Before learning how to clean a wheelchair or power chair with this guide, it’s important to read the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions for specific cleaning rules and any methods or materials to avoid. The following instructions are generally applicable to every chair and will help achieve the best results.
- Disinfectant Spray (like Lysol)
- All–Purpose Cleaning Spray (like 409)
- Mild Dish Soap and Detergent
- Compressed Air Can Duster
- Microfiber Towel
- Cleaning Brush
- Wire Brush
- Non–abrasive Wax
- Tire Cleaner
Instructions for Cleaning a Power Chair:
- Unplug the power chair from its power source, and disconnect the chair from its base. Most chairs will have a lever that will allow the chair to come off by pulling in an upward motion.
- Remove any protective cover shielding the battery. Then remove the battery from the chair to avoid damage from cleaning solutions.
- Use the compressed air to blow out any dust, dirt or debris in the hard–to–get–to areas near the battery region and any other crevices in the wheelchair base.
- Spray disinfectant to the chair base and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Be cautious not to spray the electrical areas. After 10 minutes, wipe off the chair base with a microfiber towel to avoid scratching the paint.
- Spray the same area with an all–purpose cleaning spray, then wipe clean with a microfiber towel.
- Use a toothbrush to scrub the joystick area, as well as any extra dirty spots. Be cautious to not use too much cleaner near the electrical areas. Also use a toothbrush to scrub tire cleaner onto the wheelchair tires for an extra shine. This step is optional but is encouraged every few months.
- Repeat steps four through six for the battery cover.
- Vacuum the seat cushion thoroughly. For vinyl, hand wash it with a mild dish detergent and warm water. For leather, spray a solution of three–quarters vinegar, one–quarter water onto the surface and wipe clean with a rag. (Spray at least one foot away) For fabric, mix hot water, mild dish soap and cleaning soda. Use a rag or cleaning brush to rub the solution into the seat. Be sure to let all seat cushion types air dry before usage.
- Once sanitization of the base and cover is complete, spray once more with the compressed air can to remove any leftover dust particles. Re–assemble all parts, and wipe away any dampness with the microfiber towel to avoid rusting or corrosion.
- Optional: Apply a layer of non–abrasive wax to the power chair’s paint to achieve long–lasting and optimal shine. (This step is also great to do on wheelchair vans.)
- Optional: Apply a layer of Scotchgard protectant to the upholstery of the seat and back cushion to maintain fabric quality and allow for easy stain removal in the future.
Instructions for Cleaning a Manual Wheelchair:
- Begin disassembling the wheelchair by taking off the seat and back cushions and any other fabric components of the chair.
- Use the compressed air to spray dirt out of the wheelchair crevices and between the wheel spokes. Hair, clumps of dirt and debris can severely impact the wheelchair’s mobility.
- Fill a bucket with warm water mixed with the mild dish soap. Soak the microfiber towel in the soapy water, wring the towel and gently wipe every surface of the wheelchair frame. Antibacterial cleaner can also be used, but avoid using petroleum–based cleaners or steel wool to scrub, as those materials can damage the paint.
- Use another towel (damp, but not completely soaked) to clean between the wheel spokes and around the wheel. If necessary, unscrew the bolts and scrub them with a wire brush to remove dirt or grease build–up.
- With a clean towel, completely dry the wheelchair frame, wheels and bolts to avoid rust and corrosion. Feel free to use the compressed air once more to ensure no dust is left behind.
- Optional: Use a tire cleaner for the chair’s wheels to increase shine.
- Optional: Apply a layer of non–abrasive auto wax to the frame every three months to achieve optimal shine and lasting quality.
- To clean the seat and back cushions, hand wash them with the mild detergent and air dry them. Unless noted by the manufacturer, avoid machine washers and dryers, as they may damage the fabric.
- Optional: Spray the chair cushions with Scotchgard to maintain quality and make for easy stain removal in the future.
- Re–assemble the wheelchair and set a routine cleaning schedule. Weekly wipe–downs are encouraged, but more in–depth cleanings should be carried out monthly or quarterly.