How to Keep Leather Office Chair Cool?

Leather chairs are a beauty. They are classy, professional, and pretty much durable. But, it is challenging to keep a leather chair cool, especially on hot summer days.

I once sat in an executive leather office chair in an office and instantly jumped off due to the intense heat. Needless to say, I never revisited the office.

So, leather chairs are a ten on ten for their looks. However, it’s traumatizing to sit on when left in the heat.

How can we keep the leather office chairs cool?

To keep the leather chair cool, use the Air conditioner, fans, and cooling cushions, place the chair in shady areas, and clean frequently. Leather chairs become hot due to the absorption of heat from the outside. 

leather chair cool
Leather office chair (Source: Unsplash)

So, how does the leather chair get hot, and what accessories and methods can we use to keep them cool?

Read on to find tips and some of the best leather chair recommendations.

Does Leather Office Chair Radiate Heat?

Leather chairs look chic and professional. However, they are not comfortable on hot summer days.

Leather chairs can heat up quickly. Sometimes they become hot enough to make you jump off your office chair.

They also become cold on winter days. However, the cold would not be as an issue as the heat.

The leather office chair does not radiate heat by itself. But, it becomes hotter by absorbing the heat from the surroundings due to its high thermal conductivity.

The material of leather chair and chemicals used on them also contributes to the heat.

Sitting on a leather chair left out in the scorching sun can cause burns on your skin.

What Causes Leather Chairs to Sweat?

Compared to other fabric and wooden chairs, you feel hotter and sweatier while using a leather office chair.

The sweaty feeling that you get is due to leather properties that absorb heat and do not let the sweat evaporate.

1. Heat Absorption

A leather chair absorbs heat from the environment and your body so that it can get heated up on hot days. This occurs due to a phenomenon called thermal conductivity.

Leather has a thermal conductivity of 0.14 W/(m K). The trapped heat can make you feel hotter and sweat even more.

Thermal conductivity
Thermal conductivity (Source: Wikipedia)

2. Not Breathable and Porous

Natural leather is breathable. However, leather chairs are not made of genuine leather. They are made up of artificial leather, like polyurethane leather and vinyl leather.

Polyurethane leather is thick and also unbreathable material. Likewise, vinyl leather is also not breathable. So, you will sweat more in those materials as the sweat cannot evaporate anywhere.

The use of tanning chemicals and surface treatment chemicals makes the leather non-breathable by filling the leather pores with chemicals.

Leather Chair Materials (Source: btod.com)

3. Leather is Less Absorbent

Your thighs get stuck on the chair if you wear shorts while sitting down. This is due to excessive sweating and the non-absorbent properties of faux leather.

Leather can be pretty durable, but its thickness makes your feel sweatier as it is not absorbent.

Unlike cotton and fabric, it does not absorb sweat. So, the sweat stays there on your skin, making you feel hot and sticky.

4. Clogging of Pores

You also feel hot and sweaty in your leather chair if you haven’t cleaned them in a while.

Leathers have large pores, which can be quickly filled by the dust, dirt, and oils from your body. Moreover, leather pores can trap them as they seep inside.

All the dirt and sweat from your body goes inside the pores of the leather and clogs them. This makes the leather even more unbreathable.

You need to clean your chair frequently for hot summer days.

Pores on leather (Source: Pixabay)

5. Use of Chemical Tanning Products

Chemicals are used while tanning or dyeing the leather products to gift it the brown natural leather-like color. The chemicals seep through the leather pores and can clog them.

Clogged pores make leather less breathable. Tanning chemicals like chromium clog the pores.

According to the research, the tanning chemicals crosslink with the reactive groups of the collagen, making them unbreathable. Hence it makes the leather chairs sweat.

6. Surface Treatment Methods Used

Leathers are surface treated before being used in furniture. Surface treatment methods like burnishing are used in leather chairs. The surface treatment process makes the leather tightly pressed.

Hence, sweat is trapped inside the leather. Also, some chair seats are treated with synthetic treatment methods. These methods make them water-resistant.

However, its texture will be similar to vinyl increasing your sweating process.

7. Cheaper Quality Fabric

Original leather chairs do not cause overheating as they are more breathable. However, faux leather and polyurethane leather are cheaper alternatives to leather chairs.

Faux leather and polyurethane leather trap more heat, making you sweat more.

Faux Leather Chair
Faux Leather Chair (Source: Amazon)

How to Keep Leather Office Chair Cool?

You may feel boiling and sweaty in your leather office chair. You can keep the leather chair cool by keeping your room cool or placing it away from the sunlight.

