How To Clean Bar Stools

How To Clean Bar Stools

Bar stools — they’re sleek, they’re handy and they’re space-saving. But whether you’re enjoying a drink at a restaurant bar or perching at your home breakfast nook, no one wants to be sitting on a dirty seat. Like any other piece of furniture, bar stools require maintenance and care to keep in good condition. No matter the material and construction of your bar stools, we’ve got you covered with some expert tips for keeping them in top shape.

How Often Should You Clean Your Bar Stools?

Unlike mattresses and couches, no hard-and-fast rules dictate how often you should clean your bar stools. Rather than cleaning on a schedule, aim to give your stools some care when you notice stains, odour or general discolouration. 

The frequency of bar stool maintenance will also depend on the material of the stool itself. For example, timber stools may be fine with a wipe down every now and then, while leather upholstery may need additional conditioning every couple of months. In general, as long as you’re avoiding harsh cleaning chemicals and over-scrubbing, there’s no such thing as too often when it comes to cleaning.

How To Clean An Upholstered Bar Stool

1. Wipe The Bar Stool Clean

Before you target stains, it’s essential to see what will come off using a mild cleaning solution. If the dirt and stains aren’t set in, wipe down, blot or gently rub the upholstery with a soft cloth and warm water. For more stubborn discolouration or stains, create a diluted soap solution for an overall clean. Allow the seat to completely dry before moving on to the next step.

2. Conduct A Smell Test

It may seem unusual, but it’s important to check your bar stools for odours to make sure you don’t have issues with mould or mildew. If you notice any unpleasant smells, treat the whole cushion by sprinkling a generous layer of baking soda onto the cushion and allowing it to settle for up to a few hours. For more pungent odours, consider mixing lavender essential oil into your baking soda mixture. After you’ve let the baking soda sit, vacuum the surface of the stools.

3. Treat Grease Stains

Removing oil and grease stains from your upholstered bar stools isn’t always easy, especially if you can’t remove the cushion cover. Using a soft bristle brush and a cleaning solution of mild detergent and water, rub circles into the stain until it lightens. It’s important to be gentle with stains as too much scrubbing can damage or warp some types of upholstery, such as PU leather or linen. Allow the affected area to dry before retreating if necessary.

4. Consider Scotchguard

If there’s one thing new parents and bar owners have in common, it’s regularly cleaning upholstery. If you’re finding yourself blotting stains more often than you’d like, try a stain guard such as Scotchguard on the seats. After all, prevention is better than cure.

How To Clean Leather Bar Stools

Leather has the power to make any piece of furniture feel high-quality and timeless, and bar stools are no exception. The good news is that leather is naturally stain-resistant and holds up well over time when properly maintained.

Newly-purchased leather products often come with cleaning instructions and a cleaning solution, but if you don’t have that handy, consider purchasing some designated leather cleaner. Regular soap should be avoided due to its drying qualities, which can cause cracks in your upholstery. In case of small spills, a damp, soft rag is all that’s necessary to treat the stain.

To really extend the life of your seat and prevent it from dirt-attracting cracking, condition your leather bar stool with a petroleum-free leather conditioner or polish and a microfiber towel.

How To Care For PU Leather Bar Stools

Leather’s affordable doppelganger, PU leather, should be cleaned and cared for similarly. Rather than using leather cleaners, faux leather can be treated with household products. 

Using a heavily diluted soap and warm water mixture, wipe down the surface of the PU leather bar stool. After stains are removed, make sure to wipe away any soapy residue and allow your stools to dry. Follow this process by treating it with a gentle conditioner such as baby oil.

How To Clean A Bar Stool’s Base

Don’t toss out your older bar stools — a simple refresh and rust removal will have them looking as good as new in no time! Given how many bar stools have a metal base, it’s important to know how to remove rust when it inevitable forms. Here are some methods to try using common kitchen products.

Aluminum Foil Method. One of the most effective methods of removing rust from your metal bar stools is with foil. Soak the aluminium foil in warm, salty water and crumple it into a ball. Gently rub the ball over the rusted areas of your bar stool to clean it.

Vinegar Method. Spray WD-40 onto any rusted areas of your bar stools and wipe it off. Spray white vinegar onto the same areas and allow it to sit for a few hours. Using a foil ball soaked in vinegar, scrub the surface until the rust is completely removed.

Baking Soda Method. Sprinkle baking soda onto the metal base and spray with water. Repeat these steps until a thick layer has formed, and then leave for around two hours. Using a brush, scrub the rusted areas until the surface is smooth and rinse away the remaining residue. 

Should I Clean Or Replace Old Bar Stools?

For particularly old, damaged bar stools, no amount of cleaning will be enough to restore them to their former glory. If you’ve followed these steps and are still unhappy with how your pieces look and function, it could be time to invest in a new set.

Not sure where to start? Check out our guide to choosing the right bar stools.

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