Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Recommended Cleaning Procedures for your Manual or Electric Wheelchair

Elderly woman in wheelchair

You spend practically all day in your wheelchair, which is why maintaining proper cleaning procedures is crucial to its overall care. Whether you drive a manual or electric wheelchair or scooter, making sure to disinfect its surfaces and wheels can greatly lengthen its lifetime. While it may not seem like it, dirt and grime can greatly affect the efficiency of your chair or scooter’s wheels and brakes, so it is important that you wipe down its frame often depending on how often the wheelchair or scooter is used. While cleaning your wheelchair may seem like a long and burdensome task, it is actually quite easy and typically takes only a few minutes! In this blog, we will go over how to clean a wheelchair and keep it in prime condition!

All you need to effectively clean your chair is a washcloth or rag and a nonabrasive cleaner. Keep in mind that wax-based cleaners are usually more effective because it makes the metal parts shinier and more resistant to scratches or other superficial damages. Do not use abrasive cleaners like furniture polishes. These cleaners can wear down the wheelchair cushions and can harden the frames or footrests, making them more prone to dirt and grime accumulation.

Cleaning a Manual (Non-Electric Wheelchair)

The vast majority of those with disabilities use manual wheelchairs, which are simply wheelchairs that do not run on electricity. Maintaining these chairs is typically easier than electric equipment because you do not need to worry about damaging cords or other digital components. The best place to start cleaning is the wheels. If you use your wheelchair outdoors, it is likely that dirt, mud, or even leaves build up in the spokes and crevices of the wheels. This buildup can affect the riding capability of the chair and make it much harder to get the proper traction. To clean the wheels, simply take a rag and a nonabrasive cleaner or soap and gently scrub away at any dirt on the wheels. If there is dirt in the small crevices of the wheels, you can use a cleaning brush to gently dig in and release any built up dirt easily. Once the wheels are squeaky clean, you can move on to the chair’s base and metal components.

During this part, take a clean rag or cloth and a nonabrasive cleaner and wipe down all surfaces of the metal. As aforementioned, wipe down these parts gently and be careful not to scratch the metal surfaces. Also, be sure to focus cleaning around any bolts or screws—the accumulation of dirt around these areas can make future repairs much more difficult. You will instantly notice the difference your cleaning has made and your wheelchair will begin shining as if it were brand new!

Next, focus your attention on the chair’s footrests. These areas are prone to grime because they are regularly exposed to the bottoms of your shoes. Use nonabrasive cleaner or mild disinfectant spray to wipe away any grime that may have built up over time.

Finally, it is time to clean the seat and cushion! Wheelchair cushions and seats often get an odor after periods of extended use even if there were no spills on the chair itself. Both mild and severe odors can build up from sweating or spilt food and drinks if the wheelchair cushion is not properly maintained. Keep in mind that chairs featuring waterproof cushions are much more likely to develop odors due to their ability to absorb moisture and liquids. The end of the day is the best time to clean a chair’s cushion, for this is when the user is typically finished with the wheelchair and you can be sure there is enough time for it to dry out completely. Cleaning is a cinch and can be done in a few seconds or minutes. Simply take the wash cloth and once again cover the surface with the same cleaner or soap and water solution. Scrub the cushion cautiously being sure to avoid causing rips or tears. Be sure to give the cushion time to dry before using it again—no one wants to sit on a wet seat! 

Cleaning a Power Chair (Electric Wheelchair/Scooter)

You generally use the same methods practiced with cleaning a manual wheelchair in cleaning a power chair or scooter, but extra care must be taken to prevent any damage to its electrical components, including its battery or power outlets. Begin by removing any protective cover shielding the battery and then remove the battery itself to avoid any possible damage from cleaning solutions or water. Blow or gently wipe away any collected dust from the hard-to-reach areas near the battery and any other crevices on the wheelchair’s base. Similarly to manual chair care, use a cloth and a nonabrasive cleaner to spray and wipe down the wheels and spokes. Again, be sure to clean away any build-up that may impede the chair’s mobility functions. Spray the remaining metal surfaces with the same cleaner and cloth, being sure to avoid any electrical areas or scratching the paint. Once done, move on to the footrests and follow the same steps. Next, use a small bristled cleaning brush (or toothbrush) to scrub the joystick area. Either vacuum or spray the seat cushion thoroughly. If the chair has a vinyl cushion, consider hand washing it with a mild dish detergent and warm water. If the seat cushion is made of leather, try spraying a mixture of three-quarters vinegar, one-quarter water onto its surface and wipe thoroughly with a cloth. An optional step that may preserve the appearance of your chair for an extended time is applying a thin layer of nonabrasive wax to the power chair’s paint. This will achieve a long-lasting shine that will keep your chair looking brand new!

Whether you have a manual or electric wheelchair, maintaining the proper cleaning care is extremely important in ensuring it stays in optimal working condition for a long time. Being diligent about wheelchair cleaning can make your experience with your chair more pleasurable and can prevent future problems—both technical and mechanical—from occurring. Have your own wheelchair care methods? Share your knowledge in the comments section below!

No comments:

Post a Comment