Cleaning a Wheelchair – Maintaining your Chair

Dirt and grime can build up with the daily use of a wheelchair. The wheelchair might also need to be cleaned as a result of incontinence, illness or medical conditions. It is worth the time and effort to properly clean your wheelchair.

Wheelchair Cleaning Basics

To prevent the buildup of grime and dirt from everyday use of the wheelchair, regular wiping down should be used. You can do a cleaning daily or every couple of days, depending on how often you use the wheelchair.

A simple wipe down will keep the wheelchair clean, prevent buildup and maintain good operation of the wheelchair. Efficiency of the wheels and brakes can be affected by buildup.

Cleaning Wheelchair Wheels

If the wheelchair is used outdoors, the wheels can get very dirty very quickly. Tires can become dirty even if the chair is only used indoors. You can use a car or bicycle tire cleaner on wheelchair tires.

You can also get wheel covers to stop dirt picked up outdoors from getting transferred indoors. Many people have 2 wheelchairs, one for outdoor use the other for indoor use. That way the inside flooring won’t get as dirty.

Most people can’t afford to have 2 wheelchairs, so the wheels would need to be wiped down before the chair goes indoors. Make sure the cleansers used don’t stain the indoor flooring. The other advantage of keeping the wheelchair wheels clean is that dirt doesn’t get transferred to the user’s hands when they have to push.

Cleaning the Wheelchair Cushion

Wheelchair cushions get an odor after a while even if there are any problems with incontinence or if the person is leaking in adult diapers. Odors can build up from sweating or spills if the cushions aren’t cleaned regularly. Waterproof cushions can also absorb moisture or liquids and odors can result.

The best time to clean a cushion is at the end of the day when the user is finished with the wheelchair, which will give it enough time to dry out. The best cleaners are baking soda or vinegar. Pet accident cleaners also work fairly well. Avoid bleach as it can damage the cushion material or cause bleach stains.

Spills on Wheelchairs

The majority of spills on wheelchairs can easily be wiped off without leaving residue. Milk can cause an odor quickly if it isn’t cleaned up properly. It is always better to clean up the spills quickly so they don’t soak in and cause a problem. The best way to avoid spills in the wheelchair is to push the wheelchair under the table when eating.

Bibs or clothes protectors are usually big enough to drape over the wheelchair. Towels or plastics can also be placed over wheelchair parts that are exposed.

Wheelchair Brakes and Locks

Regular wiping will keep chair brakes and locks debris free and in good working order.

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