If you have kids, you know all about the sticky fingerprints, boogers, and food spills that are smeared on your dining chairs. You may also have slobbery pets or messy relatives that 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 touch. 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 sanitary for mealtimes.
How to Disinfect Hard Dining Chairs
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. Simply 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; it’s better to be safe than sorry!
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 easily use hot water, dish soap (blue Dawn dish soap is best), a soft rag, and hydrogen peroxide to power through tough stains. 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. To disinfect and for more power against tougher stains, 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 is not only powerful to blast away dirt and grime, but its high heat can also kill bacteria and mold. Steam cleaners are a great investment because besides being able to clean upholstery, they also work wonders on hardwood floors, carpets, mattresses, grout, and much more.
We get that there are more urgent kitchen chores, like doing the dishes and sweeping everyday — so the idea of disinfecting your dining chairs typically gets "swept under the rug." Even if only done once a month, doing so will increase the overall cleanliness of your kitchen. Believe it or not, it can 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.