How to Clean Office Chair Smell?-11 Best Home Remedies

Whether you are working in an office or working from home, sitting for long hours during humid weather is sure to absorb sweat.

Therefore, with time, the sweat stains on the chair dry up and emit a foul odor. But that’s not the only thing. Many factors contribute to an office chair emitting a foul odor. For example, wine spills, chocolate stains, pet fur, farts, etc. Therefore, you need to clean the office chair regularly.

This article will give you easy, efficient remedies to curb that stink from your office chair.

Let’s see how.

How to Clean Chemical Smells from A New Office Chair?

A new office hair comes with a chemical scent. So, if you have purchased a new office chair, you are bound to have this problem. 

Do you know what’s that?

It is non-other than VOC (volatile organic compounds). Generally, formaldehyde is one of the VOCs that is found in furniture. These VOCs evaporate at room temperature emitting chemical fumes called off-gassing.

However, the chemical odor can be harmful causing headaches, migraines, or rashes for those with sensitive skin types. To learn more about the health effects of smelly chairs, read on to the end of this article.

Here are some tips on how to ward off the bad chemical odor faster.

Give the chair some sunlight treatment. Or you could place it under a fan. 

If your new chair is made from leather, do this: 

Leather doesn’t do well with sunlight. It fades, cracks and peels. Therefore, place the office chair in the shade and direct a high setting fan near it. This will make the chair smell-less chemical-like.

TIP: You can also keep the leather office chair in a dry AC setting.

Best Home Remedies to Remove Office Chair Stink

You can get rid of the stench using home remedies available in your kitchen or storeroom. 

Below I have compiled a list of the 11 best home remedies that will help you eliminate the bad odor. 

Sunlight and air drying


Sun drying is an age-old practice to get rid of office chair odor. However, you should not place the chairs under direct sunlight. This is because Ultraviolet rays could damage and discolor your chair upholstery. Hence, choose a shady, sheltered area. 

This practical and economic method also helps to get rid of unwanted moisture, which could cause a foul smell. Moreover, it also kills any fungi and bacteria present.

Also, mesh and vinyl office chairs can be placed under direct sunlight. One hour of sunlight exposure is sufficient. 

TIP: Do not place leather office chairs outside in direct sunlight.  Different fabrics react differently to sunlight. Proceed with sun drying only if the chair manual recommends it. 

Detergent or Liquid Soap


The most common reason for your office chair to smell is- SWEAT. Sweat stains from leather office chairs can be easily wiped clean. However, mesh chairs allow air circulation and are sweat-absorbing. 

So how to get rid of the smell from a mesh office chair?

Here’s how:

NOTE: This method is a bit time-consuming. It is only recommended if you have a lot of time to spare 

  • Generously, spritz some water on the chair seat, backrest, and armrests. 
  • Use a sponge or a clean wet towel to wipe the chair.
  • Allow the soap to soak for 10 to 15 mins. Follow by vacuuming the chair using a suction nozzle attachment.
  • Allow the chair to air dry. 

This will get rid of any trapped water.

P.S. This method is not recommended for leather chairs. 

For leather office chair:

  • Mix neutral liquid soap and water or a recommended leather cleaning solution in a spray bottle.
  • Spray it on the leather parts of the chair.
  • Let it soak, and then wipe using a microfiber towel. 

TIP: Make sure you wipe in one direction to avoid soap and water suds and streaks. 



Vinegar is a powerful antibacterial agent due to its acidic nature, hence removing the unpleasant odor out of the chair.

  • Spray  50:50 white vinegar and water solution on the chair parts and wipe it using a microfiber cloth.
  • Use a dry towel to wipe the chair surface. 

Remember, the vinegar smell will last for a few hours or a day.  

Also, this method should be carried out in an open space as the fumes can fill your house. 

TIP: Vinegar is not suitable for all types of office chair upholstery and materials as it causes discoloration. Test try on a small patch under the chair to check if vinegar works well for your chair. 

Baking Soda


Baking soda or Sodium bicarbonate is the most common and easy to get kitchen ingredient.

You can use baking soda as a natural smell neutralizer or deodorizer. Sprinkle baking soda on the chair and vacuum it after 15 mins. You can let it sit overnight for the extremely smelly chair.

However, Baking soda is efficient in neutralizing acidic compounds rather than others.

FACT: Baking soda helps in dissolving the outer membrane in bacteria. Thereby killing it and removing the bad smell. 

Vacuum or Steam Clean


A mesh chair quickly gathers dust. Moreover, coffee spills, chocolate melts, wine spills, snack crumbs, etc. entwine in the mesh. Over time, this can cause the chair to emit a foul odor. Not only that, but it also harbors germs, fungi, and bacteria. 

Every type of office chair or furniture, no matter how closely knit, gathers dust and germs. 

Therefore, Vacuuming and steam cleaning is the best method to keep your chair smelling and looking fresh. 

TIP 1: For minute dust and food particles, use the strong suction vacuum cleaner. 

TIP 2: Keep vacuuming till all the debris and dust have been removed. 

However, vacuuming alone won’t curb the foul smell. You will need to deodorize it. 

Read on to know what type of deodorizer you can use. 

