Weekend Projects

Whatever Chair You Eat In—It’s Time to Clean it, and Here’s How

published Mar 8, 2019
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(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

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If your “walls could talk,” wouldn’t the walls around your eating area have a lot to say? It’s probably the place in your home that hosts the most regular gatherings of your household and, if you could watch a time-lapse of what’s gone on around the table, where you’d see both the evolution and consistency of your home’s occupants and traditions.

With all this hanging out and eating that takes place, your chairs and table can accumulate their fair share of grime. Yet they may not get regular cleaning attention. This weekend we’re going to take care of that.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Kristan Lieb)

This Weekend: Wipe down your chairs and table legs.

While wiping down your chairs and table legs is a pretty straightforward task, here are some tips and ideas that might make cleaning them just a bit easier and more thorough.

Gather the right supplies

To clean your chairs and table legs, here’s what you might need:

  • All-purpose cleaner in a spray bottle
  • Compressed air (optional)
  • Duster
  • Rag
  • Magic Eraser
  • Cotton swabs
  • Butter knife

Cleaning chairs with spindles

Chairs that have spindles are a bit more of a pain to clean. I made the mistake of getting chairs (that I love) with vertical spindles—while raising little kids, whose chubby grubby hands plaster all sorts of food all over them.

The thing that works best is to allow a cleaning solution to soak through the build-up. I spray the spindles and a few minutes later go around with a rag. Any tough spots get swiped with the Magic Eraser (always spot-test if you’re not sure your chairs can handle the abrasiveness of the Magic Eraser).

The seat of the chair where the spindles attach is a tricky area to clean because a rag doesn’t fit in there. I use compressed air to dislodge crumbs and dust, and will sometimes take a cotton swab to the area as well. Wrapping a thin rag around a butter knife and pushing the rag through that way is another option.

Cleaning vinyl chairs

Vinyl or pleather chairs are pretty easy to clean. All-purpose cleaner and a rag may be all that you need. For tougher, set-in spots, try a Magic Eraser (again, always test in an inconspicuous area first).

Cleaning chair legs and rungs

Don’t forget to clean the vertical parts of your chair. Remnants of spills that have splashed onto legs and rungs could be making them dirtier than you’d think. Spray a rag with all purpose cleaner and grasp each leg and rung as you hold your rag to wipe them down efficiently.

Spot-cleaning upholstered chairs

If your dining chairs are covered in fabric, just give them a once-over with your vacuum’s upholstery brush. If you notice any stains or spots, you can try blotting at them with a dish soap mixture or commercial stain remover. For stubborn stains, try these instructions for how to spot-clean old or set-in upholstery stains.

Cleaning detail work on pedestals

If your table has a pedestal, there are places where vertical and horizontal surfaces meet. These tend to attract tiny crumbs that broad swipes with a rag won’t reach. Use a moistened cotton swab or wrap your rag around a butter knife to push the rag into these crevices.

You can catch up with weekend projects right here. Share your progress with us and others by posting updates and photos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #atweekendproject.

Remember: This is about improvement, not perfection. Each week you can either choose to work on the assignment we’ve sent you, or tackle another project you’ve been meaning to get to. It’s also completely okay to skip a weekend if you’re busy or not feeling the assignment.