Many people don't consider how dirty a fabric-upholstered office chair can become after hundreds of hours of use, but the reality is that it can be downright filthy and smelly. Depending on who uses the chair and in what environment it is used, office chairs can harbor food particles, dead skin cells, hair, body oils, lint, dust and even tiny organisms such as allergy-causing mites and bacteria. That is why all fabric-covered office chairs should undergo a thorough cleaning at least once per year, maybe more often if they are in a harsh environment. Below is how you can easily and safely clean your office chair as well as restore its looks and remove odors:
Materials you will need
- Fabric-safe lye bar soap
- Cheese grater
- Mixing bowl
- Hot tap water
- Grout sponge
- Vacuum cleaner with upholstery attachment
- White vinegar
1. Vacuum the fabric - The first step in cleaning your fabric office chair is to thoroughly vacuum all fabric surfaces to remove loose particles and debris. If you don't vacuum the fabric, you may make the problem worse by "muddying" the surface of the chair when the wet sponge is introduced.
Use an attachment designed for upholstery for best results, as the stiff brush head will help dislodge more stubborn particles. However, any type of attachment is acceptable if an upholstery attachment isn't available, so just be sure to physically agitate the surface of the fabric with whatever type you use.
2. Prepare a soapy cleaning solution - Once you have vacuumed the fabric, you will need to create a soap solution for the next cleaning step. Using a lye-based soap will break-down body oils and other difficult-to-remove chemicals enmeshed in the upholstery.
Begin making the solution by using a cheese grater to grate a fabric-safe lye soap bar over an empty mixing bowl; this will create small shavings that will quickly dissolve in the hot water. Grate approximately one tablespoon of shavings, but don't worry if you end up with a little more or less.
Next, begin to add hot tap water at a slow rate and vigorously whisk the water and soap shavings. Stop filling the bowl once it is halfway full of water, but keep whisking until you have created a thick, soapy lather similar to that used in shaving cream.
3. Clean the fabric with soap foam - After you created the solution and generated a fair amount of lather, dip a barely damp grout sponge into the lather. Don't soak the sponge, as you only want to use the foam to perform the cleaning.
Next, place the sponge on the fabric and begin rubbing the foam into the upholstery using a circular motion. Alternate dipping the sponge into the foam and scrubbing the fabric, all the while avoiding getting the upholstery too wet. Continue until all the fabric has been cleaned with soap foam.
4. Neutralize the soap foam - Once the upholstery has been cleaned with soap, you will need to apply white vinegar to the fabric to neutralize the lye soap and also provide an extra measure of cleaning and freshening. Thoroughly rinse the sponge with clean tap water, then squeeze out all the water. Next, dip the sponge into white vinegar and shake out excess vinegar. Apply the sponge to the fabric on the chair and use a rubbing motion like that used in step 3. Work your way over the entire surface of the chair, then allow the upholstery to dry in a well-ventilated area. The vinegar smell will disappear as the chair dries and leave the upholstery feeling and looking clean.
For more information and details, consider talking with office furniture supply companies, such as D&R Office Works, Inc.