Maintenance Housekeeping Tips

Maintaining and Cleaning a Manual Wheelchair

The upkeep and cleanliness of a wheelchair is of the utmost importance to ensure the safety of the individual utilizing it. HHS’ housekeeping experts, along with our patient transportation managers, share tips for how to maintain and clean a wheelchair to keep it functioning properly while also removing dirt and germs. 

Materials needed for maintenance:

  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Bike tire pump
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Allen wrench set

Instructions:

Begin by checking the tire pressure on the rear wheels of the wheelchair. Refer to the guidelines on the outside of the tire to find the recommended pressure, or psi. Opening the tire valve, place the tire pressure gauge over the extension to measure the air pressure. If the air is under the recommended psi, use the bike tire pump to increase the air pressure. If the pressure is too high, reduce the air by pressing on the valve to release the extra pressure. Continue to check the psi using the tire gauge until it is within the manufacturers’ recommended range. After the air is added or released, check the wheel brakes to ensure they are not rubbing against the tires when unlocked.

Every week, check the nuts, bolts, and screws and tighten as needed. Ensure the front casters pivot properly and that the bolts aren’t too tight or too loose. If they are too tight, they’ll be stuck and will not move easily. If they are too loose, they will quickly move side to side. Determine the middle ground to make the wheelchair safe and easy to steer. 

Inspect the wheel alignment by pushing the wheelchair on a flat surface. If it veers to either side, contact the manufacturer to report the issue. Additionally, if any cracks in the frame are found, stop use, and contact the manufacturer immediately. 

Materials needed for cleaning:

  • 2 microfiber cloths
  • 1 tablespoon mild dish soap
  • Compressed air duster
  • Small soft bristle brush
  • Warm water
  • Non-abrasive auto wax (optional)

Instructions:

Start by using the compressed air to spray the dirt out of crevices and between the spokes of the wheels. Fill a bucket with warm water and add in the mild dish soap. Dampen the microfiber cloth in the bucket and wring out to remove excess water. Wipe down the seat, cushions, and wheelchair frame. Using the soft bristle brush, get into small areas where dirt and debris might have built up. Wipe down one more time with the damp cloth. Using the dry microfiber cloth, wipe down all parts of the chair, ensuring that it’s completely dry to reduce the risk of rust or corrosion. Blow the compressed air over the chair one more time to ensure no dirt is left behind. To add shine, apply a layer of non-abrasive auto wax to the wheelchair frame on a quarterly basis.