How To Clean a Herman Miller Aeron Chair (DOs and DON’Ts)

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Is your Herman Miller Aeron chair looking a little worse for wear and in need of some cleaning?

In this article, we’ll cover how to clean your Herman Miller Aeron chair, as well as what to avoid so you don’t accidentally damage your (not cheap!) chair.

You’ll get some specific guidelines for each of the main chair components, as well as cleaning tips for particular chair configurations (i.e. the Remastered vs Classic versions, leather vs standard armpads, etc). 

How to clean the Herman Miller Aeron base, frame and armpads

First, to get rid of any dust or other loose debris (i.e. hairs or food crumbs), vacuum the hard surfaces, including the base, frame and armpads.

If you don’t have a vacuum handy or prefer something nimbler, many users find a hand-held duster like the Swiffer Duster also works well to clear out dust on the chair [1]. 

Next, Herman Miller recommends [2] washing the surface using a soft cloth soaked in warm water and a mild detergent. Thoroughly rinse, then dry with a soft cloth. 

Avoid using solvent-based cleaners or harsh kitchen cleaners. 

How to clean the Herman Miller Aeron mesh (A.K.A. Pellicle Suspension Material)

Routine cleaning

Vacuum the mesh material to keep your chair fabric clean. When vacuuming the mesh, make sure to use an upholstery attachment on your vacuum, so you don’t damage the fabric and can clean effectively.

The upholstery attachment is typically a wide nozzle that has a fabric strip to catch lint and other stray materials. Check out this helpful article to see what this attachment looks like, so you can be sure you’re using the right one.

Avoid brushing the fabric or using a rotary brush vacuum attachment (i.e. the “turbo brush” style attachment in this article). Brushing could damage the pellicle suspension mesh according to this Herman Miller Aeron care guide.

Cleaning spots or stains

If you’re dealing with a stain that hasn’t dried yet, use a soft cloth to absorb the stain.

Avoid drying the stain fully since that may cause it to set. Note as well that the longer the stain lasts or has been on the chair, the more difficult it is to remove.

As soon as you’ve soaked up the initial stain, follow up with either a water-based cleaner or a dry cleaning solution depending on the type of stain.

Let’s discuss the two main types of stains and how you can handle each type.

Water-based stains (i.e. soft drink, coffee, fruit juice, or milk)

To clean water-based stains, use a water-based cleaner or mild warm soapy water (not too soapy!).

Do the following: 

  1. Work the cleaner into a lather or foam to remove the stain, using a damp cloth or sponge
  2. Soak up the foam / cleaning solution with an absorbent cloth or sponge 
  3. Wipe off any residue using a clean cloth or sponge dipped in cool water 

Avoid using hot water, which can set the stain. Also, avoid scrubbing – use gentle dabbing or wiping instead.

Oil-based stains (i.e. grease, salad dressing, or lipstick) 

With oil based stains, use a dry cleaning solution instead of a water-based cleaner.

A dry cleaning solution uses a water-free liquid solvent to remove the stain. Basically, it uses a special chemical other than water in the cleaning process.

One specific dry cleaning product Herman Miller recommends as suitable is the K2R Spot Remover [2]. If in doubt, try that one. 

To clean the stain, get a damp, clean cloth or sponge and do the following:

  1. Test the cleaning product on a small, out-of-site area of your chair first
  2. If there are no signs of fabric damage or unwanted marks from the above, apply the cleaner in quick, light strokes to the stained area. Several lighter strokes are better than one overly aggressive application. 
  3. Start at the outside of the stain, and work your way in a circular motion towards the center
  4. Soak up the cleaning solution with an absorbent cloth or sponge 
  5. Wipe off any residue using a clean cloth or sponge dipped in cool water 
  6. Allow the fabric to dry, then vacuum thoroughly

If you’re still unable to remove the stain, you may need to seek professional cleaning. 

Avoid oversaturating the chair fabric with the cleaning product or water. Also avoid scrubbing too hard. These things may damage the pellicle mesh material.

Cleaning large areas 

If a large area of your Aeron chair mesh is affected (more than just a smaller stain), you may need to contact a professional cleaner. 

How to clean a used Herman Miller Aeron chair

If you want to clean a used Aeron chair and not just perform routine cleaning of one you’ve always owned, you may want to perform an extra level of deep cleaning.

In addition to all the guidelines provided so far, you may want to take the chair frame out and remove any loose debris left inside by the previous owner.

Rather than trying to explain the step-by-step here, check out this video on YouTube to see the process in action:

Cleaning the Herman Miller Aeron Classic vs Remastered

You may be wondering whether there are any differences in the cleaning process between the Herman Miller Aeron Classic chairs and the newer Herman Miller Aeron Remastered chairs.