Steam cleaning office chairs will eliminate dirt and odor-causing elements.

NOTE: This method is not suitable for leather chairs. 



Vodka acts similar to rubbing alcohol. It is volatile in nature, and that promotes sanitizing effect. Likewise, it also kills germs, mold, and mildew. 

Moreover, it can remove vomit, ink, and dye stains. It can also be used as a deodorizer, hence repelling an unpleasant odor from the chair. 

Mix some vodka in a spray bottle and spritz it along with the chair upholstery areas. Due to its volatile nature, it evaporates quickly. All that stays behind is a fresh-smelling office chair. 

Lemon Juice


Lemon juice contains citric acid, which helps to remove fart and musty odors from chairs cushions.

  • Mix one tbsp of fresh lemon juice in a cup of water and scour the chair cushion surface.
  • Allow the solution to seep into the cushion. Then, leave it to air dry for 24 hours. 

Essential Oils


Eucalyptus Oil is effective in masking fart odors.

  • Mix a few drops of the essential oil in a spray bottle and heavily mist the chair fabric.
  • Leave it to air-dry overnight.

Similarly, Tea Tree Oil also works in the same way. Tea tree oil has antifungal and antimicrobial properties. This will eliminate fungi and bacteria along with the bad odor. 

TIP: After vacuuming the chair, spritz some lavender or orange essential oil to keep the office chair smelling fresh.  

Isopropyl Alcohol


Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol is suitable for cleaning all chairs and furniture.  As rubbing alcohol is volatile and strongly scented, use it outdoors or in a well-ventilated room. 

It also helps in eliminating the fresh chemical smell of a new office chair. 

So how to use rubbing alcohol to get rid of the funky odor?

  • Dab some of the alcohol on a cotton ball and rub it over the chair parts to be cleaned.
  • Leave the chair outdoors to get rid of the alcohol smell. 

NOTE: Rub the upholstery gently as rubbing alcohol can cause fading and discoloration. 



Did not expect this, right?

Well, I, too, did not at first. It turns out; the paper does help in eliminating office chair smell. 

If the foul odor is coming from the armrests, wrap them with paper. As the paper is porous, it acts as a moisture and odor absorber. 

TIP: You can vacuum and wrap the chair seat, armrest and backrest in paper and leave it overnight. Lastly, spray some essential oil for added benefits. 

NOTE: Although this remedy is easy, it does not guarantee absolute odor removal. 

Fabric Deodorizer


Is your office chair covered in fabric upholstery?

If yes, then do this:

Some recommend using Febreze Fabric Refresher, while others are against it. 

So, should you use it?

Yes, you should. How much you use and how you use it matters.

Everyone likes sitting on a pleasing, fresh-smelling chair. However, if you have an old office chair, it may smell dusty. Using a deodorizer or mild fabric softener is a simple hack. Therefore, you can try this technique.

Mix one cup Febreeze or any recommended fabric cleaner in one cup of water and spray on the chair upholstery. 

If the office chair odor persists, go for a professional cleaning.

How to Disinfect Bacteria and Fungi from A Smelly Chair?

A dirty, smelly chair has a rancid, musty odor. Moreover, much moisture is trapped within the chair cushions is home to bacteria and fungi. And there you go, you end up having a smelly chair. 

When you sweat, the chair cushions and fabric absorb it. Now, the upholstery may dry easily. But what about the seat cushions and armrests?

Yes, they absorb the sweat and harbor bacteria and fungi colonies. Therefore, an office chair with accumulated sweat slowly starts releasing a foul odor.

You can try using disinfectants available in the market or advised by your manufacturer. Also, essential oils act as disinfectants and can help remove bacteria and fungi. 

TIP: Regular cleaning and 15 minute UV exposure every week can keep your chair odor and bacteria-free. 

Remember to monthly clean the office chair casters. It can fester up dust, fallen food particles, and hair strands. It’s not just the upper chair parts that can be the cause of the bad odor. 

Adverse Effects of Smelly Office Chairs on Health 


According to the table shown above, a multi dental office chair before and after a patient’s visit shows a concentration of approx 300-500 CFU/m cube of fungi and bacteria.  

Similarly, a single office chair at a dentist clinic contains 40 to 1190 CFU/m cube of fungi and bacteria.

A dirty, smelly, moldy office chair decreases work productivity and can be harmful to the health of the office worker.  

Therefore, office chair ergonomics isn’t the side to be looked at. In addition to that, health-conscious employees now have to worry about poor health. 

Charles “Dr. Germ” Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, in an interview with Delaware On Line said that office workers need to be wary of shared stationary as well as chair seats and armrests, shared pens, elevator buttons etc. According to a study, office chairs, desks, and keyboards harbor a staggering 21,000 germs per in. sq. 

Food spills, dirty unwashed hands promote the growth of bacteria. Thus, leading to stomach bugs, coughs, flu, and sometimes even food poisoning. 

Pseudomonas aeruginosa – It is found in offices and weakens the immune system. 

Staphylococcus aureus – This is found in the workplace keyboards, chairs, and door handle that causes skin and respiratory infection.

Therefore, a rigorous hygiene policy that includes maintenance of chair plastics, metal, and upholstery can help reduce absentees, productivity and improve business.   

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