If you have kids, you know all about the sticky fingerprints and food spills smeared on your dining chairs. You may also have slobbery pets or messy relatives who always leave your house looking dirtier than before they arrived.
Whether you have wood, fabric, metal, plastic, or acrylic chairs around your kitchen table, nearly every material can show dirt and is often covered in bacteria from constant touching. While this chore is often neglected, it’s a task that you can easily do about once a month (or more, as needed) to keep your kitchen area looking sparkling clean and disinfected for mealtimes.
How to disinfect hard dining chairs
For quick and easy disinfection, we recommend a few swipes with the SurfaceSoap UV sanitizing wand. It's powerful UV-C light kills 99.99% of germs on non-porous surfaces in seconds.*
Wood chairs are common for kitchens and dining rooms because of their classic look and low maintenance. Warm water, a couple of drops of dish soap, and a microfiber cloth can remove grime and brighten up the dingy wood. Be certain to thoroughly dry any water after cleaning, because the moisture can warp the wood. To thoroughly disinfect the surface, use an all-purpose cleaner, which will also remove more difficult stains and dirt too.
Plastic & acrylic chairs
Plastic is very durable and much easier to clean than wood because it’s not porous and it doesn’t need to be cleaned as often because of its matte surface. Acrylic on the other hand, requires regular cleaning because the clear finish will show every fingerprint and smudge. Use an all-purpose cleaner and soft rag to remove any food debris and dirt. Our favorite cleaner is the Mrs. Meyer’s Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner because it can easily wipe away spills and grime while releasing a fresh lavender scent.
Metal chairs are best cleaned with warm water, dish soap, and either a nylon brush or a soft cloth because the material can easily be scratched by acidic cleaners or harsh brushes. Rinse the chair with clean water and dry with a cloth. When exposed to prolonged periods of moisture, the metal will rust. To avoid this, use a rust prevention spray, which will protect the surface from water damage by sealing the metal with a clear coat. This is recommended for metal outdoor furniture, but you can also use it on indoor dining chairs too.
How to disinfect upholstered dining chairs
Upholstered dining chairs, while typically more comfortable than wood chairs, are more difficult to clean because you can’t always throw the fabric in the washing machine. If you happen to have removable seat covers, follow the directions on the tag to avoid damage during the wash cycle.
If you aren’t able to remove the fabric seat cushions, then you can use hot water, dish soap (blue Dawn dish soap is best), a soft rag, and hydrogen peroxide to power through tough stains. NOTE: We recommend spot testing on a hidden area of the fabric first.
Fill a bowl with the hot water and dish soap, and after dipping the rag in the cleaning solution, thoroughly wring it out. Lightly scrub at all the stains on the fabric. For more power against tougher stains and to better disinfect, spray hydrogen peroxide all over the fabric. Let the peroxide sit for at least 10 minutes before drying with a cloth.
If the stains have not disappeared after the steps above, you may find success with steam cleaning. After scrubbing with the dish soap, hot water, and hydrogen peroxide, you can try this steam cleaner. The vapor blasts away dirt and grime, and the high heat can kill bacteria and mold. Steam cleaners are a great investment because they also work wonders on hardwood floors, carpets, mattresses, grout, and more.
We get that the idea of disinfecting your dining chairs typically gets swept under the rug. Even if done only once a month, doing so will increase the overall cleanliness of your kitchen. It can also help prevent the spread of germs and prolong the surface quality of your chairs so you can enjoy mealtimes as a family for years to come.
*SurfaceSoap UV was tested by BIOSCIENCE LABORATORIES, LLC against Salmonella enterica (ATCC # 10708), Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC # 6538), and HCoV-OC43 (Zeptometrix #0810024CF). SurfaceSoap UV was tested by scanning glass slides containing these microbes and shown to kill up to 99.99% of the previously specified bacteria, and 99.9% of the specified virus strain. Tests were performed with the SurfaceSoap UV moving at 3 inches per second and held 1 inch from the exposed surface.