Best Practices for Proper Cleaning and Disinfecting Furniture

Updated: Feb 22



Pre-pandemic, a general cleaning of the office may have included a light dusting, quick wipe down of shared surfaces and spot vacuuming. Today, light cleaning means so much more. The pandemic has made routine cleaning and sanitization a crucial part in our everyday lives.


Aside from dusting and vacuuming, how we clean our surfaces and more specifically the furniture within our workplaces has changed significantly to maintain a healthy and safe environment. The detergents and cleaning agents used not only need to efficiently clean and sanitize our surfaces, but they also need to be free from damages.


Harsh chemicals can quickly destroy furniture and upholstery. So how do we maintain proper cleaning without the added cost of replacing our furniture?


As a furniture dealership, we are committed to recommending durable, high-quality, commercial grade furniture that can be used, cleaned, and sanitized safely. All cleaning and disinfecting protocols meet the recommended guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure the safest workspaces.


To ensure you keep your furniture in the best condition, it is important to understand the differences in care for various materials. The following are basic guides and suggestions for proper cleaning of your furniture, while keeping disinfecting a priority.


Cleaning vs. Disinfecting

The first step to cleaning and disinfecting your furniture is knowing the difference between the two.

  • Cleaning removes dirt and impurities, including germs, from surfaces. Cleaning alone doesn’t necessarily kill germs, but aids in removing and reducing the risk of a person picking up a pathogen from a surface.

  • Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects using chemicals, like disinfectants registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. Disinfecting doesn’t necessarily clean dirty surfaces. But it kills germs that remain on a surface after cleaning – further decreasing the risk of infection.

Keep in mind, not all cleaning solutions are EPA-registered disinfectants equipped to kill viruses like COVID-19. To find out if your cleaning agent is EPA-registered, enter the registration number from the cleaning product’s packaging on this EPA website.


We also recommend testing any cleaner and/or disinfectant on a small area before proceeding and always finish with a clean rinse and a clean, dry, soft cloth.


It is important to note that some residue left from cleaning/disinfecting solutions may degrade some surfaces. Some cleaning/disinfecting solutions may be harmful to surfaces, thus changing the appearance and possibly any warranty your product may have. It is highly recommended to review your products full warranty and manufacture cleaning guidelines to ensure the best guarantee.


Surfaces

Below you will find general guidelines for most common surfaces:


Acrylic:

  • Clean using a mild solution of water and detergent. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry.

  • Disinfect using a bleach solution with a ratio of four-five tablespoons of bleach to one gallon of water. Spray the solution as a mist, wipe and rinse with clean water and a fry cloth.

Alternative disinfectants include Hydrogen Peroxide or 30% diluted Isopropyl Alcohol. Always rinse with a clean, damp cloth and wipe dry.


Laminates/Paints/Metal:

  • Clean using a mild solution of water and detergent. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry. Avoid exposing furniture to extreme heat or cold; also avoid wide humidity variance.

  • Disinfect using a bleach solution with a ratio of four-five tablespoons of bleach to one gallon of water. Spray the solution as a mist, wipe and rinse with clean water and a fry cloth.

Alternative disinfectants include Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, Clorox NON BLEACH Disinfecting Wipes, and Lysol All Purpose Spray Cleaner. Always rinse with a clean, damp cloth and wipe dry.


Glass:

  • Clean using Windex Original Glass Cleaner.

  • Clean as normal with a soft cloth and mild, non-alkaline detergent using moderate pressure. Detergent must be free of silicone and other polishing additives that may leave a residue causing streaks to form. Abrasive and caustic cleaners are not used.

  • Excessive pressure or hard scrubbing motions may damage the painted frost glass surface.

  • Wipe glass surface until dry; liquids left on the glass may cause staining.

  • Disinfect using a bleach solution with a ratio of four-five tablespoons of bleach to one gallon of water. Spray the solution as a mist, wipe and rinse with clean water and a fry cloth.

Alternative disinfectants include Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, Clorox NON BLEACH Disinfecting Wipes, and Lysol All Purpose Spray Cleaner. Always rinse with a clean, damp cloth and wipe dry.


Wood/Veneer:

  • Clean using a damp, lint-free cloth, and wipe in the direction of wood grain. Dry immediately with a clean, dry cloth.

  • Clean surfaces with a water dampened soft cloth; always wipe with the grain and dry the surface completely.

  • If needed, clean with a small amount of non-alkaline dish soap in warm water. • Immediately remove any liquids from the furniture surface with a blotting action.

  • Lift objects to remove them; never pull them across the surface.

  • For an additional safeguard, use a protective desk pad. The single item could ensure a lasting finish by protecting your furniture from possible damage caused by pens or sharp objects.

  • If using a protective glass top, place spacer pads under the glass to allow the wood to breathe.

  • Avoid exposing furniture to extreme heat or cold; also avoid wide humidity variance.

  • Avoid exposure of furniture to strong sunlight. Prolonged exposure may change the color of wood beneath the finish.

