Cleaning a Wheelchair

Everyday use of a wheelchair can cause it to become dirty and grimy. Medical conditions, incontinence, and illness can cause other material to need to be cleaned off the wheel chair. Cleaning a new or used wheelchair properly will be worth the time and effort.


Everyday use can cause the build up of dirt and grime on a wheelchair. Regularly wiping down the wheelchair will prevent build up. It can be done daily or every few days depending on the amount of use. Simply wiping down the wheelchair will keep it clean and prevent buildup from affecting function. Build up can affect the efficiency of the wheels and also of the breaks.


The tires on a wheelchair can become very dirty easily if the wheelchair is used outdoors.

Even inside, the tires can become dirty. The same cleaner that is used on bicycle tires and car tires works on wheelchair tires. There are even wheel covers to prevent the dirt from outside being transferred inside. Some people even have two wheelchairs, one for inside and one for outside so that carpeting and flooring inside doesn’t get dirty. Not everyone can afford that, so the wheels are often wiped down before the chair comes in the house. Use cleaners that won’t leave a residue that can stain indoor flooring. Another advantage to having clean wheelchair wheels is that the dirt on the tires won’t get on the hands of the user who pushes themselves.


Even if there are no problems with incontinence and leaking of adult diapers, wheelchair cushions can have an odor after awhile. It may just be from sweating or from spills, but eventually a seat cushion that is not cleaned regularly will acquire an odor. Even waterproof cushions can absorb moisture or liquids, which can result in odor. Usually cleaning a cushion as soon as the user goes to bed will allow enough time for the cushion to dry after cleaning. In the case that it isn’t, an alternative cushion or pillow will work as a temporary cushion for the wheelchair user. Cleaning with vinegar or baking soda is an effective way to clean. A cleaner for pet accidents also works well. Bleach can damage material and cause bleach stains, so use caution. Be sure all of the cleaner is rinsed off to avoid irritation of the skin when the person is able to have their cushion back on their chair.


Most spills on wheelchairs can be wiped off quickly with no residue left behind. Some spills like milk can quickly be the cause of odor on a wheelchair. The faster the spill is wiped up, the less time it has to soak in and become a problem. To avoid spills on wheelchairs, if the person is going to eat while sitting in a wheelchair, have them pushed close to a table. Clothes protectors (aka bibs) are often large enough to drape over the wheelchair. Plastic or towels can be over put over the exposed wheelchair parts, also.


For the wheel chair brakes or locks they should be kept free of debris and to prevent a loose fit when the chair is locked. Wiping regularly will prevent that.


It is important to follow the manufacturer’s directions and avoid water or other fluids to come in contact with electrical parts. This could void the warranty and also be a safety hazard. The non-electrical parts can be wiped down and cleaned regularly. Be sure cleaner doesn’t drip onto electrical parts.

Wheelchairs last longer when kept clean and in good repair. When cleaning and repair just isn’t working for a wheelchair, it may be time for a new wheelchair. For wheelchair purchases, rentals, and repairs when you are in the Miami, Florida area, contact Medical Equipment Solutions.