How To Clean an Office Chair

Did you just spill hot coffee on your office chair? Are you worried that you don’t know how to clean it up properly? Well, you should have no worries because we are here to help you ensure that your office chair becomes “coffee-free” and as clean as a pin!

Apart from spilled coffee, jammed wheels and dusty seat pans call for proper cleaning of your office chair. Dirty and uncomfortable chairs can hinder your focus and productivity greatly. So, what are we waiting for?

What To Check Before You Start Cleaning

Your office chair comes with manufacturer’s notes and probably stickers and tags, which tell you what kind of solvents should be used on your chairs. For some chairs, the wrong solvents can cause irreversible damage to the chair.

They usually come in one or two letters, so we’ll briefly break it down for you.

  • W: This means the chair can be cleaned using aqueous cleaning mediums, like water mixed with dish soaps.
  • S: It indicates that you should NOT use aqueous cleaning mediums, rather cleaning solvents that are dry and don’t involve water. Using water can discolor as well as damage your office chair.
  • SW or WS: Either of these two-letteredsigns means you can use both water-cleaning mediums and dry-cleaning solvents on your chair, whichever you prefer.
  • X: If your chair has an “X” in the instructions, you shouldn’t try to clean it yourself and get it done by professionals.
  • C: C stands for Crypton cleaning. This means cleansing with the help of special detergents and water or Crypton Fabric and Upholstery Cleaners.

There’s a different approach for cleaning each of the upholsteries mentioned above. Your cleaning procedure also depends on if you’re just looking to clean up the mess created by spilling of a liquid, or if you’re looking to do a general cleanup to make it look more appealing and feel better to seat on.

How To Clean Up Spills and Stains

When it comes to spilled coffee, or ink, or stains of any liquid, the procedures are more or less similar for all types of chair upholsteries.

Before you start, you should look for the sticker which denotes what kind of cleaning method you can use on your office chair.

For W-tagged Office Chairs

  • Use a wet rag or cloth to soak up as much spilled liquid as possible, dump it in a sink, and repeat the process. This can prevent stains from setting.
  • If the stain is already set, wet a clean cloth on a solution of water and dish soap.
  • Gently stroke on the stain with the cloth and the stain will slowly come off.
  • It’s important not to overdo it or put a lot of pressure while doing it, or else you’ll end up damaging the upholstery.

For S-tagged Office Chairs

  • Even for S-tagged chairs, you can use a wet rag to absorb the spilled liquids, and avoid stains.
  • Get an authentic dry cleaning product or a solvent that works without water, either in powdered or liquid form for removing stain.
  • Put some of the solvents on a dry cloth and softly rub on the stain until it comes off.
  • Remember to use a disposable cloth to remove the solvent after cleaning.

Apart from spills, you should use disposable paper towels to remove all the unwanted solid litter and put them away. Letting them sit for too long can cause stains and make them harder to remove later.

For fabric chairs, you shouldn’t push inwards as the litter can get stuck in the pores, making a mountain out of a molehill.

How To Carry Out Regular Cleanups

Regular cleanups are slightly different for each type of office chair, although they do have a few common steps.

How To Clean Fabric Office Chair

  • Start with a vacuum cleaner that has an upholstery attachment connected to it and is preferably in “low suction” mode.
  • Vacuum the entire chair, including every corner and even below the chair, because solid debris sticks everywhere.
  • For W-based office chairs, use a mixture of dish soap and water.
    For the S-based ones, you can get the dry-cleaning solvents readily available in markets.
  • Wet a clean sponge with the solvent and mildly dab on the surface of the fabric. Do it more than once to ensure you reached all the parts, including the arms and back too.
  • Next, you should put another cloth in vinegar and rub it on your office chair, reaching every part you did with the cleaning solvent.

If you don’t want to use vinegar, a normal dampened cloth works as well.

  • You should then leave the chair to dry in sunlight or in an open area with enough air to prevent it from catching a bad smell.

How To Clean Mesh Chair

  • You must wash and spray the office chair with water properly and shower the water from an upward angle. Too much water on the bottom of the chair can cause problems in the chair mechanism.
  • Get a sponge or a brush with soft bristles, and prepare a mixture of water and reliable detergent.
  • The sponge has two sides. With the softer side, lightly scrub on the mesh chair. Increase the pressure if the mesh needs a harder cleaning.
  • Using the rougher part of the sponge or the brush, swab the arms and backs, and other hard parts of the chair.
  • Wait and let the detergent soak in the office chair for 15-20 minutes.
  • Rinse the chair properly like the first step, removing all the unused detergent completely.
  • To get rid of the detergent inside the mesh, put the office chair on its sides.
  • Wash the mesh with water and pull down with your fingers while doing so. Stop when you see no more white foams are coming out.
  • Properly spray the chair with water once more, and leave it to dry in the sunlight for a day.

How To Clean Leather Office Chair

  • Start with a proper cleaning using your vacuum cleaner all around your leather office chair, which will remove all the solid debris.
  • Using mild liquid soaps and water, you can prepare your cleaner. Mix the water and soap until you see foams on the surface of the water.

It’s recommended to use distilled water over tap water too.

  • Wet a clean cloth, and rub a very small and unimportant part of your office chair. See how the leather reacts to your solution. If you get a negative reaction, contact the manufacturer to get a better idea of a solution.
  • For a positive reaction, you can rub the entirety of the leather chair gently with the mixture.
  • Next, you should get another clean cloth or rag, and soak it in distilled water.
  • Wring out the cleaning mixture you used on the leather chair using the new damped cloth.
  • Dry the chair up, preferably with paper towels or another cloth.
  • You should leather conditioners specifically for leather office chairs and spray them on your chair after cleaning and drying up.
  • If leather conditioners aren’t available, you can go for olive oils. Rubbing the olive oil on the leather chair will give it a shiny glow.

How To Clean Plastic Chair

  • You should create a cleaning solution by mixing normal detergents and water.
  • Using a brush with soft bristles or soft cloths, you should rub the plastic chairs all around.
  • Properly wash the chair with water after you’re done cleaning using the detergent mixture. Detergent residue can harm the chair in the long term.

Moreover, you should stay away from using highly alkaline cleaning products with plastic office chairs and prevent using cleaners with rough ends, as plastics are prone to scratches.

How To Clean The Wheels And The Base

Cleaning of the bottom parts of all the chairs involves the same procedures.

  • Turn your office chair upside down and take out the wheels or casters with a gentle pull or turn. It’s much easier to clean the chair if it doesn’t constantly move.
  • The dirt and dust on the wheels, like small stones, food, and even hair, can be taken out using small knives or tweezers.
  • Take a rag or cloth and dampen it on a solution of water and dishwashing soap.
  • Rub the wheels and the base of the chair with the wet cloth properly to remove all kinds of scratches and stains.
  • You should then use paper towels to dry these chair parts up.
  • Attach the wheels back onto the chair.


Cleaning your office chair might not seem necessary before you do it. The brilliant smell, ease of movement, and cleaner seats will give you a different feeling of comfort.

It will not only make you feel better but also boost your productivity during work. A clean office chair takes a bit of work, but it is well worth it.

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