What’s that smell?!?
Is it coming from your office chair?
It’s quite embarrassing when our office chairs emit an awful scent. Maybe because it hints at our hygiene.
But it doesn’t matter how hygienic you are, office chair odor is a common office chair problem.
It’s bound to happen if you’re not aware.
Well, instead of spending on a new office chair (or go without one), why not use simple home remedies to remove the smell?
It’s a problem with a simple solution.
We want to help.
Here, we’ll show you:
- Why office chairs become stinky (or come stinky)
- How to remove bad odor from bacteria and fungi
- How to remove bad odor from chemicals
Plus, we’ll include a few tips on how to prevent these odors from coming back.
Are you ready? Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
Why Do Office Chairs Become (Or Come) Stinky
Try to describe the smell of your office chair.
Does it have a strong, acidic smell?
A musty smell?
All these bad smells fall under 3 categories – bacteria, fungi, and preserving chemicals.
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Bacteria is the cause of body odor.
If you sweat a lot while sitting on your office chair, the bacteria transfer to the chair’s material.
The material then absorbs and stores it, causing your office chair to stink.
Even just a little sweat can, over time, cause a bad odor in your office chair.
If there’s too much moisture on the chair’s material, molds and mildew start to grow inside.
This is what causes that moldy or musty smell.
Now, you might be wondering, “Where does the moisture come from?”
Anywhere – sweat, air humidity, liquids, etc…
“Sure, but my office chair already smelled bad when it came.”
That is the smell of the preserving chemicals the manufacturers use for the material.
Unlike bacteria and fungi, which get worse with time, this smell fades away over time.
How to Remove Bad Odor From Bacteria and Fungi
If office chairs stink, the tendency is to mask the smell.
It’s like using perfume to cover body odor instead of showering.
That’ll only make things worse.
Your aim shouldn’t be to mask the smell. It should be to REMOVE it.
To do that, you can use any of these home remedies – baking soda, vinegar, or sunlight.
Baking soda is amazing!
It’s used to clean anything and everything in a lot of households.
Yes, it can even remove office chair odor.
At some point, you might want to know why…
Why is baking soda so effective?
The common thinking is that it can absorb the bacteria’s odor. That’s why it’s great at removing bad smells.
No, baking soda does more than that!
It actually removes smells by neutralizing the bacteria membrane’s pH. Since the bacteria is no longer acidic, it no longer produces a bad odor.
To use baking soda, follow these 4 simple steps:
- Lightly sprinkle baking soda all over your office chair.
- Gently rub it in so it goes deeper into the material. (Remember! do this GENTLY. You don’t want it scratching the material)
- Let it sit overnight.
- Vacuum the baking soda off.
If the smell still lingers after the process, you can repeat it until the odor is completely gone.
A quick tip: Make sure your vacuum’s suction is powerful enough to remove the small baking soda bits.
A quick tip 2: If you’re worried about clogging your vacuum, you can avoid that by making sure the baking soda is dry.
A quick tip 3: If you don’t have a vacuum, you can use a duster or dry cloth. This won’t be as effective, and it might take a lot longer, but it’ll do the job.
Vinegar is a great odor remover, too!
Its acids can kill off these bad-smelling bacteria.
However, vinegar by itself is too strong. It can damage or tear any office chair material.
If you plan on using vinegar, always mix it in with water to lower the acidity.
Here are a few steps for using vinegar to remove office chair odor:
- Put 1 part vinegar and 1 part water in a spraying bottle . (If the odor is really strong, add 2 parts vinegar and 1 part water)
- Spray the solution onto the office chair. You want to moisten the material, not soak it.
- Let it dry out.
Again, repeat this process if necessary.
Now, we know what you’re thinking…
“Won’t vinegar add another bad smell?”
But we promise the vinegary smell goes away pretty quickly, leaving your chair fresh.
One last thing.
Not all office chair materials are the same.
Some work fine with vinegar, while others might get discolored or damaged.
If you’re unsure, test it first. Spray the solution onto a hidden spot and wait a day to see the effect.
A quick tip: Though we’ve been talking about bacteria, baking soda and vinegar can also remove molds.
We can always trust nature to help us.
Placing your office chair outside on a dry, sunny day, can do the trick. The sun’s rays kill the bacteria.
Be careful, though!
Some office chair materials dry up, crack, or fade in direct sunlight.
Here’s a chart showing common office chair materials and if it’s safe in direct sunlight.
|Fabric||❌Discolors and fades dyes|
|Leather||❌dries up, cracks, discolors, and fades leather|
If your office chair material falls under the ❌category, avoid this method.
How to Remove Bad Odor From Chemicals
We said that these chemical odors go away sooner or later.
“But I want it gone NOW!”
Okay, we have a few solutions for that as well.
A quick tip: The previous solutions can also apply to this type of odor.
Air It Out
There are 2 ways you can air out the chemical odors in office chairs.
- The first is to leave it outside in hot, dry, and WINDY weather for the whole day.
- If the weather doesn’t permit that (or the material), open the windows, place the office chair near it, and put a fan. Let the air of the fan blow the odor wafts outside.
Keep It Dry
If you don’t want the chemical odor to intensify, keep the office chair in a non-humid area.
This solution doesn’t remove the odor, but it does make the spell shorter.
You want to keep it dry so that moisture can’t get inside the material and build the chemical odor even more.
This doesn’t only make the smell stay longer. It also makes it stronger.
So if you keep it dry, the odor will go away a lot sooner.
Some great ways to dehumidify your office are…
- Put an air dehumidifier .
- Turn your air conditioner to “dry mode”.
How to Prevent Office Chair Odor From Coming Back
Great! You’ve removed the bad odor.
But what if bacteria or fungi grow back…
You’ll have to redo the solutions above.
Is there any way to prevent it from ever coming back?
Well, if you’re able to keep the bacteria and fungi away, then your office chair will stay fresh throughout.
One of the best ways to do that is to clean your office chair regularly.
If it’s always clean, bacteria and fungi can’t live inside the material.
To clean mesh office chairs, click here.
For vinyl, click here.
Remember, molds CAN’T grow without adequate moisture.
If your office chair is stinky, don’t worry too much.
Try any of these solutions to enjoy a fresh, odorless working space!
We hope this has been a great help!
If you want to learn how to remove soda spills on your office chair, click here.
My name is Vance, and I am the owner of To Ergonomics. Our mission is to improve your workflow by helping you create a supportive and welcoming environment. We hope that you’ll find what you’re looking for while you’re here.