How to maintain your classroom furniture and protect it from damage

Here are some best practices to preserve the cleanliness and longevity of your classroom furniture for students and teachers.

School furniture often fulfils the niche of being both light and sturdy, to stand up to the wear and tear of the average energetic classroom. That being said, it’s important to keep the furniture well cared-for, since a well-maintained class set can often serve its users for a decade or longer. Here are some simple ways to ensure that your chairs, tables and upholstery can go the extra mile.

Classroom chairs see a lot of movement in day-to-day teaching activities, and so naturally stand up to heavy use. Most chairs are made of polypropylene, which is known for being sturdy yet lightweight. Care should be taken with cleaning chairs because of the properties of the plastic, and students should be informed to let the teacher know of any stains or spills as they happen. Polypropylene chairs can be easily cleaned with water and a mild solvent, and stains will come off easily provided they have not had the time to dry out. All classroom chairs are built to withstand some harsh treatment; however, it is best practice to purchase sets which have thicker plastic and sturdier joints to prevent the shape from warping over long-term use.

Wooden tables and storage cupboards are most often coated with melamine, which results in a glossy and stain-resistant finish. A damp cloth, mixed with a non-abrasive cleaning product such as an alcohol-based solvent will be enough to handle any common classroom mishaps. Even tougher stains such as permanent marker or liquid paper can be removed by placing a cloth dampened with a small amount of solvent onto the stain, and leaving it there until the marking is dissolved. Avoid vigorous scrubbing, particularly with scours or steel wool, as well as harsh solvents such as acetone, as these can damage the finish and make the surface susceptible to further staining. Students should also be careful with abrasive objects such as nail files or metal rulers to prevent scratches.

Other upholstery with leather or fabric surfaces are perhaps best kept for staff-only environments, as their maintenance can pose more of a challenge. Spills and stains on fabric must be addressed as soon as possible, and over-wetting or overuse of soaps may form rings which are more noticeable than the original stain. Regular vacuuming and de-pilling for fabrics is enough to account for day-to-day use. Students should be instructed to stay away from these types of upholstery when eating or drinking, and to avoid potential staining or scratching objects such as pens, stationery or loose jewellery.

These are just some best practices for the longevity of your school’s furniture. As a core tenet, it is best to use milder cleaning products and apply a preventative approach to stains and scratches to achieve the longest last of your chairs and tables. Purchasing higher quality equipment such as the Abax Kingfisher range is a good investment, as higher quality materials and a 10-year warranty will provide peace of mind to teachers and parents. If students are instructed to respect the school’s property and know the procedures to follow, then school furniture can be expected to last well over a decade with minimal fuss.

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