Comparing the official care guidance from Herman Miller for both the Classic and Remastered editions, the overall cleaning process should be almost the same.

That said, one new consideration for the Remastered chair is the presence of more aluminum in the chair base. Therefore, there are a few additional cleaning steps to consider for this base.

How to clean the aluminum base in the Aeron Remastered

To clean the polished aluminum base in the Remastered Herman Miller Aeron chair, apply a pre-softened paste wax. 

Herman Miller recommends Meguiar’s Cleaner Wax as a suitable option for the Aeron chair. 

If you live somewhere humid (i.e. near salt water), apply the wax once a month. 

Otherwise, you’ll be fine to apply the wax once every three months to keep your chair base looking good. 

How to clean leather armpads in the Herman Miller Aeron

If your Aeron chair uses the leather arm pads instead of the standard finish arm pads, there’s a few extra cleaning details to be mindful of.

Routine cleaning

Vacuum any dust regularly or wipe off with a clean and dry cloth. 

If the leather is a little dirty, you can wipe it down with a soft cloth and mild soap. To dampen the cloth for wiping, dip it in a small amount of lukewarm water.

In this case, avoid using detergents to wipe the armpads like you might for standard armpads. This is because detergents can cause the leather finish to become sticky and cracked [2]. 

Once you’ve wiped the leather arm pads down with the damp cloth, dry them with a fresh soft cloth.

Avoid “spot cleaning” leather armpads. Instead, wipe down the entire armpad surface so you don’t create any localised markings. 

Cleaning spots or stains

If a spill has just occurred, wipe the liquid off quickly with a clean cloth and let the leather air dry.

If more cleaning is required, and the stain is not from an oily substance (i.e. butter, grease or oil), sponge the entire surface using lukewarm water.

If the stain is still persisting, try a mild soap with a wet sponge. Ensure you rinse the soap off and let your leather arm pads air dry.

If the stain is from something oily, wipe the leather with a clean cloth and let the remaining oil disappear into the leather. Avoid using water to wash away oil-based stains.

Avoid artificially drying the leather with a hair dryer or other heating tool. Instead, as mentioned, let it air dry. 

Also, avoid using furniture polishes, varnishes, detergents, or abrasive cleaners on the leather arm pads, as these might damage the finish. See this Herman Miller guide for a complete list. 

How to clean Herman Miller Aeron Wheels 

To clean the wheels of your Aeron chair, do the following:

  1. Flip the chair upside down and remove the wheel casters
  2. Scrub the wheels gently with a soft cloth dipped in mildly warm soapy water 
  3. Dry the wheels with a fresh, clean cloth
  4. Place the wheels back into your chair and turn it upright again

Now you’re ready to “rock and roll” without dirt from your wheel casters littering the floor!

To see this in action, check out this video on YouTube:

What NOT to do when cleaning your Herman Miller Aeron chair

To re-iterate, so you’ve got a “what not to do” checklist all in one spot, avoid the following when cleaning your chair:

  • Using solvents or abrasive kitchen cleaners, since these may damage the chair
  • Brushing the mesh or using a vacuum attachment with a rotary brush, since this might permanently damage the mesh material 
  • Completely drying a stain when it appears, which can cause it to set 
  • Using hot water to remove a stain on the mesh, which can cause the stain to set
  • Scrubbing or rubbing too vigorously when trying to clean a stain in the mesh material 
  • Excessively wetting the chair fabric with water or any other liquid solution, which can damage the material 

Frequently asked questions 

How to clean dust off a Herman Miller Aeron chair? 

You can use a vacuum or a hand-held duster like the Swiffer Duster to remove dust from your Aeron chair. 

Should I scrub to get a stain out of a Herman Miller Aeron chair?

Avoid any vigorous scrubbing to remove spots or stains in your chair, since as mentioned this can damage the pellicle mesh fabric.

Instead, use gentler wiping or dabbing motions as appropriate. See the relevant sections earlier in this article for more information, or the official Herman Miller care guide

Should I use hot water when cleaning stains in a Herman Miller Aeron chair?

Avoid using hot water to clean stains on the Aeron chair, since this can cause the stain to further set into the fabric.

Try either cool or lukewarm water instead, as discussed earlier in this article. 

Can I use a hair dryer or other heat source to dry leather armpads after cleaning?

Stay away from hair dryers or other artificial heat sources when drying your leather armpads (if your Aeron chair has the leather version instead of the standard armpad finish).

These artificial heat sources are not great for preserving your leather finish. Instead, opt for air drying your arm pads after wiping them down. 

Can I use detergents, varnishes, cleaning solvents, or furniture polishes on the leather Aeron armpads?

Avoid these types of non-water-based “chemical” cleaning solutions on the leather material. As mentioned, these can damage the finish and are not recommended. 

Stick to wiping leather armpads down with mild soapy water where needed.