Moreover, cleaning the leather chair frequently is also important. Choosing a lighter shade leather chair is a better option for a cool chair.

1. Keep your Room Cool

You can keep your office chair cool by keeping your room cool, as the leather takes up heat from the environment and your body.

You can also use an air conditioner or a double exhaust fan to keep cool. Place the dual exhaust fans with one facing inside and one facing outside. This way, the hot air from the room will be constantly blown out.

Air conditioner in the room
Air conditioner in the room (Source: Pixabay)

However, remember to clean the fans regularly, or it might bring in dust from outside, which makes your chair dirtier and makes you sweat more.

If you have a thermostat in your room, set it to 70 degrees for the ideal temperature.

2. Keep your Chair Protected from Sunlight

When you place your leather chair in direct sunlight, it becomes unbearable to sit on it.

So, you need to place your chair in a shady area away from the sunlight. Avoid placing them directly in front of the window to keep your leather chair cool.

leather chair cool
Leather chair in the sunlight (Source: Unsplash)

If you have no other option but to place the chair in front of the window, you can use curtains or blinds.

Using frosted stickers on your window can also protect your chair seat from the heat.

3. Choose a Lighter-Toned Chair

The color of your chair also determines how hot you would feel in it.

Darker shades like black and other dark brown, and blue, absorb more heat than their lighter color counterparts like light blue, yellow, or white.

So, you should choose a lighter shade for your chair if you want to stay cool.

leather chair cool
White leather office chair (Source: Amazon)

4. Keep your Chair Clean

If you rarely clean your chair, you might feel hotter while sitting on the leather chair.

The heat increase is due to dust and sweat particles inside the leather pores, sealing it shut and making it less breathable.

It would be best to wipe your leather chairs at least once a week and deep clean them once a month to keep the leather chair clean and cool.

Cleaning Leather chair (Source: softcare.fi)

How to Prevent Sweat on Leather Office Chair?

You can maintain your leather chair by cleaning them often. However, it is best to avoid getting sweat stains on your leather chair.

Here are some ways to avoid getting your sweat on the leather chair.

1. Prevent Excessive Sweating

You can either prevent getting a sweat on your leather chair or reduce sweating to solve the sweat problems on a leather chair.

Use an air conditioner or fan directed towards you to reduce your body heat. Wearing light, loose cotton clothes helps to keep your body cool.

Cotton is also an excellent absorbent, so it can absorb all your sweat away before it reaches the chair.

Also, remember to wear loose-fitting clothes to enable the sweat to evaporate and reduce moisture on your clothes.

Sitting all day on your chair can lead to excessive sweating. So, remember to take breaks.

If you work out before work, remember to shower before sitting on the leather chair or dry off well.

Excessive Sweating Treatment
Excessive Sweating Treatment (Source: Amazon)

You can also use an excessive sweating reduction underarms machine to reduce excessive sweating.

2. Use a Protective Layer

If you sweat excessively and have to work for long hours, use a protective layer between yourself and the leather chair.

The protective layer can be a towel or a simple absorbent cloth. You should avoid direct contact with the chair as much as possible.

Throw blankets are a better option as they also look like decor while serving the purpose. You can also use a seat cover for more protection.

leather chair cool
Throw blankets on a Leather chair (Source: Amazon)

3. Apply Leather Protection Products

You can also prevent sweat stains on your leather chair by using leather protection products like leather protection creams.

You should apply the leather protection cream four times a year after cleaning.

To avoid cracking and splitting due to sweat, apply a leather conditioner after cleaning the leather chair. Such leather protectors will stop sweat from reaching the pores of the leather.

4. Use Cooling Cushions

You should avoid getting sweat stains on your leather office chair if possible.

However, sometimes it is unavoidable to work long hours without breaks. So, you can use a cooling cushion to keep yourself and the leather chair cool and act as a protective layer.

The cushions use gel technology or breathable fabrics to circulate cool air or avoid heat build-up in your body.

It works on the principles of conduction and convection to maintain the cold temperature.

Gel crystals are present inside the cooling cushion, which turn into liquid after absorbing your body heat and keep the body part in contact and the leather chair cool.

They work perfectly for four hours and can be used on any leather chair.

Here are some of the best cooling cushions you can use while working all day.

Best Cooling CushionsFeaturesProduct Image
Seat Cushion for Office ChairAnti-sweat absorbent material keeps air circulation.

