Restaurant Chairs and Tables

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Maintain Restaurant Table & Chairs: Furniture Cleaning Guide

It’s not only delicious food and great customer service that keeps visitors returning to the same restaurant; it is the environment, the decor, and the overall atmosphere of the establishment. Customers remember these factors. Restaurants are where we share important experiences – such as enjoying a romantic meal with a loved one, catching up with long-lost friends, or sharing a family meal. Therefore, it’s important to remember that these experiences can be made or destroyed by the cleanliness of a venue. Clean and well-maintained restaurant furniture goes a long way towards ensuring that your customers are comfortable, happy, and likely to return.
Different Spaces, Different Requirements

  • Dining room

The dining room is the first area visitors see upon entry into the restaurant. Cleanliness of the dining and eating area is very necessary for the safety and overall appearance of the restaurant. Guests may decide to turn around and leave if the dining room appears to be unsanitary.

A thorough sanitizing of the surface areas which diners come into contact with such as tabletops, restaurant bar stools or chairs is a proper way to ensure the cleanliness of the dining room. Surface areas can be cleaned with a clean/unused towel. It is also important to disinfect menus and condiment bottles regularly.

  • Restaurant furniture

Restaurant Furniture is subjected to daily heavy use, especially at a high traffic commercial environment. That is what it’s built to do. A wise and responsible restaurateur will do his/her utmost to upkeep the furniture which customers come in contact with the most. A worn out restaurant table, flimsy commercial patio furniture, or an upholstered restaurant booth with tears and split seams is extremely off-putting to guests.

While disinfecting and daily cleaning is fundamental, it’s also important to address deeper issues pertaining to the state of repair of furniture. Maintaining furnishings like restaurant chairs, restaurant bar stools, table bases and benches in good condition should be an integral part of a long term strategy of quality control at the front of the house. The following cleaning and maintenance tips will ensure the longevity of the furniture but above all, guarantee customer satisfaction with the cleanliness and ambiance of your restaurant.

Get it right – right from the start

Buying the right furniture is the key to ensuring clean and well-maintained restaurant furniture. Essentially, there are two main things to look out for when purchasing furniture for your restaurant:

  • Durability – furniture that is made from durable, high-quality materials will stand the test of time. You wouldn’t expect your customer to sit down at a wobbly table or feel unsafe in their chair. Just as you wouldn’t want them to sit down to a table that has been scrubbed within an inch of its life but still looks dark and grimy. It’s important to select restaurant furniture that will stay clean, comfortable and fit for purpose long after you have purchased it.
  • Safety – customer safety is a top priority for any hospitality establishment. You want to ensure that the furniture you purchase is produced to the best quality whilst maintaining style and comfort. Riga tested furniture meets and exceeds the highest British standards in furniture to the hospitality industry.

Based on Settings

Indoor furniture

Indoor furniture is built to be used in temperature and moisture controlled rooms, best in neutral conditions.  Avoid placement that is in direct sunlight, near radiators, or by direct heat sources.  Do not use indoor furniture outside.


  • Most upholstered commercial furniture is protected with a Stain Guard product, but if not, you can apply after purchase
  • Vacuum with an upholstery attachment (for added protection, use a window or other screen in between the nozzle and the fabric)
  • Blot spills up with a dry towel

Wood Finish:

  • Dust regularly with a soft cloth and wipe with the grain
  • Choose a polish designed for the finish and do not switch product brands, as a change could cause a cloudy appearance
  • Coat with a hard paste wax every 3-4 months in the first year, less often after (paste wax will also help to disguise scratches)
  • Use a dry cloth to clean up spills immediately
  • To remove spots or burns, a quick dab of ammonia followed by wax may help (we recommend spot-testing first)
  • To remove water rings, apply paste wax and rub fine steel wool over the rings (we recommend spot-testing first)


  • Dust with a barely dampened cloth and slightly warm, plain water
  • To remove dirt or stains, either uses a real soap product (no wax or detergent) and water or use a mixture of 1 part rubbing alcohol and 1 part water very sparingly applied to a cloth and rub the spoiled area (we recommend spot-testing first)
  • To remove grease, sprinkle some corn starch onto the spoiled area and let it sit for a few hours before gently dusting it off
  • For tufts, try dusting with a dry toothbrush

Metal Finish:

  • Wipe metal parts with a cloth dampened with plain water
  • To remove dirt, gently brush the surface with a soft-bristled brush
  • To remove grease or more stubborn stains, use a mild soap and water

Outdoor furniture

Outdoor furniture is designed to withstand the elements of Mother Nature.  Because outdoor furniture tends to be used less frequently than indoor, most warranties on outdoor furniture do not cover inside use of the furniture.  Store outdoor furniture inside during harsh winters or extreme weather.

Umbrella Shades:

  • Most commercial umbrella shades are treated with a Scotch Guard type product to reduce stains and prevent mildew, but if not, you can apply after purchase
  • Avoid dirt being embedded into the fabric by wiping off loose dirt regularly
  • Spot-clean with a soft-bristled brush, mild soap, and cold water as soon as a spill occurs to prevent staining
  • (For most umbrella poles, mild soap and water will remove dirt.  For metal joints, a spray lubricant will increase lifetime of umbrella.  For wooden pole, a paste wax will restore its shine.

