Do you know that a squeaky chair has a negative impact on workplace productivity?
Noise coming from a squeaky computer chair is a nuisance in disguise. Any employee in a workplace would find it hard to concentrate if his chair produced a popping noise. Though it is not a direct effect, a persistent and irritating noise subtly lowers the level of concentration and creativity in a given workplace.
While a squeaky computer chair, when leaning back, produces an irritating sound and becomes noise, it can affect your auditory senses in many ways.
Possible reasons why work a chair squeak:
- Rusty parts
- Loosened screws
- Misplaced springs
- Broken office chair wheels
- Loose leg
- Weight of the sitter
How can we improve an old squeaky computer chair? The answers are below. Luckily, it doesn’t require you to buy a new one. And understanding how an office chair is built would be less hassle on time and money.
Understanding Your Office Chair Mechanism
Before fixing an office chair from squeaking, it is essential to understand its mechanism.
Also called a computer chair, swivel chair, gaming chair, or wooden chair, an office chair is built for comfort, function, and convenience. It has a mechanical component to allow for specific adjustments like seat height and the angle of the backrest.
Modern office chairs rely on their mechanism to provide optimal comfort to the user. While seat height and backrest angle are essential for adjustment found in a single office chair, there’s more.
Knobs and levers allow for various movements. But the best correct seating, in the form of ergonomic chairs, provides dynamic and static seating.
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Dynamic seating has the components to provide comprehensive and best-fitted adjustments to the sitter. The seat and backrest move along relative to the movement of the user.
A static system computer chair is built to protect the body from further strains brought by incorrect sitting positions.
However, while a static chair provides an optimal sitting position for the shoulder, back, arm, thighs, and feet, it is not a healthy option for long-term use.
PRO TIP: Ergonomic chairs are both static and dynamic in function, providing maximum adjustment. But their dynamic nature allows the body to achieve a free-floating position while sitting.
Why do Chairs Make Squeaking Sounds?
The common occurrence when one leans back while sitting on an office chair is that it squeaks. The creaking sound is not a loud noise by its nature but an irritating sound that hurts the auditory senses in any way.
The office chair squeaks when leaning back because it presses specific components that are interconnected and creates tension and friction between them.
Since computer chairs have steel components, these metal parts will wear out in time, especially when the squeaking chair is overused.
Which Part Could be Squeaky?
The best way to find the squeaking noise is to know your chair better—its built mechanism and components that allow for movement.
Computer office chairs only squeak because of movement. Check the source of that noise when you start moving your chair.
When you find out why your computer chair squeaks, you will ask: why is my office chair so squeaky?
Now, we get to the second-best part—discovering why your chair produces a rattling sound.
Intuitively, the sound you hear from your computer chair depends on your movement. The primary source of that annoying sound could be the tension of the springs that move along with you as you lean your back.
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But what if the sound isn’t coming from the springs? How do you stop a chair from squeaking when leaning back?
- Turn your seat upside down.
- Remove the knob that encloses the seat tension and the piston.
- Apply lubrication to the spring inside and to the seat tension.
If the squeaky sound persists after doing the above, check the wheels, remove them if necessary, apply lubricant, and put them back to test if they move silently.
10 Effective Ways to Stop Office Chairs from Squeaking
We can help you have a ‘silent’ chair by doing the suggested ways to fix a squeaky chair practically. Yes, you don’t need to purchase a brand new office chair to free you of the squeaky sound.
Clean and Rust Your Chair
This doesn’t mean you will allow your chair to rust after cleaning. That’s absurd! Your modern ergonomic computer chair is made of basic materials: fabric, plastic, wood, and steel. Modern chairs are a combination of steel, plastic, and vinyl or PVC pipe.
The parts made of steel or metal are the swivel base that includes the spring, seat tension, casters, tilt adjuster, pneumatic cylinder, and sometimes the arm. These parts are prone to rust. Rust, when accumulated, will make the spindle and other rotatable parts squeak.
- Use a toothbrush to scrape off the rust and apply lubricant or oil.
- Aside from an old toothbrush, fine-grain sandpaper works in removing rust. However, the use of these tools damages the rusty metal.
- Get rid of hard-to-clean rust by soaking the metal in white vinegar with salt. Let the vinegar stand for a few minutes before scraping off the rust.
Vinegar has a potent property that dissolves rust. And this hack will work only if the rust has softened, and then you can remove the rust with a ball of steel wool or metal brush. Be sure to add a tiny amount of salt to the vinegar.
Replace the Rusted Parts.
Despite soaking the metal parts in vinegar and the rust staying, it is time to replace the rusted parts. Yes, you don’t need to replace the whole swivel chair because the parts are available at any hardware store.
If the store doesn’t have them or is selling them, contact the seller of your desk chair to request spare parts.
Fix Bolts and Screws
Screws are small parts found in your computer chair squeaking but are crucial in its stability. A loose screw and loose bolt are some of the main reasons why your chair squeaks.
