How To Clean Office Chair? + Remove Bad Odors

You will probably spend most of the day sitting on your chair and using the computer in your office or working from home. The occasional spilling incident involving drinks, ink, or food is certain to happen. 

The average office chair has over 21000 germs per square inch, according to It is estimated that 67% of employees eat their lunch at their desks, which may threaten their health and safety. Not to mention, a higher sick leave rate means lower company performance as well. An office chair is one of the office furniture items we spend most of our time with.

If you’re cleaning the chair, you may as well clean the wheels, upholstery, and surface. Moreover, you should remove bad odors as well.

But you can maintain your office chair with some common household cleaning supplies. Below, I’ve written all possible methods to clean your office chair. However, the first and foremost thing you should follow is the chair cleaning instructions included with your chair or available on the manufacturer’s website.  

How to Clean Different Parts Of Office Chair



On some office chairs, a tag with a code for chair cleaning is attached to the underside of the seat. 

When you see the upholstery chair cleaning code-

W: Only water-based shampoo.

S: Only dry cleaning solvent can be used on the upholstery.

S/W: Spot cleaning with mild detergent.

X: Only vacuum cleaning.

To understand more about the cleaning tags, the following information is provided:

Check out our “How to clean upholstery” article; this will help determine which cleaners to use based on the cleaning codes. Also, you will be able to identify and read the cleaning tags the next time you are in the mood to clean your chair.

Always try the cleaner in soft patches of the chair before applying everywhere.

Leather Office Chair Seat

A leather office chair can be cleaned without using a vacuum. Follow the below cleaning instructions to clean a leather office chair.

You can clean grime or dirt stains on leathers using an APC (All-purpose cleaner), a Leather Scrub Brush, and a microfiber cloth.

First, vacuum the area to collect any airborne dirt. This is important because as soon as the dirt gets wet, it becomes sticky.

Secondly, spray APC on the leather seat, then agitate it with the leather scrub brush. Keep agitating until you feel the dirt coming off. Finally, wipe it with a clean microfiber cloth. Remember, wipe all APC from the surface. You can dry them using a hairdryer.

The water to APC proportion should be 20:1. Also, you can use shampoo instead of APC too (Not the same proportion).

Additionally, you can apply leather conditioner on the leather office chair seat surface to protect it.

Faux Leather Office Chairs Seat (PU or Vinyl)

Faux leather office chairs can be divided into two types, PU or vinyl.

Not to mention, Faux leather office chair has a similar look and texture to leather while requiring less maintenance and is a great, cost-effective alternative.

First of all, use a damp cloth, remove any excess spills from your vinyl. 

Once that’s done:     

  1. To clean faux leather, you need warm water, dish soap, and a microfiber towel.
  2. Create a mixture of dish soap and water. Scrub the faux leather seat surface with soapy water and a microfiber towel. Keep scrubbing till all first come off. 
  3. You should rinse the area with clean water and wipe it with a clean cloth afterward.     
  4. Remove and dry after rinsing. Use only water-based cleaning products on vinyl. 
  5. Do not use bleach or ammonia-based cleaning solutions on vinyl.
  6. The majority of vinyl or pu leather has good stain resistance. 

Also, you can use vinegar instead of soapy water. Just don’t use bleach or ammonia-based cleaners.

Microfiber towels soaked in isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) can be used to remove ink stains. First, dampen the inked area. Then, wipe the area with a microfiber towel.

Polyester / Microfiber / Nylon

Polyester or microfiber upholstery follows almost the same chair cleaning process.

To clean them, spray and bloat the surface with Windex, any glass cleaner, shampoo solution, 70% isopropyl alcohol(rubbing alcohol), or Oxyclean.

Now, use a soft bristle brush and scrub the surface.

Finally, use a sponge to wipe the dirt. Alternatively, you can use a steam cleaner for this.

Keep in mind to do the cleaning process outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. In addition, Windex contains ammonia, so it’s up to you whether or not to use it. Don’t use Windex or Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol) on Nylon.

Cotton / Wool

The foam is mostly used to clean cotton seats. Add shampoo, silver solution, or dishwashing liquid to the water. Then, make foam out of it.

Use a microfiber towel to apply the foam to the cotton seat. Rubbing the towel across the foam will help remove any residue.

The towel may collect mud. Keep rubbing the towel until the fabric becomes clean.

Finally, use a clean and dry cloth to wipe it or use a vacuum cleaner.


You can get velvet in both natural and synthetic fabrics. If it’s synthetic, follow the same steps as the polyester fabric above. Follow the above cotton cleaning method if it is a natural fabric.


Mesh chair backrests ventilate the air and keep the body at a constant temperature. Let’s learn how to clean a mesh chair.

