how to clean office furniture | office furniture cleaning guide

How to Clean Office Furniture

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In this guide on how to clean office furniture, we’ve outlined care instructions for different materials widely used in office furniture manufacturing. Heads up – this is a long post! We’ve divided it into the following three sections to help you find what you’re looking for.

  1. Cleaning Your Office Casegoods
  2. Cleaning Your Office Chairs
  3. Cleaning Your Office Cubicles

As with any investment in equipment, you should always keep the manufacturer’s care instructions and warranty readily available.

Universal Best Practices

  • Not sure about the cleaning solution you have on hand? Spot-test in an inconspicuous spot before applying to the whole surface.
  • Most cleaning chemicals, after applied, need to be rinsed and wiped off to avoid unwanted defects resulting from residue.
  • Most fabrics need to be protected from glaring sunlight to reduce the chance of fading.
  • While you’re at it, try not to use cleaning solutions in direct sunlight or high temperatures.

Cleaning Your Office Casegoods

How to Clean Laminate Office Furniture

If there has been a spill, you should immediately clean the laminate surface with a microfiber, lint-free cloth that is dampened with soap and water or window cleaner. If the laminate has a grain, you should wipe in the direction of that grain. Otherwise, rub the surface gently in a circular motion. High pressure laminate surfaces may be routinely cleaned with a solution of warm water and mild, non-abrasive soap, a mild vinegar-water solution, or a 9:1 alcohol mix. Make sure to leave the surface completely dry as any residual liquid can result in warping near the seams.

No abrasive cleaners, acids or alkalis should be used as they will damage the decorative surface. You should never use furniture polish that contains oils or waxes on laminate surfaces. Do not use cleaners that are bleach-based, as they can cause discoloration of the laminate.

How to Clean Metal Office Furniture

For routine cleaning, spray a non-abrasive window cleaner on a clean paper towel or a lint-free microfiber cloth. Wipe the area clean using a dry paper towel. For heavier soilage, wash with a soft bristly brush or sponge with a mild soap solution or non-abrasive cleaner. After washing the surface, rinse with clean water and wipe dry with a lint-free cloth.

Do not use abrasive cleaners as they may remove the finish. Avoid any cleaning product which contains solvents, chlorinated solvents, alcohols, or abrasives.

How to Clean Polycarbonate Office Furniture

Clean with a diluted, non-abrasive dish washing solution or ammonia-free window cleaner using a soft microfiber cloth or non-abrasive sponge. Rinse or wipe with lukewarm clean water and dry with a soft cloth. For heavy oils and grease, pre-rinse and use a 50/50 blend of isopropyl alcohol and water.

Do not use abrasive or high alkaline cleaners as they will scuff the polycarbonate. Avoid abrasive cloths, razors or other hard cleaning implements. When dry, do not rub the surface – polycarbonate’s natural static cling can trap unseen particles that will scuff.

How to Clean Chrome Office Furniture

Use a clean cloth with warm, soapy water to wipe off the chrome and prevent dust build-up and residue from spills. Wipe dry with lint-free cloth after cleaning.

When cleaning chrome, never use abrasive cleansers or brushes with stiff bristles. Even a scouring pad can cause damage, so choose your chrome-cleaning tools carefully.

How to Clean Wood Veneer Office Furniture

If you have a spill, you should immediately wipe off any liquids using a dry, lint-free microfiber cloth. If a stain is allowed to set in your best recourse is to consult the manufacturer because wood products are both the most delicate and varied by vendor.

For regular cleaning, wipe with a slightly damp microfiber cloth in the direction of the grain to eliminate surface dust. Immediately use another clean, dry microfiber cloth to wipe the surface dry in the direction of the grain. Wood veneer is softer than laminate options and therefore can more easily be scratched or stained. Having a protective surface helps ensure that your furniture stays beautiful for years and years, while still showcasing the rich, natural wood grain of wood veneer.

Do not use aerosol cleaners or polishes on wood veneer surfaces. Avoid any that are oil-based or any that contain wax as well.

Veneer finish needs to be polished no more than a few times each year. You should use a furniture polish that is wax-free, so it will restore, clean, and protect the veneer surface. Similar to regular cleaning, you should use a clean microfiber cloth that is lint-free. Wipe in the same direction as the grain on the surface.


Office Chair Cleaning

How to Clean Office Chair Fabric

Remove loose dirt and dust frequently by means of vacuum cleaner or soft brush. Spots should be removed immediately in a manner preventing enlargement of stain area. General soilage can be cleaned using detergent foam, however care must be taken to clean entire surface in one operation. Remove loose dirt first by brushing and apply foam according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Wipe clean with a slightly damp, clean absorbent cloth and wipe dry. Wipe again after drying is complete to restore fabric luster.

Never use chlorinated solvents, gasoline or naphtha. These will cause damage to fabric and are toxic and flammable. Avoid excessive wetting and harsh abrasion. Volatile cleaning solvents or cleaning materials such as laundry soaps or reducing agents should never be used. Bleaches should not be used unless the upholstery is explicitly bleach cleanable.

