How to Protect and Maintain Your Dining Chairs

Brosa Koko Set of 2 Dining Chairs styled in Scandinavian dining room

Koko Set of 2 Dining Chairs | Shop all dining chairs

You’ll sit on them almost every day, so it’s important that your dining chairs can really stand the test of time. Thankfully, with the right tools, maintaining the integrity of these pieces is a simple task that’s neither time-consuming nor difficult. After all, your chairs will support you as long as you support them!

Our tips for maintaining your dining chairs

So, let’s discuss a couple of ways you can really look after your dining chairs… the first step is finding out what they’re made of, literally. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach will only get you so far when working with difficult materials, so it’s crucial that you start by determining what fabric your chairs are upholstered with, factoring that into your overall approach. Let’s get started!

Caring for timber chairs

Brosa Aldgate Set of 2 Dining Chairs styled in modern contemporary dining room

Aldgate Set of 2 Dining Chairs | Shop all dining chairs

Wooden furniture is durable, sturdy and totally timeless, with a huge range of dining chair designs and finishes to choose from. So, how do you take care of it, and what happens when you stain or spill on wood?

Timber dining chairs should always be treated gently, with no harsh chemicals or overly ‘wet’ products. Water shouldn’t ever have time to soak into wood, either; instead, you should aim to use dry or damp cloths as you clean. For day-to-day cleaning, dust your wooden dining chairs with a microfibre cloth, dampening if necessary to buff out any scuff marks or small imperfections. Furniture polish is also a must-have and can be used regularly to keep your pieces looking spic and span (oh, and shiny!).

When something has gone a little awry, and there are marks or stains on your wooden dining chairs, don’t fret – here are a few quick cleaning tips. If you’re dealing with a liquid spill, your first point of call is to mop it up with a clean, dry rag or cloth. If it has left a mark – perhaps the perpetrator was a bright colour, or had a sticky texture – then you’ll employ a slightly stronger product as necessary. We’re talking dish soap! It’s gentle enough not to strip the wood, but will work its magic on marks, stains and residue. If this still doesn’t do the trick, work quickly and carefully with a few drops of methylated spirits, which will surely sort out any wear and tear.

When everything’s looking clean and ready to go, maintain your wooden dining chairs with regular dusting and polishing. You may also find you need to vacuum down the crevices and creases of the chair on occasion to keep on top of any crumbs that might find their way down there.

Caring for fabric upholstered dining chairs

Brosa Normandy Dining Chair styled in classic traditional dining room

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While it’s uncommon for a dining chair to be made entirely of fabric, it’s still commonplace on many pieces, as most chairs feature upholstered seats and backboards. So, chances are you’ll need to learn how to look after it to ensure your upholstered dining chair stays looking gorgeous throughout its life. The difference between fabric on a dining chair and, say, your favourite on-trend outfit is access – unlike a piece of clothing that’s untethered and can be thrown in the washing machine, many upholstered chairs don’t offer any way to remove the fabric for easy cleaning.

As a result, spot cleaning is the way to go when you’re dealing with a mark or imperfection. There are a number of products you can use, from specialised fabric cleaners to a mix of dish soap and water. Gently apply the product to the area, and leave for 10 minutes, or the recommended length of time specific to your product. Then, when the time’s up, use a damp cloth to lightly work it in for 1-2 minutes before ‘rinsing’ with a little more water. Microfibre cloths are great here, as you can wet them and wring them dry without any worry over leaving fluff or residue behind. In terms of maintaining your upholstered dining chairs on an average day, you shouldn’t need to do much – just be sure to vacuum or brush away any crumbs, and clean up spills as quickly as possible.

Of course, some chairs are made almost entirely of fabric, but these chairs generally feature slipcovers that are removable. This makes cleaning a super simple task, as usually, you’ll be able to remove the slipcover and pop it in the washing machine or give it a thorough hand wash. Try to use gentle soaps depending on the kind of fabric (e.g., linen should be washed carefully and on cold) and air dry where possible.

Caring for velvet dining chairs

Brosa Sophie Set of 2 Dining Chairs styled in modern contemporary dining room

Sophie Set of 2 Dining Chairs | Shop all dining chairs

If you love a fancy, plush velvet, you’ll want to keep it looking gorgeous all the time – right? To help you out, here’s a quick look at protecting and maintaining velvet dining chairs. It’s a little trickier than some, so be sure to make a plan (and bookmark this guide if future you needs a bit of guidance).

Most issues with velvet can be prevented by caring for the fabric regularly and correctly. Habitual brushing with a soft-bristled brush will ensure the look, feel and beautiful lustre of the fabric – brush in a single direction to remove dust, crumbs and other pesky particles that build up over use. This will ensure your dining chairs stay looking great and keep giving that chic, retro vibe without compromising quality.

