Vinyl and polyurethane have always been easy to clean, making them popular in high-use areas. From the largest stadiums to the newest luxury cinemas, this fabric choice is found where people gather. Easily cleanable, vinyl and polyurethane fabric can make it through COVID-19 and be there for your guests in brighter times, providing best practices are used. As with any upholstery, it's important to first know which coated fabric is on your chairs. Your seating provider will have this information.
Our partners at Culp Contract recommend this process to sanitize their polyurethane: apply a water to bleach solution of 10:1, then rinse the cleaned area with water and dry with a clean cloth. CMI Enterprises recommends the same process for their vinyl products; a 10:1 water to bleach dilution for with a clean water rinse following the application, then towel dry.
Rinsing and wiping down the seats after you disinfect your venue is important to protect your fabric from damage. Gradual build-up of cleaning products can saturate polyurethane and lead to de-lamination, and it can dry out vinyl and lead to cracking.
Before you disinfect your building, it's recommended you clean your polyurethane or vinyl upholstery with a detergent or general purpose cleaner. Cleaning is a great place to begin, because it physically removes soil, organic matter, and many germs from the surface. It is also recommended as ongoing maintenance for your seating. Wipe the seats with a clean, damp cloth after you've cleaned.
Disinfecting should always take place last, to ensure that any germs leftover after cleaning are destroyed. Disinfectants are not as effective when applied directly to dirty surfaces, because germs and viruses can hide under soils.
Use disinfectants in the proper concentration, following the manufacturer's recommendations on the label. Do not over-saturate the fabric. When possible, apply the disinfectant with an electrostatic sprayer or atomizer, which produce a fine mist that is more forgiving to upholstery.
- Always test the disinfectant first on an inconspicuous area of the surface.
- We encourage wiping the seats with a clean damp cloth after you disinfect your venue, to remove excess residue. Excess residue can build up over time and potentially degrade the upholstery. The residue can also create a less-than-desirable experience for your returning guests.
Here are a few disinfectants that can be used to help combat lingering bacteria and virus pathogens. Irwin has conducted informal resistance testing for these products against a variety of fabric types.
- 409 Multi Surface: A registered disinfectant that kills 99.9% of bacteria
- Virex II 256: Used in health care - highly concentrated quaternary formula provides one-step cleaning and disinfection
- Other commercial disinfectants with anactive ingredient of hydrogen peroxide or quaternary ammonium, diluted to label instructions and applied with an electrostatic sprayer or atomizer, seem to provide a cost-effective option.