Curved surface provides support for thigh, hips, and coccyx.
Purple Simply Seat CushionHundreds of air channels paired with a temperature-neutral material.
ComfiLife Gel Enhanced Seat CushionMaximum support and comfort

Durable memory foam with cool off gel layer on top for superior comfort.

Does Sweat Damage Leather Chair?

Sweating on your chair merely feels like an inconvenience and discomfort for you. But, it also harms the leather chair in the long run.

If you sweat a lot, you are at a higher risk of damaging your expensive luxury leather office chairs.

Over time, the sweat can be collected in the porous leather and cause stains, stretching, cracking of the leather, and increase the unpleasant smell.

Did you know? An average person sitting on a chair can produce about 4 oz’s sweat every hour.

1. Staining and Discoloration

If you have used a leather chair for a very long time, you must have noticed some dark spots and discoloration on the seat.

Usually, this is an indication of sweat damage. The oils and compounds present in the sweat can bleach your leather and change its color.

To notice the sweat stains, look around the armrests and headrests. As those parts of the chairs come more in contact with our sweaty bare parts like the neck and arms, you will notice more stains on the area.

The faux leathers used in leather chairs use tannins and artificial colorations on them, which react with the fatty acids in our sweat, causing discoloration.

Watch the video for more information,

2. Cracking and Splitting

Leather can crack and split when left in contact with sweat for a long time due to its high salt content.

Faux leather is water-resistant, so it can split in the drying process if it gets wet by sweat.

The collagen fibers present in faux leather can shrink, which can cause more splitting. Over time, the cracks can get deep and become unrepairable.

leather chair cool
Discolored and cracked leather chair (Source: Wikipedia)

You can save your leather chair from cracking and splitting if you use a barrier cream on the leather seat beforehand.

Another reason for tears on your leather chair is the change in tensile strength during the drying process, making it less elastic and more brittle.

3. Change in pH Levels

Our body sweat contains salt, sebum, ammonia, butyric acid, urea, creatinine, etc. They are present in minute amounts and are not harmful directly.

However, when the sweat accumulates over time, these compounds can change the pH of the leather chair by weakening its fibers and causing cracks in them.

4. Unpleasant Odor

Leather by itself does not smell unpleasant. However, most old leather furniture has a distinctive smell due to the accumulation of sweat.

Sweat can cause bacterial growth, which results in unpleasant odors.

Tips for Cleaning the Sweat Stains on your Leather Chair

You need to clean your chair more often if you start noticing the signs of sweat stains on leather and peeling, cracking, etc.

  • Check for sweat stains when you get up mid-work. If you notice some stains, use a wet wipe to wipe them off immediately to avoid permanent stains.
  • Mix mild dish soap and warm water, apply the mixture with a microfiber cloth to the sweat stain, and get rid of it.
  • Only use mild-warm water to clean your leather chair, as hot water can cause the leather to crack. 
  • Use a wrung-out sponge or cloth to clean the leather chair, but use as little water as possible to reduce water damage.
  • For dry cleaning methods, spread some cornstarch or talcum powder on sweat stains overnight to get rid of them.
Dish soap cleaning
Dish soap cleaning (Source: Unsplash)

Read about; How to Clean White Office Chairs?

Best Leather Office Chairs in 2022

Leather chairs are popular in offices for their professional looks and in-home offices. Check out the table below to find some of the best leather office chairs in 2022.

Best leather office chairsFeaturesProduct Image
Amazon Basics High-Back Office Chair Ergonomic chair with 360 Degree Swivel Capability.

Durable Construction with 330 Pound Weight Capacity
La-Z-Boy Bellamy Bonded Leather Office ChairFully Adjustable Height, Recline, and Tilt Settings

Helps Reduce Leg Pressure and Promote Circulation.

Serta Big & Tall Executive Office ChairIncludes an adjustable lumbar support panel

Includes adjustable seat height and armrests.
OFM ESS Collection Racing Style SofThread Leather Office ChairQuilted padding design provides additional comfort.

Built-in headrest, slight lumbar cushioning, padded armrests, and wheels for mobility.
Comfty Executive Highback Leather Office ChairBest comfort
Stable 5-Blade Swivel Caster Base.

Armrests with Cushioned Padding Help Relieve Stress on Elbows and Arms.

The Bottom Line

Leather chairs are great for ergonomics and their looks. Leather chairs can last for up to 10 years with proper care.

The only issue with leather chairs is that they get too hot. However, you can keep them cool by using Air conditioning or a fan in your room.

When kept with care, leather chairs are the most durable and worthy of all office chairs.

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