Wrought Iron/Cast Iron:

  • Regularly dust dirt and debris from the surface
  • Spray off with a garden hose and dry completely with a towel when needed
  • To remove dirt, use a detergent mixed with water (a toothbrush will help in grooves and crevices) and be sure to dry completely
  • To remove rust marks, sand with a light sandpaper and use touch-up paint if needed

Aluminum/Stainless Steel:

  • Most commercial aluminum/steel is rust-proof, but if not, a paste wax will help protect the surfaces
  • Wash with mild soap and water


  • Oil teak every year to prevent it from turning gray (baby oil will work fine!)
  • Sand water marks with a light sandpaper


  • Spray off with a garden hose and let air dry
  • To remove scuffs, a gentle abrasive cleaner is best
  • To remove mildew, spray a mixture of 1 C bleach, 2 C detergent, and 1 gallon of water on and let sit 30 minutes before scrubbing with a sponge; rinse and let air dry

Cleaning the Chairs

Quality restaurant seating is an investment in your customers’ comfort and a surefire way to keep them coming back. However, without proper restaurant chair care, the wear and tear of daily use can take its toll on even the best commercial seating.

When you think of restaurant chair maintenance, the first thing that comes to mind is probably cleanliness. While each type and style of chair has its own specific instructions for cleaning, the appearance of the chair is only part of it.

Wood Seating

Use: A mixture of warm water and dish soap

How to Clean: Wipe the surface gently with the soap and water mixture anad thoroughly dry when finished.

Other Tips:

  • Avoid any citrus-based products, which can strip the finish
  • Every 3 months, use a furniture polish specifically designed for the chair’s type of finish. Do not change brands between cleanings–this can cause the wood to take on a cloudy appearance.
  • Dust the chairs regularly by wiping against the grain with a dry cloth.
  • Treat your chairs with a paste wax every 3-4 months. This can help to disguise small scratches and minor damages.
  • Use a small amount of ammonia to remove spots or burns. Be sure to spot the test first to make sure the finish will not be damaged.
  • Use paste wax and steel wool to remove water rings. Again–be sure to spot test first.

Metal Seating

Use: Any non-abrasive household cleaning product, or mild soap and water

How to Clean: Spray the solution on the surface and wipe dry with a clean cloth


  • Do not allow the cleaner to dry on the surface. This can damage the finish, causing the metal to easily chip or scratch.
  • Use a soft-bristled brush to remove dirt buildup. Avoid any abrasive brushes, which can scratch or damage the metal.
  • Mild soap and water works best to remove grease spots

Fabric and Upholstery

Use: A dry towel and vacuum attachment

How to Clean: Use the towel to blot up spills and vacuum dirt and dust off the surface.


The most important thing you can do for fabric and upholstery is to treat it with a stain guard before using the chairs. Sometimes this is done for you at the factory, but you also may have to do it yourself.

Restaurant Tables

We all know no one likes having a wobbly table, but how can you prevent it from becoming that way? A great deal of maintaining the life of your commercial furniture comes with proper maintenance, right down to the bases.

To ensure you are maximizing the life and usage of your tables, here are some practical ways you can care for your bar and table bases:

  • Perform Joint Checks

In high-use spaces, table joints and connections can become loose. This can put additional strain on the base, causing instability and damage to both sides of the table. To avoid this, make a habit of turning the tables over once every three months or so to ensure the bindings are still tight.

  • Clean Based on Material

Our table bases are typically steel or cast iron. Some tables, like the Andy or Dylan, have solid wood legs. To maintain any restaurant table base, we suggest routine cleaning. However, cleaning these different materials varies greatly.

For our metal bases, clean with warm soapy water and a clean, soft cloth. For wood bases and legs, never soak or apply water directly to the surface. Instead, clean with a moistened towel and be sure to dry it completely. Steer clear of any harsh chemicals like bleach or citrus-based that could compromise topcoats.

  • Don’t Ignore the Chips

Sand down and repaint any chipping on the base immediately. Chips can build on each other and can quickly compromise the integrity and look of the base.

  • Pull Outdoor Tables Inside

This one may seem obvious, but extended exposure to weather-related elements can cause rapid deterioration of your table bases. To avoid rust and oxidation, be sure to store the cafe tables inside during harsh winter months.

  • Start With Quality Products

Ultimately, the stability of your bases starts with purchasing quality constructed tables. Commercial restaurant tables endure a tremendous amount of use, so investing in vetted, durable products can have a significant impact on your bottom line (and your mind) in the long run. If you are continuously fixing joints or having to buy new tables to replace broken ones, that low price tag may not be as cost-effective after all.

Inspecting your restaurant furniture

Scheduling a periodic furniture inspection should include specific tasks:

  • Making sure that tables and restaurant chairs are sturdy and stable. Assemblies like bar stool swivels and glides should be oiled and working properly.
  • Joints and stretchers on chairs’ legs should be secure and screws should be tight. Press your hands against the chair’s or bar stool’s seat to see if it wobbles.
  • Examine your restaurant tables by placing your hands on the tabletop and giving them a gentle shake. If there is too much movement, you should look for missing levelers or loose screws that attach the base to the top. Use a wrench or pliers to tighten the table bases.
  • Check upholstery fabric or vinyl on chairs or restaurant booths for rips, loose seams, or tears. Small cuts are easy to repair and it is recommendable that you patch them up before they become larger.
  • Segregate and dispose of furniture that requires immediate attention or can present a safety hazard.

Final Verdict

Aside from representing a large investment, restaurant furniture speaks in high volumes about the restaurant’s character. The condition of the furniture also impacts the customers’ response to the dining experience.

Although there are several contributing factors that influence customer satisfaction, recent studies imply that hygiene and décor are equally important considerations patrons use to make judgments about good value, safety, and the possibility of becoming regular customers. Therefore it behooves restaurants to ensure a clean and hygienic environment for the health and safety of employees and guests.