Office Furniture Upholstery Cleaning – How to Safely Clean Every Type of Material Used in Office Chairs
Off the bat, these four golden rules will always apply in any situation:
- Clean stains right away! The longer you wait, the harder they are going to be to remove.
- With any cleaning method, make sure to pre-test a small, inconspicuous area before moving on to the rest of your piece of furniture.
- Always follow instructions whether on your furniture or on the products you are using.
- Use cleaning products in a well-ventilated area.
Office Furniture Upholstery Cleaning – Standard Upholstery
The first step in the cleaning process is to check your furniture for tags that may have cleaning instructions on them. They may also be labeled with a lettered cleaning code that easily allows you to determine which cleaning method to use. We’ll go further into detail of each cleaning method, but here’s a brief overview:
- “W” means you can spot-clean the item with water-based cleaning products.
- “S” indicates you should clean your furniture with a solvent or water-free product, like a dry-cleaning solvent.
- “SW” or “WS” means you can use either water based or a dry-cleaning product.
- “X” means the item should be professionally cleaned.
- “C” means Crypton cleaning. Generally stains are removed with plain water and powdered enzyme detergent or Crypton upholstery cleaner.
- “W”: Water-based cleaning
First we’ll take a look at what to do if you‘ve determined you can clean your furniture with water-based cleaning products. This cleaning method is commonly used on 100% polyester products with acrylic or latex backing.
- Run a vacuum over your furniture to remove any remaining debris.
- Create your cleaning solution by mixing a few drops of a mild soap (dish soap is always a good choice) with water.
- Again you first want to test the solution on an inconspicuous area to make sure it doesn’t change the color or texture of your furniture.
- If the solution looks good after your test spot dries, you can then apply it to the rest of the piece. Gently blot the stain with a cloth dampened with the solution. Do not pour the cleaning solution directly onto your furniture! Make sure to continually turn the cloth so you are always using a clean part of it, rather than making things worse. You may need to repeat this process several times to get out the stain.
“S”: Using water-free solvents and dry cleaning products
Some products require you to use a mild water-free solvent or a dry cleaning product for cleaning. You can purchase these cleaning products at furniture stores, home improvement stores or online. When choosing a product, avoid any that contain tetrachloride or other toxic materials.
Once you have purchased your cleaning product, you again want to make sure to test it on an inconspicuous spot.
Once you are sure it will work, apply it to your furniture by gently blotting the stain with a cloth dampened with the solution. Remember: when using a solvent or dry cleaning product, carefully follow the instructions and only use them in a well-ventilated room. Make sure to continually turn the cloth so you are always using a clean part. Repeat the process until your stain is gone.
Note: Using a water-based product could damage your furniture by fading the upholstery or leaving spots.
“SW/”WS”: Working with water-based OR water-free products
Many pieces of furniture, like those made with 100% recycled polyester or polyester mixes, are able to be cleaned using either of the methods described above.
You may choose whether to use water-based cleaning agents or water-free solvents and simply follow the preceding instructions. It is recommended that you vacuum or lightly brush this furniture on a continuous basis to prevent dust and soil build-up.
Tip: If you also want to get rid of unwanted odours in your furniture, sprinkle some baking soda on it, let it sit for a while and then vacuum.
Office Furniture Upholstery Cleaning – Vinyl
Vinyl seating is a great, cost-effective option and has a look and texture similar to leather with less maintenance. To begin cleaning your vinyl, remove any excess spills with a damp cloth. Then:
- Clean with a mild liquid soap and water mixture using a soft brush or cloth. Rinse your vinyl and pat dry.
- If you need something a little stronger for your stain you can next try using a straight application of concentrated cleaners such as Fantastik® or Formula 409®. Rinse with water and then wipe with a clean cloth.
- For the most difficult stains use a 6% mixture of bleach with water. Rinse with clear water and dry. Never use full strength bleach or alcohol based cleaning agents on your vinyl.
- If the stain is still there it might have set.
Note: Most vinyl is resistant to the most common stains. However, some dyes and inks can create a permanent stain.
Office Furniture Upholstery Cleaning – Leather
Leather office chairs are comfortable, classy and professional. When you invest in a high-quality, great looking chair you want to make sure it stays that way.
Before cleaning your leather you always want to check on which type you have. Check the tags on your furniture and the written information from the manufacturer which may also provide cleaning directions. Here are some ways to keep your leather looking like new:
- Vacuum your furniture on a frequent basis. You only want to use a soft brush attachment so you don’t scratch your leather, and make sure the suction isn’t too strong to do any damage.
- Wipe down your leather once a week with a clean cloth. Choose a cloth that won’t leave any dye or lint. Be sure to wipe, not scrub.
- If your leather needs a deeper clean, mix a few drops of liquid soap with about a quart of distilled water. Dampen a lint-free rag with the solution and wipe (again don’t scrub) the surface of your furniture. Use a clean, damp rag to get rid of any soap or residue and then dry.
- You may want to consider applying a leather protector or conditioner. To do this, refer to the product instructions for the type of leather furniture you have.
Office Furniture Upholstery Cleaning – Mesh
Mesh chairs are great in an office because of the ventilation they offer. The back of a mesh chair allows airflow on your back which can help you stay cool. The additional airflow cuts down on the amount a person sweats while sitting, and in return means less cleaning.
That being said, mesh office chairs will need an occasional cleaning. To do this:
- Vacuum any dirt off of your chair.
- Remove any remaining dirt with warm soap and water.
- If stains persist, gently dab the area with a spot cleaner. Do not rub or scrub your furniture… that could cause the mesh to fray.
Office Furniture Upholstery Cleaning – Polypropylene
Plastic polypropylene chairs are comfortable, can handle wear and tear well, and clean easily. They are also a great choice if you want the option of stacking chairs.
You can typically get away with using a solution of mild detergent and water for cleaning most of your polypropylene furniture:
Be sure not to use any abrasive or highly alkaline cleaners.
To clean, use a soft rag or brush and make sure you don’t trap any dirt between your rag and furniture, because this could cause scratching. Also, avoid using scouring pads or any similar product, as they will also scratch your furniture.
When you are done cleaning with the detergent mixture, make sure to rinse off your furniture to remove any remaining dirt or soap.
Cover Image Credit: CLEANING123.CO.UK – Cleaning Services Online