The first step in cleaning your office chair is to vacuum out any crumbs that have fallen inside the mesh chair fabric. To remove it, vacuum it with a handheld vacuum cleaner. Mesh chairs are known for collecting dust and crumbs. You can remove most of it by using the hose attachment on your vacuum.

Dirt doesn’t take a lot of effort to accumulate on the chair mesh.

In some cases, users themselves may be responsible. Therefore, food particles, liquid stains, and other residue accumulate on the chair.

I recommend the following steps when dealing with a stained chair:

  1. Remove your mesh chair’s backrest (only if possible, so as not to damage it) and vacuum it.     
  2. An initial vacuum will assist in removing loose residue in the mesh.
  3. Next, dampen a cleaning rag with soapy water.
  4. Rub the damp rag against the mesh and then wipe it clean and dry with a dry cloth.
  5. Repeat the process until the dry cloth no longer attracts dirt.
  6. Last but not least, rub with a damp cloth to wipe any liquid soap residues. 

Not to forget, you can also use a steam cleaner to clean the mesh of the mesh chair.


A typical armrest is made of plastic or metal or might even be upholstered.

Plastic/metal armrests can be easily cleaned with soapy water.

Using any of the procedures for upholstered seats, you can clean upholstered armrests.

Immediately after cleaning your arms and legs, wipe them dry with a clean, dry cloth. Test the effectiveness of any cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area of the chair. Therefore, you can be certain that it won’t cause any harm.


Wipe the wheels with a dry cloth to wipe dirt and dust. If the areas are too dirty, a cloth soaked in dish soap and water can clean them. Use a damp cloth to rub on the wheels or casters. Once the wheels are dry, use paper towels to wipe them off.

If you cut with scissors, you may need tweezers to remove hairs stuck inside the wheel. Hopefully, you will be able to get rid of any mess you weren’t able to remove with the butter knife. If you need to clean between the wheel and the cover, use a cotton swab dampened with water. Wet wheels will not roll smoothly.

Here are 7 ways to clean your chair wheels and get rid of hairs from the wheels.

Be sure to wipe off your wheel with paper towels after using dishwashing liquid.

Frame/ Body

The office chair body is made of plastic and metal. Clean them by rubbing or wiping them with soap and water solution. Following the cleaning instructions for the mesh will help you clean the body.

Types of Chair Cleaning Methods

You can save the leather, vinyl, plastic mesh, or polyurethane-covered office chairs using these methods:

Spot Cleaning Method

Carpets - The Mechanics Of Spot Cleaning - ECJ

Food, wine, coffee, and greasy substances like butter can stain office chair seats. Each type of stain requires a different type of cleaning agent. However, the basic steps remain the same.

  1. Remove spills immediately with dry cloths and blot the spot with a damp cloth. Avoid letting stains dry and even stubborn.
  2. To get rid of stains, choose the stain removal method according to the stain type. These methods works pretty well to remove stains.
Type of StainMethod
Food Spills, e.g., Spaghetti, SaucesMix the dishwashing liquid with water (You can also mix dish soap and water). Spray it on the stain. Dab a clean white cloth on the spot.
Work on the stain until it comes off.  
Fruit Spills / JuicesMix vinegar and water together. Spray it on the stain. Follow the above steps suggested for food spills.
Greasy Stains, e.g., ButterOn the spot, sprinkle baking soda. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Vacuum it afterward. Next, spray some dry-cleaning agent on a clean white cloth. Use the cloth to dab the area.

Each of the above methods should be continued until the spot dries.  

Deep Cleaning

In the upholstery cleaning section, I have already detailed deep cleaning methods for many types of upholstery. Deep cleaning is mostly done on upholstered chairs, not on mesh office chairs.

Chair Cleaning With Vacuuming

Using a handheld vacuum or cordless stick vacuum can make vacuuming an office chair a breeze. In addition, some vacuums have upholstery attachments designed to remove dust and allergens. Alternatively, you can use compressed air to eliminate dirt particles. Dust, lint, hair, and other debris should be thoroughly vacuumed off the office chair from top to wheels. Using a duster or a can of compressed air can help you access difficult-to-reach spaces.

Do’s and don’t

  • Take action as soon as possible.     
  • Take a look at the instructions.     
  • Never start at the center.     
  • Be careful not to rub or scrub         
  • Use a cooling system instead of heating.     
  • You shouldn’t try to handle upholstery cleaning yourself if you don’t know how, but rather hire a professional company to do the job!

Cleaning without Vacuum 

  1. The vacuum comes with an upholstery attachment to clean upholstered seats.
  2. Cleaning with and without vacuuming is nearly identical. Only the final step differs; you can use a microfiber cloth or sponge instead of a vacuum to remove bloated dirt and debris.
  3. Certain processes, like removing grease stains with baking powder, require vacuuming. Microfiber towels and sponges do not remove dust as effectively as vacuums.
  4. Leather, faux leather, and velvet are all upholstery materials that can be easily cleaned without vacuuming. However, vacuuming is recommended for fabrics like Cotton, Nylon, Polyster, Wool, and Microfiber.

