this cleaning -- this might mean they are set, and will either require professional assistance or may require replacing the piece.

Leather Cleaning

Leather office chairs remain the gold standard for many businesses, but they also require a more in-depth approach to cleaning. Here's how you can keep your leather office furniture looking great:

  • Start by vacuuming the seat surface with a soft bristle attachment on a regular basis. This will remove any loose debris and dust on the surface, and may help loosen any stains that are already present. This should be done around once a week.
  • From here, wipe down the leather using just a clean cloth -- one that won't leave any lint or dye. Wipe the leather, don't scrub it, and pay close attention to any specific areas that are stained.
  • If a deeper clean is required, mix a solution of water and mild soap in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the leather, allow it to remain untouched for about 30 seconds, then wipe it back off with a clean cloth that's been dampened with plain warm water.
  • If you have regular issues with cleanliness for leather seats, consider a leather protector or conditioner. These products are designed to help your leather last longer and look better. During this entire process, do your best to stop any dust or significant debris from falling into the cracks of the leather, as this could cause an issue later on.

For more on cleaning various materials that might be present on your office chairs and other seating areas, or to learn about any of our industrial office furniture selections, speak to the staff at Urban 9-5 for more information.