How to take care of your ergonomic office chair

You spend a lot of time sitting on your office chair at your desk, but how healthy is this environment? According to a recent article published in Workplace Insight, there are a staggering 3200 germs per square centimeter on chairs, desks and keyboards! In the COVID world where hygiene is crucial, employees and customers demand a clean work environment. The upholstery fabrics used on office chairs can be difficult to clean. The seat foam and fabric may contain dirt, sweat, food, drink, and other deposits. How do you go about cleaning your office chair, including it’s upholstery fabric, wheels and other components?

There are a staggering 3200 germs per square centimeter on chairs, desks and keyboards!

Why office chair cleaning is important

Germs and diseases can spread far more quickly in an unclean environment. In a COVID world, people are fearful of getting sick, and so we have started talking about the ‘theater of clean.’ How are you protecting your staff and customers? Health and safety is vital in any work environment, and a key part of that is preventing the spread of harmful bacteria or germs. Cleaning your office desk, keyboards and chair, are critical elements within the ‘theater of clean’. A clean office desk and chair fabric can reduce staff absenteeism due to ill health, and so improve productivity.

General tips for a cleaning office chairs

  • Avoid harsh cleaning solvents and abrasive cleaners. Whatever type of office chair you have in whatever material, avoid the use of solvents and abrasive cleaners that may damage the upholstery. Such cleaners should only be used if recommended by the manufacturer.
  • When removing stains, don’t rub the fabric vigorously.
  • To avoid ring formation, rub with a clean absorbent cloth from the edge towards the centre of the stain.
  • Small stains can usually be removed by light dabbing with a moist brush or sponge.
  • Spot removal is only worthwhile for small stains. In case of insensitive and general soiling, whole cushions should be cleaned.
  • Let the fabric dry completely – do not apply heat.

Cleaning the office chair upholstery

Remove solid material using a vacuum cleaner. Whatever type of office chair upholstery you have, the first step always is to remove any solid debris using a vacuum cleaner.

Liquid spills on your office chair should initially be cleaned using a dry cloth to absorb as much of the liquid as possible.

Follow the manufacturers’ cleaning instructions. If none are available, then download our guide on how to deal with different stains. Pre-test all solutions on an inconspicuous area. When using liquid cleaners work from the outer ring of the stain toward the centre. Always rinse with clean water and blot dry to finish.

If in any doubt, contact a cleaning specialist. Karo takes no responsibility for damage caused by use of these suggestions.

A mesh chair is easy to clean with a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to get rid of any loose debris, hair, etc.

It is easy to care for leather chairs, but you cannot treat them the same way you would other fabrics. There are numerous leather cleaners available from the larger retailers in South Africa.

Follow the cleaning directions supplied with the leather cleaner. Use a microfiber cloth to gently clean the leather and prevent scratches.

Leather cleaner for office chairs

Vinyl upholstery should always be cleaned with clean water using a damp cloth to wipe away stains or spills. A mild soapy detergent may be added for more stubborn stains. Use a soft microfiber cloth to gently clean the vinyl and avoid scratching it.

Never use harsh cleaning solvents, wax polishes, aerosol sprays or chemical cleansers. Solvent-based cleaning materials may damage the vinyl causing it to crack and peel.

How to clean office chair wheels or castors

how to clean office chair wheels or castors
Dirty office chair castor

Dirt, hair and carpet fibers are often caught in office chair castors or wheels, which prevents them from rotating freely. Use tweezers to easily clean the wheels on your office chair.

Most castors can easily be removed from the chair base by simply pulling them out of the chair base. Use tweezers to remove the debris and other fibers that prevent the wheels from rotating. Before replacing the wheels in the chair base, wipe them with a damp cloth.

Cleaning other components on your office chair

Most other components on your office chair are easily cleaned using a cloth and cleaning agent. The armrests, base, mechanism levers etc, can be cleaned with a common household cleaner available from your nearest retailer.

cleaning other components on your office chair
Cleaning other parts of your office chair

How to clean plastic office chairs

General cleaner for office chairs

Plastic chairs are possibly the easiest type of chair to clean with soap and water. Unlike cleaning fabric upholstery on an office chair, you also don’t need to worry about whether the cleaning solution damages or stains the material.

Finally….

Avoid eating your lunch at your desk. It’s tempting to eat lunch at your desk when you’re busy, but this is asking to make a mess of your office chair! Get up and step away from your desk and have a proper break. Doing so can reduce stress at work and reduce the chances of job burnout.



Author: George Mashinini
Office Ergonomics Risk Facilitator at Karo Manufacturing (Pty) Ltd
21 April 2021

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