Worse, if these small components fall all the way, they will pose a danger to the sitter.
Once you find the screws and bolts, tighten them with a screwdriver. Check the tool like a rubber mallet, if you have one, and other implements that came along with the package when you bought the chair.
PRO TIP: Vinegar is composed of acetic acid, a powerful solution in removing rust and preventing metal corrosion.
Use Oil to Lubricate Metal Parts
You can use standard household products like WD-40 Water Resistant Silicone Spray lubricant is a lubricating spray to lubricate the metal part in your swivel chair. Rusty springs become erratic when you lean, producing a squeaky noise.
Apply the best lubricant for squeaky chair parts and loose nuts that are pivotal for its movement. Use a tissue or paper towel to ward off excess lubricant.
When it gets tricky applying lubricant on axles and screws, disassemble them, and turn the knob housing, including that of the wheels. Carefully build the chair back once you ensure that all the suspected parts are adequately polished. You can check if you did the right thing by sitting, leaning on the recliner, and rolling the chair, and you hear no unpleasant squeak anymore.
Aside from lubricant, you can also use glue, not as a lubricant, but to fix broken parts. Sem-broken armchairs can produce an annoying sound and may injure your arm with sharp edges.
Using a powerful adhesive like wood glue will do the trick. Be sure that you have pointed out the correct spot where to apply glue.
Using Wood-Swelling Glue
This type of glue is used for wood materials. So if your computer chair has a combination of wood in it, the noise may come from loose wood parts.
As the name suggests, wood-swelling glue is an effective adhesive to repair broken wood like wooden loose joint plugs because the glue penetrates the wood, swells, and locks the liquid to tighten the seal.
Wood swelling liquid causes wood fibers to expand, resulting in a squeak-free seal when both wood surfaces bond. This process is effective only for newly broken wood but still viable for reglued parts if the old glue has been completely removed because swelling and locking won’t work if there is a slight remnant of the old adhesive.
Forget that you have a squeaky wooden chair if you do this step.
Replace Wooden Joint Plugs
Wooden joint plugs are integral to a chair’s motion. When these components break, you can use wood-swelling adhesive so that the office chair will become functional again. But if a repeated application doesn’t work and the squeaky sound persists, try nails or angle or corner plates for reinforcement.
If not, the replacement of wooden joint plugs will be your best option.
Fix the Seat Tension Spring
The springs in your chair, also called seat-tension springs, serve as a cushion for your seat. But if you lean back and hear a squeaking sound after fixing, start uncovering the bottom cover, usually a fabric, of the chair.
- Turn your chair upside down and remove the fabric that covers the seat frame.
- If you see a single spring out of place, check any webbing straps or brackets that hold the springs together.
- Use cutting pliers to remove the broken metal bracket. If a webbing system holds the spring together, you cannot sew back a single twine. Replace the webbing instead. You will need a webbing stretcher to put the new straps back in place.
- If it is a metal bracket, place a new one and hook back the loose spring or coil to its place.
- Put back the fabric and stretch it enough to make it steady before stapling it along with the frame.
- Return the screws if you removed any.
Check the Wheel
Your computer chair’s wheels are affixed on a metal post. Metal posts eventually wear out and get loose, giving way for the wheel axles to engage friction.
The squeaking sound is a result of that friction. Apply a silicone spray for both the wheel axle and the inside of the metal post.
But if any of the caster wheels is damaged, it is better to replace it with a new one. The caster wheel gives the swiveling feature of the wheel to allow smooth and easy movement.
Replace the Chair
No one can beat a brand-new chair. If you feel you have exhausted all the means to fix your squeaky office chair and are becoming a sinking office chair, you better think it is time to get a new one.
Worn-out computer chairs and components, if beaten up too much from wear and tear, can do more harm because nothing lasts forever.
The lifespan of a typical office chair, even if it is top-of-the-line, is five years at most. It is ideal for getting a new one and getting rid of the cranky old chair, as it can no longer support your back correctly.
When you think it is overdue for a new and modern computer chair and that irritating squeak from the old chair can’t escape your head, get one and feel the benefits it can give.
PRO TIP: Oil is an effective way to reduce the squeaking sound of metals because its level of viscosity resists the damaging internal friction between the parts.
When you want an office chair that lasts at least more than the given lifespan, know how to use it gently. I don’t think it is a rocking chair, as it will compromise the screws.
Just like any other essential possession, your swivel chair needs maintenance too. Heeding the tips here will help you find the best solution to eliminate the squeaky noise your beloved chair brings. That irritating noise should serve as your warning that your freak-sounding chair needs your attention.
So, if you ask, how to stop an office chair from squeaking? Go on and follow this guide. We described simple yet effective tips to keep your seat from getting cranky and squeaky. Ultimately, it is for your own good.
Robert is an electronic engineer with more than five years of experience with a solid affinity for helping people reduce noise. He writes about these silent home appliances and easy soundproofing measures to help everyone avoid the negative effect of extended exposure to high noise levels.