BloodWipe with clean cloth moistened with cold water – do not use soap.
CandyChocolate removal requires lukewarm water; use very hot water on candies other than chocolate. Dry with clean towel. If necessary, clean lightly with fabric cleaning fluid.
Fat or OilsFirst, remove all excess with a dull knife by scraping gently without harming the fabric. Second, apply cleaner sparingly to a clean, absorbent cloth, then blot with light pressure working toward the center of the stain area, turning cloth to clean area constantly. After removal, wipe briskly with clean absorbent cloth to prevent a cleaning ring. If a cleaning ring forms, the entire surface will need to be cleaned.
GumHarden with ice cube and scrape off excess with dull knife. Moisten with fabric cleaning fluid and scrape again. Finish with cloth moistened with fabric cleaning fluid.
DrinksAbsorb excess moisture with a clean, white cloth. Wipe with a cloth soaked in cold water. If necessary, clean with fabric cleaning fluid. Soap and water is not recommended as it might set the stain.
CondimentsWipe with cloth soaked in cool water. If further cleaning is necessary, use detergent foam cleaner.
Wax or PolishA light application of fabric cleaning fluid should be used.
Common Office Chair Stains and Treatments

How to Clean Leather Office Chairs

For regular cleaning, the leather should be wiped off with a lint-free microfiber cloth. If liquid has been spilled onto the leather, immediately apply a clean sponge or cloth to soak up the spill. Afterwards, gently dab with a soap and water mixture free from detergents with a microfiber cloth and allow to dry naturally. If grease or oil has come into contact with the leather, dab away as much of the spill as possible and wait a few days for the stain to set or cure. Usually the leather will absorb the oils and the spot will disappear.

Never use furniture polish, window cleaners, solvents, oils or saddle soap to clean leather. Do not use abrasives or hard bristly brushes to scrub the surface as they can mar the leather.

How to Clean Vinyl Office Chairs

Seating vinyl may be cleaned with a solution of lukewarm water and mild soap. Work up a thin layer of suds on a piece of cheese cloth and gently clean leather surface. Rinse the soap film off with a piece of cheese cloth dampened in clear water. Finish by wiping with a dry, soft cloth.

Never use furniture polishes, oils, varnishes or ammonia.

How to Clean Mesh Office Chairs

For routine cleaning, vacuum solid particles stuck in the mesh, preferably using a hose attachment. Pay special attention to cracks and crevices where the mesh is attached to the frame as is where residual soilage accumulates. You may need to utilize a damp cotton swab or similar implement for very tight areas. For spot cleaning, use a mild soap and water solution to gently dab at the spot and remove as much as possible. Pat excess moisture away with a clean cloth and allow to air dry in a well-circulated area.

Avoid using fabric detergent as mesh dyes are considerably varied in their ability to hold color when treated with cleaning chemicals.

How to Clean Office Chair Casters

Casters should be regularly cleaned to ensure their continued functionality. Use a mixture of mild soap and water to wipe the casters clean with a soft cloth. Then, use a dry cloth to remove residue and dry the surface.


Cleaning Your Office Cubicles

How to Clean Fabric Cubicle Panels

Frequent vacuuming or light brushing to remove dust and grime is recommended. Spot clean with a mild upholstery solvent and upholstery shampoo or foam from a mild detergent. When using a solvent on dry-cleaning product, follow instructions carefully and clean only in a well ventilated room, wearing protective gloves. Use a professional cleaning service when an overall soil condition has been reached.

Avoid any product which contains carbon tetrachloride or other toxic material.

How to Clean Cubicle Glass

Use a clean, soft, lint-free cloth to wipe all soilage off the surface. Use a clean cloth with warm water to clean the surface – this will enable the return of the frosted appearance quicker, if applicable. Use another clean, dry cloth to remove any remaining water.

Do not spray directly onto the glass – dampen a towel first and wipe clean. It may take 24 hours or longer for the etched frosting to properly dry and lose cloudy appearance.

How to Clean Cubicle Plexiglass

Using a clean soft cloth, wash Plexiglass with a solution of mild dishwashing detergent and lukewarm water. Rinse with clear water and dry by blotting with a damp cloth or chamois. Grease, oil, and tar may be removed with high quality aliphatic, naphtha, or kerosene. Good ventilation and protective gloves are highly recommended. Any oily film left behind by these solvents should be removed immediately by washing.

Do not use window cleaning sprays, kitchen scouring compounds or solvents such as acetone, gasoline, benzene, chlorinated compounds, or lacquer thinner.

How to Clean Cubicle Markerboard

Markerboard laminate surfaces can be cleaned with a particle free, clean, non-abrasive, damp cloth. Mild soap and water or mild liquid detergent can be used.

Do not use harsh abrasive cleaners, steel wool, powder soap, or harsh chemicals, acids or alkaline cleaners as these products may cause scratching and/ or surface discoloration.


Thanks for Reading!

We hope this helps ease everyone’s mind in regard to maintaining a safe, clean work environment. Over the years, we’ve found that office furniture textiles are typically the toughest to clean on your own. Want to learn how MyChairDoctor can clean, reupholster and otherwise refurbish your existing upholstery? Or what bleach-cleanable fabrics we can customize your furniture with? Tell us about your project!