Wheelchair Hygiene 101: How To Clean A Wheelchair?

Written By Cardiologist
Wheelchair Hygiene 101: How To Clean A Wheelchair?

Cleaning wheelchairs is important for maintaining a hygienic and sanitary environment,

However, keeping this mobility equipment clean makes it last longer and look nicer and prevents germs from growing.

In a dirty wheelchair, the pad on the seat and backrest increases friction with your skin.

It may take months or even years to heal pressure sores or skin ulcers that result from this. and there are different ways to go about it.

  1. One option is to use a power washer, which can quickly and easily remove built-up dirt and grime.
  2. Another option is to use a garden hose with a nozzle attachment, which can also be effective in removing stubborn dirt and debris.
  3. For more thorough cleaning, you may consider using a pressure washer with a brush attachment. This will allow you to reach all those hard-to-reach places and ensure that use your wheelchair when is completely clean.

Luckily, that doesn’t mean you have to be afraid of using your wheelchair for fear of getting hurt by bacteria in the fabric.

I will share tips and tricks to protect your wheelchair as sanitized as possible.

Tips Before You Start To Clean Your Wheelchair

Before you even touch your chair, make sure you have these tips in mind.

Cleaning your wheelchair regularly will keep it safe for daily use, so follow these tips to keep it clean.

If you have a fancy wheelchair, don’t despair. You can clean any wheelchair and make it look new again.

When cleaning your wheelchair, using the proper cleaning tools and cleaners is essential. Doing so will prevent damage to the chair, such as staining, fading, or pitting.

Avoid abrasive cleaners and scrubbers, as these can scratch and scuff the surface.

A soft rag, sponge, or even a soft bristle brush, combined with the right cleaning product, will do a fine job without damaging the surface.

While cold water machines can clean rough surfaces of dirt and dust, steam pressure washers are necessary to clean wheelchairs effectively.

At high temperatures, electric or gas-pressure washers can use to clean wheelchairs.


Drying Off Your Wheelchair

When your chair gets wet, you must know how to dry it quickly. Avoid leaving your wheelchair in the rain, as moisture can cause damage.

However, if your chair becomes wet due to rain or spilled water, the best way to dry it off is by tilting it up to an angle and letting the water drip off the wheels.

Drying Off Your Wheelchair

Avoid wiping the surface with a cloth or towel, as this will only push water into the upholstery.

If you can’t tilt your chair at the right angle to let the water drip off, consider placing a towel or a piece of cloth under the wheels to absorb the water and then shake the chair to get the water off.

If your chair is wet from spills like coffee or tea, you must act quickly and blot up as much liquid as you can with paper towels.

Blot your chair with paper towels and avoid rubbing or putting any pressure on the fabric.

If the liquid is stubborn, you can use warm water to dilute the stain but make sure to blot the chair dry as quickly as possible to avoid damage to the fabric.


Disinfecting Your Wheelchair

Disinfecting your wheelchair is an easy way to kill germs and remove odors.

However, remember that many cleaning products have a certain level of bleach and can strip the color of your chair if not used properly.

Disinfecting Your Wheelchair

When disinfecting your wheelchair, it is best to use a cleaning product formulated especially for this purpose.

You are using a general all-purpose cleaner, while effective in many instances, may not be powerful enough to kill germs on your chair.

Wheelchairs can disinfect with the following cleaning products:

  1. Tolco Wheelchair Cleaner and Disinfectant
  2. Odori Wheelchair Cleaner and Disinfectant
  3. Wheelchair Cleaner and Disinfectant by MediClean

Cleaning The Frame And Wheel

Cleaning the frame and care of your wheelchair is essential as these parts are always in contact with the ground and accumulate dirt that ends up settling on your chair.

Keeping these parts clean also helps you spot any potential wear and tear and corrosion ahead of time to avoid costly repairs later.

Cleaning The Frame And Wheel

Also, cleaning the wheels will help you spot any issues like nails or other pieces of metal that may have gotten stuck in the wheels.

Make sure to clean the wheels using a brush and soapy water. Avoid using a brush with metal bristles, as this might damage the wheels.


Disassembling The Upholstery

If there are specific parts of your chair that are dirty and you are unsure how to clean them, you can disassemble the upholstery and wash the parts separately.

If there are stubborn stains on the fabric, this can be a good option. To disassemble the upholstery, you must take out the seat and back frames. Once done, you can clean the parts using a sponge and warm soapy water.

Disassembling The Upholstery

You can also use a soft bristle brush to scrub off stubborn stains. To reassemble the upholstery, you can follow the instructions provided with your wheelchair.

Don’tDon’t let the fabrics look crooked when you’re done by lining them up correctly.


Daily And Weekly Care

While cleaning your chair, it’s also essential to maintain and clean regularly. You can keep your wheelchair clean and make it last longer if you do this. Here are some tips for regular care:

Clean the footrests and leg rest: These are some of the dirtiest parts of your wheelchair and are also areas where bacteria can quickly grow.

Daily And Weekly Care

Make sure to clean these parts as regularly as possible to avoid infections.

If the footrests are dirty, you can wipe them off with a damp or soapy sponge or cloth. You can also use a brush if there is caked-on dirt.

For the leg rests, use warm water and soap to clean them.

Clean and dry the cushion: It is one of the essential parts of your wheelchair as it provides comf ort and support. You can clean the seat cushion with a sponge or a damp cloth.
Avoid using a brush as it can damage the fabric. Remove the seat frame before cleaning the protector, as you don’t want to risk staining the fabric. Avoid using bleach when cleaning the pillow, as it can damage the fabric. Ensure to dry the cushion thoroughly after washing it, as the damp cloth can lead to mold and mildew growth.
Clean the arms and wheels: The components of your wheelchair are another essential part that you should clean regularly. You can use a damp cloth or a sponge to clean the arms.

The Dangers Of Dirty Wheelchairs

As you can see, there are many reasons why you should keep your wheelchair clean. Here are some of them:

  1. Cleaning your wheelchair regularly and thoroughly helps you prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi, and molds that can cause allergies and infections.
  2. A clean wheelchair lasts longer as dirt and grime can cause footrests and leg rest to wear out and break down faster.
  3. A clean wheelchair is more comfortable as you don’t have to sit on dirty, moist fabric.
  4. Cleaning your wheelchair regularly and thoroughly will save you time and money.
  5. You will feel better about yourself and your wheelchair if it is neat and clean. Your wheelchair will look better and will be more attractive to others.
Tiny Nair

Article by

Tiny Nair, MD, DM, FACC, FRCP, is a cardiologist and head of Dept of Cardiology at PRS Hospital in Trivandrum. He is also an author, fluent in Middle English and offers consultations on finding the best wheelchair according to individual needs.