In the event that you spill something on your velvet dining chairs, step number one is not to panic! The first avenue you should try is vacuuming. Do so along the ‘nap’ (AKA the fuzzy side that denotes the natural direction of your velvet) for the best results and to prevent against further damage or wear and tear. If you’re dealing with a stain that just won’t budge, the next thing to try is spot cleaning with a small amount of a gentle cleanser like dish detergent. Mix it with water, stirring well and creating lots of suds on the water’s surface. Collect these suds on a damp cloth and work them into your stain carefully, blotting to remove discolouration and to stop the edges of your mark from bleeding. Brush the nap so it’s facing upwards, and then leave the spot to dry – hopefully so it looks just like new.

Caring for leather dining chairs

Brosa Ingrid Set of 2 Dining Chairs styled in mid century modern dining room

Ingrid Set of 2 Dining Chairs | Shop all dining chairs

Finally, let’s talk leather. Another incredibly popular choice of material for dining chairs, this fabric is durable when looked after properly, but can be a little temperamental otherwise. It’s a total sin to get wet, and can be very sensitive to soaps, so tread carefully.

For day-to-day maintenance, the best thing to do is simply dust your leather dining chairs down using a microfibre cloth. If you’re working with a light-coloured leather in particular, or if lots of people regularly sit on these chairs, you might also want to pick up some leather wipes for an occasional wipe down. This will ensure your leather chairs look amazing and stay in tip-top shape.

If you’re dealing with a spot, scratch or stain, there are a few approaches to take that’ll preserve the leather whilst working on that little imperfection. On the most conservative end, start with a small dab of water and a microfibre cloth. Work on the stain in circular motions, adding extra droplets of water as necessary. This is great for sticky residue or raised stains that just won’t budge. If that doesn’t work, the best next step is to get to the source of the stain. Is it bright or dark, is it greasy or oily, is it a scratch? Use this to guide your cleaning process, always opting for the gentlest possible method at first. There’s no one right way here, but concoctions like cream of tartar and lemon juice, rubbing alcohol and water, and vinegar and olive oil, all do the trick for different types of stain.

General tips for protecting and maintaining your dining chairs

Brosa Ashley Scoop Back Dining Chair styled in classic traditional dining room

Ashley Scoop Back Dining Chair | Shop all dining chairs

Now that you know exactly how to look after your specific type of dining chair, we’ll leave you with a few last tips that are totally universal. These are integral to keeping your furniture pieces looking good over time, and lasting both aesthetically and functionally.

  • Vacuum your chairs: Maybe it sounds a little odd, but vacuuming your dining chairs should be completely non-negotiable! You’d be surprised at how many crumbs and scraps can lodge themselves down the sides or back of your chairs. If you have a stick or handheld vacuum, you’ll be able to get right in there with the correct brush head and angle.
  • Keep dining chairs out of direct sunlight: Like with most furniture pieces, direct sunlight is not your bestie – in fact, it’s quite the opposite. While we love feeling the rays on our faces in summer, your dining chairs don’t agree, as this can cause fading, warping or cracking over time. Some indirect light is totally fine, but hot temperatures are powerful, so keep the direct light to a bare minimum.
  • Keep chairs away from heat: Similarly, sources of direct heat aren’t good for your dining chairs, no matter what they’re made out of. Fireplaces and heaters can irreversibly damage your furniture in the same ways as the sun can, so be sure to keep a 50cm barrier between these heat sources and your precious pieces.
  • When in doubt, invest: That extra bit of cash might seem like a lot at the time, but our biggest piece of advice is to, where available, always invest in furniture protection. In the long run, it’ll work out cheaper and more effective for you by prolonging the life of your beautiful furniture pieces. Fabric protection on leather and upholstery is a game-changer, as it’ll ensure marks and stains are minimal and easy to clean.

No two dining chairs are the same, but with these general rules raring and ready to go, you’re sure to find the cleaning, maintenance, and ongoing protection of your dining chairs a simple and effortless task. Keep an arsenal of your favourite products on hand for any urgent spills, take some time to dust and polish your pieces, and most of all, take pride in your dining chairs – after all, they’re what supports you each day as you eat your meals, complete important work, spend time with loved ones and more. The more time and wear you get out of them, the happier you’ll be!

Of course, these tips can also be applied to other furniture pieces, including benches, barstools and even dining tables dependent on material. 

Shop our range of dining chairs and explore the latest styles, as well as some classic favourites. Here at BROSA, we make finding the perfect dining chairs for your space an easy task, with Australia-wide shipping, flexible payment options and the advice of our team of styling experts at your fingertips at any time.