If you’re an office worker, you’ll know how much time you spend sat at your desk on an office chair.  That’s why it’s essential that you have a chair that is comfortable, and adjustable so that you can get the right ‘fit’ for you. It also stands to reason that you’d want a chair that is stylish, one that fits in with the aesthetics of your office, and one that is clean and smells fresh.

If you’ve had your trusty chair for a while, you’ll also know that they can be susceptible to a few stains here and there, and that dust and grime can build up, as with any other parts of your office and workspace. You may have spilled some tea or coffee or dropped some lunch or a snack whilst eating at your desk. We would wipe up any spills on our desks, so how is it that we quite often leave them on fabrics, hoping that the colour will help disguise any tell-tale signs of accidental spillage?

The tops of backrests and the sides of the seat cushion can also be a hot spot for dirt and grime. Even if you have clean hands when you handle chairs, the natural oils from your fingers can be absorbed into the fabric, which can act like a magnet for dirt and dust particles in the air. In short, even the cleanest person can end up with the dirtiest of chairs!

Your office chairs often need a gentle but deep clean to get them looking new again. We’ve put together some cleaning tips to clean not just fabric office chairs, but other materials too.

Picking the Right Cleaning Products

Making sure you have the correct products and equipment to clean your chairs is key. Be careful not to use anything with a bleaching agent in it; a tough stain may be removed, but you could end up with your fabric looking patchy. Your basic kit should include:

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Clean water
  • Dry, clean cloths, preferably lint free
  • A water based fabric cleaning product
  • Washing up liquid (perfect as a degreaser)

With your products and equipment at the ready, you can begin:

How Do You Clean a Fabric Office Chair?

Cleaning Method for Fabric Office Chairs

To get a soiled office chair looking like new again, there are a few basic steps to follow.

  • It’s worth checking the manufacturer’s care instructions for the chair to see if there are any limitations on the kinds of cleaning solutions that can be used. If not, then you’re good to go!
  • Thoroughly vacuum the chair using a brush attachment to make sure that all loose debris and dust is removed.
  • Mix a solution of warm water and washing up liquid (just a few drops), take a clean cloth and submerge into the solution. Wring the cloth and rub gently onto the chair (try to avoid scrubbing; this could spoil the pile of the fabric) to lift any surface dirt and mild stains. Because washing up liquid is a detergent, it is excellent for trapping and lifting grease.
  • Stubborn stains might need a more stringent cleaning solution, and specialist fabric cleaners should take care of them. These will often come in spray or foam form. Apply directly to the stain and work into the fabric with a damp cloth. Work from the outside of the stain, rubbing gently inwards to ensure you’re not left with any tide marks. Rinse your cloth is clean water, wring and repeat until the stain has gone and there is no product residue left. Any product left on the fabric could potentially damage it.  Try not to ‘overload’ the fabric with too much water as the cushion padding will absorb it and extend the drying time unnecessarily.
  • Deal with spills as quickly as possible. Using an absorbent cloth or some kitchen towel, blot the spill until all the liquid is absorbed. If you act swiftly and use the water and washing up liquid method above, you’ll be able to avoid the stain setting in.

Cleaning Method for Plastic Office Chairs

Plastic is capable of taking a harsher cleaning product, so whatever your chosen cleaning solution, it can be applied liberally and even scrubbed, as long as there is no high gloss finish to the seat. Be careful with abrasive cleaning products, as these could also damage plastic surfaces. Rinse your cloth after application and wipe all remaining product residue away. Leave your chair to air dry and buff with a clean dry cloth.

Cleaning Method for Leather Office Chairs

Leather is an extremely durable material, and unlike fabric, can often have a ‘wipe clean’ quality.  If, however your leather chair is looking dirty then it may need some TLC. Be aware that leather can dry out and crack if it is not properly cared for, so take advice from the manufacturer about feeding it correctly.

Although stains on leather can generally be wiped off, it can still absorb a certain amount of moisture, so caution should be exercised. Suede and nubuck aren’t as stain repellent as normal leather, so again refer to the manufacturer for cleaning instructions.

Assuming there are no special care instructions for your leather chair, then the best non-commercial method is to use a damp cloth and a ph. neutral soap bar. Rub the soap bar onto the damp cloth and then apply in circular motions onto the leather until the dirt and any stains lift. Repeat until the whole chair surface is covered. Rinse your cloth in clean water and wipe down the chair until there is no soap residue left.

When the chair is dry, a specialist leather ‘clean and feed’ or conditioning solution can be applied, ensuring your leather upholstery stays soft and supple. Avoid leaving leather products in direct sunlight, as this could lead to them drying out and cracking.


By following these cleaning tips, you should be able to deal with most stains and dirt build up reasonably easily. Keeping your chairs clean and dirt free will help give them longevity as well as projecting a positive impression to any clients or visitors to your office or business. One last point – don’t forget chair legs or the base. Most of these will be made of plastic or metal, and should wipe clean with either soapy water or a spray cleaner.

If, however you’d prefer to leave it to the professionals, your office cleaning service provider will have the knowledge and expertise (as well as access to commercial products and equipment) to do it for you.

Here at Brightr, we have a broad range of cleaning services and are happy to provide a no obligation quote upon request. Get in touch with us today!

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