  • Disinfect using a bleach solution with a ratio of four-five tablespoons of bleach to one gallon of water. Spray the solution as a mist, wipe and rinse with clean water and a fry cloth.

Alternative disinfectants include Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, Clorox NON BLEACH Disinfecting Wipes, and Lysol All Purpose Spray Cleaner. Always rinse with a clean, damp cloth and wipe dry.


Wood finishes can withstand cleaning solutions that include bleach (10%), hydrogen peroxide (Virox), alcohol (CaviWipes, hand sanitizers), quaternary ammonium compounds (Virex, Ecolab A-456 II, Lysol) and phenols (Wex-cide) when they are used in accordance with the manufacturer’s label instructions.


Markerboards or Dry Erase Acrylic:

  • Clean using a mild solution of water and detergent. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry. Use specific cleaners such as Quartet and Expo for stains.

  • We do not recommend using any type of disinfectant on these materials and they may deteriorate the surface. We recommend reaching out to your manufacturer for specific instructions to ensure you do not void any warranty.



Upholstery

Vinyl, Polyurethane and Silicone:

  • Clean using a mild solution of water and detergent comprised of water and dish soap (10:1). Rinse thoroughly with a clean, damp cloth and dry. Moderate scrubbing with a soft brush will help loosen soiling materials and debris.

*** Always Test Disinfectant on a Small Area Before Proceeding ***

  • Disinfect using a bleach solution with a ratio of four-five tablespoons of bleach to one gallon of water. Spray the solution as a mist, wipe and rinse with clean water and a fry cloth.

Alternative disinfectants include Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, Clorox NON BLEACH Disinfecting Wipes, and Lysol All Purpose Spray Cleaner. Always rinse with a clean, damp cloth and wipe dry.


Leather:

  • Wipe down with a soft, clean cloth. Remove dirt and debris by wiping area with a clean, dampened cloth, then dry with a soft wool cloth. Allow to dry thoroughly.

  • We do not recommend using any type of disinfectant on these materials and they may deteriorate the surface. We recommend reaching out to your manufacturer for specific instructions to ensure you do not void any warranty.


Mesh:

  • Clean using a soft bristle brush to loosen dirt or debris, then vacuum. Apply a mild solution of water and detergent comprised of water and dish soap (10:1). Rinse thoroughly with a clean, damp cloth and dry.

*** Always Test Disinfectant on a Small Area Before Proceeding ***

  • Disinfect using a bleach solution with a ratio of four-five tablespoons of bleach to one gallon of water. Spray the solution as a mist, wipe and rinse with clean water and a fry cloth.

Alternative disinfectants include Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, Clorox NON BLEACH Disinfecting Wipes, and Lysol All Purpose Spray Cleaner. Always rinse with a clean, damp cloth and wipe dry.


Felt:

  • Clean using a soft bristle brush to loosen dirt or debris, then vacuum.

  • Disinfect using a bleach solution with a ratio of four-five tablespoons of bleach to one gallon of water. Spray the solution as a mist, wipe and rinse with clean water and a fry cloth.


Woven Fabrics:

For woven fabrics, follow the cleaning guide based on your fabric’s cleaning code.


  • (W) Use water-based cleaning solutions (Resolve™ Upholstery Cleaner, or mix 2 tbsp of ammonia or ammoniated detergent, such as Ajax® liquid, to 1 qt of water). Blot the stain gently with a cloth dampened in this solution. Continue turning the cloth to always use a clean portion.

  • (S) Use mild, pure, water-free dry cleaning solvents (Energine® or Carbona® ). Wet a cloth with the spot cleaner and follow the procedure described above. Cleaning by a professional furniture service is recommended.


Common Spills and Suggested Clean Up:

Note: Always brush fabric before cleaning to remove excess dirt and dust. A small area should be tested prior to general cleaning.


Blood (W)

• Treat with cold water and table salt mixture (2 tbsp salt to 1 qt of water). Rinse and blot with a towel. If stain persists, use diluted ammonia.


Candle Wax (S) • Gently scrape away surface wax with spatula or dull knife. Cover the wax with several layers of paper towel and apply a warm iron.


Chewing Gum (S) • Freeze with ice. Remove with spatula or dull knife. Chocolate or Coffee • Sponge with lukewarm water.

Fruit Juice or Berry Stains • Treat with cold water.


Grease, Cooking Oil, Bacon Fat etc. (S)


Ink or Markers (W) • Use rubbing alcohol.


Mud (W) • Lift away pieces that can be removed with a spatula or dull knife. Let dry, then vacuum. If stain persists, clean with a cloth dampened with ammonia-water solution.

Pencil Lead or Rubber Cement (S)


Perspiration, Mucilage, Urine (W)

Vomit • Treat with cold water and unseasoned meat tenderizer. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse, let dry, then vacuum.


*** Always Test Disinfectant on a Small Area Before Proceeding ***


Disinfect using Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, Clorox NON BLEACH Disinfecting Wipes, or Lysol All Purpose Spray Cleaner. Always rinse with a clean, damp cloth and wipe dry.

For a complete guide of approved disinfecting guidelines, reach out to your manufacturer.