Modern cars make it much easier to keep them properly maintained. There’s no need to try and remember the mileage at which the next service is due because that built in computer does it for you. As soon as it’s time on comes that little memory jogger on the dashboard.
Despite all the advances in office chair design nobody has yet come with an on board computer to remind you to maintain it.
What do you mean maintain my office chair? That’s ridiculous, it doesn’t need engine oil you know.
Of course it doesn’t. Nonetheless some simple care checks can definitely help extend your chair’s life.
Why your office chair isn’t maintenance free
A swivel chair has moving parts and will definitely benefit from some occasional checks. Quite apart form which a lot of dust and dirt can accumulate on it over time and this can be more harmful than you might think.
Looking after the upholstery
You would be amazed at the amount of grime and grit that the fabric of your office chair can harbor. Don’t believe me? If you haven’t vacuumed your chair recently, try this test.
Slip of your shoe and give the seat of your chair a couple of sharp belts with it. Chances are clouds of dust will shoot out of it. A lot of fabrics hide the dust in them very effectively and you might think what you can’t see won’t do any harm. Actually it’s the unseen part that is doing the damage. Contained within all that muck are microscopic particles of grit. As you shuffle and move around on your chair the grit acts like sandpaper shortening the life of your chair’s upholstery.
It’s a good idea to give the upholstery a thorough vacuum every week. Additionally once a year give it a clean with spray foam upholstery cleaner. Test it for color fastness on a hidden part first though.
What if you have leather upholstery?
Dirt and dust is just as harmful to leather even though it doesn’t get so deeply embedded. Begin by vacuuming off surface dust and then wipe it down with clean damp cloth.
Once it’s dry feed the leather by either applying saddle soap or using a good leather cream. Again test to see it doesn’t affect the finish before applying it. Vac and wipe weekly and feed the leather every 6 months or so. What else do you need to look after?
Keep those wheels rolling smoothly
Office chair casters accumulate dust and grime like magnets. Because it happens gradually you probably don’t notice any change. As the muck builds up it clogs the wheel spindles and just makes the chair more difficult to move.
Begin by turning your chair upside down. Next pull out any loose clumps of fluff and dirt. Follow this by giving each wheel a clean with a powerful vacuum suction pipe.
Sometimes it’s awkward to get into the workings of the wheels, especially double wheel casters. For these a tin of compressed air may be the best way to literally blow the gunge out.
Once you have cleaned the grime out try giving the spindles a light spray with WD40 or silicone spray to help them roll more easily. Make sure to protect surrounding areas with a sheet; you don’t want to stain things. Wheel maintenance should be done every 6 months. There’s one other thing to check.
Loose and missing screws and fixings
The average office chair gets a lot of hammer and things can work loose. Whenever you’re doing maintenance on your chair check that any exposed fixings are tight or missing. These will be mostly on the underside of your chair. Things like screws holding the arms, back and chair mechanism onto the chair’s seat pad.
Bear in mind chair bases are often plywood or injection-molded plastic. Usually they have screw threads pressed into them into which the bolts and screws locate. Constant movement can loosen the fixings. For persistent loose fixings try coating the threads in Loctite to keep them more secure.
The only other thing to do is to apply some light oil to the gas lift with a cloth every 6 months.
Carrying out these simple checks will help extend the life of your chair.
Lets quickly recap:
Office chairs do need regular maintenance
Vacuum the upholstery weekly and spray clean it annually
With leather vac and wipe weekly and feed every 6 months
Wheels gather dust like magnets clean them out every 6 months and lubricate
Check and tighten all exposed fixings regularly
Unlike a car your chair doesn’t have an onboard computer to advise servicing is due. Why not set up some diary reminders on your computer when it’s time to clean and check your chair.
Here’s a good foam upholstery cleaner, neutralizes odors too. For leather cleaners this specialist has a comprehensive range. And if your chair has gone beyond maintenance and needs replacing here’s a quick summary of some excellent office chairs you should have on your shortlist.