Always follow your manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to wheelchair maintenance and cleaning. Get in touch with your healthcare professional, or a wheelchair expert at NPL Home Medical for any questions you have.
In normal times, it’s important to keep your wheelchair clean. Not only does it keep it looking good, but it can greatly extend the lifetime of the product, and your enjoyment of it.
But with the advent of COVID-19, the need to maintain proper wheelchair hygiene has been highlighted and may prevent the transmission of common infections and viruses, such as coronavirus.
In this article, we’ll guide you through proper wheelchair cleaning, and disinfection.
Cleaning a manual wheelchair
Wheelchairs are full of different components, made from different materials, which require different cleaning.
You should pay particular attention to the most commonly used areas of your wheelchair such as the rims, wheel locks, front frame of the wheelchair, and armrests.
Remember to detach your seat cushion and follow your manufacturer's instructions to clean this. For any hair or fur that gets stuck to the seat velcro, a lint roller works wonders!
Two microfibre cloths - one to apply a cleaner, another to dry
A window cleaning liquid
For titanium or chrome frames, the seat sling, and other areas of your wheelchair, use one cloth, and lightly spray window cleaner.
With your second cloth, immediately dry the components.
If you are cleaning painted frames, instead use a light mixture of dish soap and water, and follow the same process.
Cleaning a power wheelchair
Before you attempt to clean a power wheelchair, make sure the power is off! And if you intend to clean any electrical components such as the drive control, make sure to flip the breaker circuit to avoid any risk of the power remaining on.
Power wheelchairs also tend to accumulate dirt in different places: joysticks and joystick receivers receive more contact than rims.
Two microfiber cloths - one to apply a cleaner, another to dry
A mild detergent
Apply your cleaner to your microfiber cloth, and rub on surfaces to agitate dirt. Use a second cloth to dry each surface.
For more stubborn areas, such as the footplate, you may wish to combine a foaming cleaner along with a bristle brush to scrub out any hard-to-get dirt.
Make sure to thoroughly clean all your components.
Disinfecting your wheelchair
There’s a big distinction between cleaning wheelchairs and disinfecting them: cleaning your wheelchair involves removing dirt from surfaces, and should be carried out frequently.
Disinfection does not remove dirt: instead, it involves using chemicals to kill bacteria and viruses that may be present on your wheelchair.
It’s important to use a combination of both cleaning and disinfection to keep your wheelchair in good condition, and to protect yourself.
Disinfection almost always involves using bleach. Remember to take special caution when using this, including gloves.
Do not directly apply bleach to your wheelchair. Instead, create a diluted mixture of water and bleach with the ratio of one (1) part bleach to nine (9) parts water.
Follow the same instructions as cleaning your wheelchair, using one microfiber cloth to wipe down surfaces, and another to dry each surface immediately.
Proper wheelchair maintenance and cleaning is an important part of owning your wheelchair. Disinfection can help prevent the transmission of infections and viruses.
For more information about maintaining your wheelchair, servicing requests or custom wheelchairs in Ohio, make sure to check out NPL Home Medical’s blog.