How to Get rid of Bad Odor from Office Chairs?

Even the most hygienic office chair can emit a bad odor, so you cannot just ignore this problem. In the absence of awareness, it is bound to happen. 

In general, bad smells can be divided into three categories: bacteria, fungi, and preserving agents. 

During a long sitting on your office chair, your sweat transfers to the furniture’s material. As a result, your office chair will begin to smell because the material will absorb and store the scent. Therefore, molds and mildew begin to grow inside a chair if there is too much moisture on the material. 

Thus, mold or musty smells result from this.

Baking Soda

  1. Scatter baking soda lightly across your office chair.     
  2. Make sure you rub it in gently so that it penetrates deeper into the material. (Remember you need to do this VERY GENTLY to avoid scratching the material).     
  3. Allow it to sit overnight.     
  4. Make sure the baking soda is removed by vacuuming.  
  5. However, if, even after you have followed all these steps, the odor may still linger. 
  6. Repeat the procedure until it disappears completely.  

Additional tricks:

Here are 3 additional tips:  

Tip1: Ensure the vacuum’s suction is strong enough to pull up all the baking soda bits. You may see baking soda residues on the surface if the suction isn’t too strong.

Tip 2: Ensure that the baking soda is completely dry before you vacuum; this will prevent your vacuum from becoming clogged.  

Tip 3: In the absence of a vacuum, you can use a duster or dry cloth. Although it might take a lot longer and be less effective, it will still work.


Whenever you intend to use vinegar, you should always mix it with water to lower the acidity. Nevertheless, vinegar on its own is too strong. Thus, it can cause the materials of office chairs to rip or tear.  


Follow this simple cleaning method which will erase your fears of using vinegar for cleaning.     

  1. Make a solution of one part vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle.
  2. To remove excessive odors, use vinegar plus water (if the odor is particularly strong).     
  3. Spray office chair with solution. Note, it is important to moisten, not soak, the material.     
  4. Make sure it dries completely.     
  5. Repeat the procedure if necessary.  

You must be wondering, won’t the vinegar leave a bad smell? 

It will, honestly speaking.

However, the vinegar smell will disappear quickly, leaving you with a fresh chair. 

Lastly, not all office chairs are made from the same material. Some products work well with vinegar, whereas others may become discolored or damaged. Testing is the best way to find out if you’re unsure. You can observe the effects after one day by spraying the solution on a hidden spot.  

Additional hint: In addition to the above bacteria and mold removing procedures, baking soda and vinegar can also be used to remove mold.


You can always rely on nature’s help. However, you need to be careful! Office chairs can dry out, crack, or fade when exposed to direct sunlight, depending on the type of material.   

In other words, all you need to do is expose the office chair to direct sunlight for 5-6 hours, and it will be dry and clean an office chair easily. Here’s a chart showing the materials commonly used for office chairs and whether they’re safe in direct sunlight.

How to Remove Chemicals From Office Chairs?

In contrast to bacteria and fungi, chemical odors fade over time. If not, here are some alternatives:

Air it 

Wet fabric seats should be let air dry, but if you hurry and need to get sitting again, you can also use a hairdryer on the cool setting or a wet/dry vac to remove moisture.

Keep It Dry

To prevent the chemical odor from intensifying, place the office chair in a less humid area. However, this solution won’t remove the odor, but it will shorten the spell. To prevent moisture from getting inside the material and intensifying the chemical odor, you need to dry it. In addition to making the scent last longer, this also makes it more palatable. As a result, it becomes stronger. Therefore, keeping it dry will help to remove the odor faster. If your office is humid, you can try these methods:     

  • Install an air dehumidifier.
  • Activate your air conditioner’s “dry mode”.

Tips to Maintain an Office Chair

Be sure to dispose of spills or stains as soon as they occur with water or a dish soap and water solution, so they do not set deeply. This should take around five minutes.

To remove dust and germs and freshen up your chair, regular maintenance cleaning may only take 15 minutes (plus air-drying time). Cleaning your desk and workspace should be done every week or as often as you vacuum or sweep your workspace. During the fall and winter season, set aside about 30 minutes for deeper cleaning.

You should buy a vacuum cleaner. I know it isn’t cheap. But I swear, when it comes to vacuum suction, nothing beats it.


I hope you found this very helpful! Establish small habits that will allow you to maintain your office chair for the long haul. Regularly wiping down the office chair or avoiding eating in the office area can keep the need for extensive office chair cleaning to a minimum. Get those stains off the seats!

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