Have you recently purchased a wheelchair and are unsure how to maintain and clean it? From unclean roads to hospital corridors, we all know how our wheelchairs have been in areas where they can potentially become exposed to disease and grime. This makes thorough cleaning necessary to ensure that your wheelchair looks brand new and that no bacteria growth might compromise your health.
Therefore, we’ve compiled a few tips and suggestions on cleaning and disinfecting your wheelchair. You can use the following guidelines to clean your wheelchair daily without much inconvenience.
- Do not use harsh chemicals to clean your wheelchair
- Clean the frequently touched parts of your wheelchair daily
- Clean your wheelchair with a washcloth and disinfectant
- Armrests handles, cushions, foot supports, joystick, and wheels are the important parts of a wheelchair that you must clean regularly
4 Things You Need To Know About Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Wheelchair
Here are a few things wheelchair owners must know when cleaning and disinfecting their wheelchairs.
There Is a Difference between Disinfection and Cleaning
Many wheelchair owners and people misinterpret the terms cleaning and disinfection and believe they imply the same thing. However, there is a significant difference between the two terms. Cleaning entails removing any dirt or grime that may aid bacteria growth. However, disinfection implies eliminating bacteria and preventing bacteria growth.
Therefore, if you clean a wheelchair, you only remove dirt or filth that may help bacteria multiply. However, bacteria may still be present in the wheelchair. Disinfection after cleaning a wheelchair will assist you in ensuring that you have eliminated any bacteria on the surface.
Do Not Use Harsh Chemicals for Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Wheelchair
When cleaning a wheelchair, avoid using harsh bleaches, synthetic detergents, or chemicals since they can severely damage the wheelchair and cause its condition to degrade quickly. Therefore, using the right products and cleaning solutions is critical to avoid harming the wheelchair throughout the cleaning process.
We recommend using diluted cleaning solutions containing 70% alcohol and 30% water or purchasing appropriate cleaning solutions designed for cleaning wheelchairs from a store. You may also dilute a sanitizer and wipe off the wheelchair’s surface with a washcloth soaked in the sanitizer.
Go through Your Wheelchair Manual for Cleaning and Maintenance Instructions
Almost all wheelchair manuals provide maintenance and cleaning instructions. The cleaning instructions in your wheelchair manual may inform you of any dos and don’ts of cleaning your wheelchair and correctly advise you on how to clean your wheelchair model.
So it is best always to have the user manual open in front of you when cleaning the wheelchair to avoid making mistakes that might harm the chair.
For example, there will be a distinction between cleaning manual wheelchairs and electric wheelchairs. User manuals may assist you in identifying such differences to ensure you do not end up damaging any wheelchair components.
Focus on Cleaning Frequently Touched Wheelchair Parts
Even though it is critical to clean and disinfect the entire wheelchair daily, it is essential to concentrate on the frequently handled areas of the wheelchair because these are the sections that carry the most germs.
For example, the joystick of an electric wheelchair or armrest is two of the most often touched pieces of the wheelchair since you and your caregivers may need to touch these parts frequently throughout the day. So, while cleaning, pay special attention to such areas to ensure they are well sanitized.
How To Clean And Disinfect A Wheelchair?
Here is a list of everything you will need to clean and disinfect a wheelchair and instructions on how to do it efficiently and conveniently.
What You Will Need
- Disinfectant spray, diluted sanitizer, soap, or detergent
- Tire cleaner
- Toothbrush (Optional)
- Air-blower (Optional)
- Microfiber cloth
- Non-abrasive wax
- If you have a wheelchair like the Featherweight 33 lbs. Power Chair,which can be disassembled, the first step is to disassemble it since that will make the cleaning process much more efficient and easy. If you own a folding wheelchair like Quickie Xenon Folding Wheelchair, simply wipe down the wheelchair after unfolding it
- Now you can use an air blower to get rid of any dirt. We recommend wearing safety glasses and gloves to ensure no dirt particles get into your eyes and your hands stay protected from any dirt or germs
- Spray your wheelchair with a disinfectant spray or make a diluted solution of detergent or sanitizer
- Since it may be challenging to get a cloth into all nooks and crannies of the wheelchair, you can use a toothbrush instead to get rid of any dirt particles. (Make sure to use the toothbrush with a gentle hand to ensure you do not leave any scratches)
- Now dip your washcloth into the cleaning solution, or if you used a disinfectant spray, take your washcloth and wipe each component of the wheelchair with it
- Next, use a tire cleaner to clean the tires efficiently. You can also use a washcloth to clean the tires. However, a tire cleaner will make the task much more efficient and less time-consuming
- For the upholstery on the wheelchair cushions, refer to the manufacturer’s notes to see how they recommend cleaning them. If it says dry clean only, send the cushions for dry cleaning. Otherwise, you can gently wipe down the cushions with the washcloth.
- Next, use non-abrasive wax on the wheelchair to make it shine and look brand new. (We recommend doing this once a few months)
- Remember to carry out this throughout the cleaning process weekly. For daily cleaning and disinfection, all you can do is spray a washcloth with disinfectant spray and wipe down all the parts of the wheelchair that you or caregivers often touch
Important tip: We recommend carrying a washcloth and disinfectant or sanitizing sheets with a concentration of no more than 70% alcohol and using them to clean down the frequently touched portions of your wheelchair after leaving a crowded venue such as a hospital or a shopping mall.Important Parts of a Wheelchair
As discussed above, even though it is essential to clean and disinfect the whole wheelchair, it is crucial to pay extra attention to certain important parts of the wheelchair. Here is a list of the important parts of a wheelchair:
- Armrests:Wheelchair armrests are the most commonly handled components. If you have a wheelchair, such as the Karman Removable Arm Transport Chair, which has removable armrests to help you get in and out of the chair, you and your caregivers may touch them frequently. Therefore, you must wipe the armrests with a diluted cleaning solution daily
- Handles: If you own a wheelchair like the Excel Aluminum Transport Chair with 12″ Rear Wheelsequipped with handles you must disinfect the handles regularly. Since your family members or caregivers often come into touch with the handles to assist you in maneuvering around in the wheelchair, it is critical that you thoroughly disinfect the handles to protect yourself and the people around you from coming in contact with viruses
- Cushions: Your wheelchair’s back and seat cushions constantly touch your body. Bacteria can build on these surfaces while you sit in the wheelchair throughout the day due to sweating and other body fluids. To avoid this, spray a disinfectant over the cushions for a few minutes before wiping them down with a clean washcloth
- Joystick: If you own a power chair, such as the All-New Move Lite Folding Power Chair, it will come with a joystick that you will use to control the wheelchair. Throughout the day, you will touch the joystick several times, allowing germs from your hands to accumulate on it. So, it is best to wipe down the joystick using a damp towel sprayed with a light disinfectant
- Rear and front wheels: Dirty wheels make your wheelchair look unappealing and reduce its efficiency. Furthermore, the wheels come in contact with the ground, whether it’s the floor of your home, the road outside your doorway, or a hospital corridor. The floors of all of these places have an immeasurable number of bacteria. Therefore, cleaning the front and back wheels of your wheelchair is critical to removing germs and ensuring no gravel or debris is stuck to it
- Foot supports: Most wheelchairs feature foot supports where you may rest your feet to keep them from hanging on the ground. Foot supports come into touch with your shoes, which may be dirty and contaminated with bacteria. To keep the foot supports clean, wipe them down with a clean washcloth at the end of each day.
Important note: Never use a hose to clean the wheels of your electric wheelchair since it might cause the wheelchair to malfunction and stop operating.