How to Clean Your Motorized Wheelchair- Expert Guide

For a Motorized Wheelchair user, their mobility vehicle is like a room in itself where they spend the most amount of their time. They use it for visiting the grocery store, using the public washrooms, driving to the neighbor’s house, playing with their dog, or roaming around their house. And since the wheelchair constantly comes in contact with a lot of external and internal surfaces, it can get contaminated quickly and in turn, spread pathogens quite easily.

For the safety and hygiene of the user and the people around them, it is very important to do a regular clean-up of the motorized wheelchair. Proactive cleaning of the wheelchair can also help in maintaining its performance and adding more years to its life.

In this blog we discuss about why cleaning a wheelchair makes sense, the steps to help you clean yours at home, and some useful tips to keep in mind. Let’s begin!

Why do you Need to Clean Your Motorized Wheelchair?

Apart from your health and hygiene, there are plenty of other reasons why cleaning your wheelchair makes sense:

  • To reduce the risk of infections from the contaminated wheelchair surfaces
  • To avoid the spread of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens from the mobility vehicle to other surfaces and people
  • To reduce the risk of contagious and deadly diseases like Covid-19
  • To prevent dirt, hair clumps, debris, and other foreign particles from damaging the wheelchair equipment and electric system
  • To safeguard your wheelchair against rodents, ants, or other insects attracted by food crumbs
  • To keep your wheelchair in better shape and highly performant for years to come

The above mentioned reasons make it a mandate to take good care of your wheelchair’s sanitation. But, cleaning a motorized or electric wheelchair can be tricky as moisture can ruin the circuits. So how to clean your electric powered wheelchairs with care? Read further to know the steps.

What Areas Need Cleaning?

While it is important to do a thorough cleanse of all the parts of the motorized wheelchair, some parts tend to get more dirty than others. The most common areas that need regular cleansing include:

  • The joystick controller
  • The creases near the joystick
  • The cushion covers
  • The joints of the seat and backrest
  • The headrest
  • The footrest
  • The wheels and tyres

Each of these parts needs to be deep cleaned as these are the most exposed and hardest to get to.

Steps to Clean Your Motorized Wheelchair

For most motorized wheelchairs, also called power wheelchairs, you will find a user manual to guide you on how to clean your vehicle. Below are the generic steps to help you quickly learn how to clean your wheelchair at home, safely:

  1. To start with, unplug your motorized wheelchair from its power source to avoid any mishaps or short-circuit.
  2. For an added precaution, remove the battery from the wheelchair.
  3. Remove the seat cushion if it is a removable one.
  4. Use spray disinfectants like Windex and Lysol, or home made disinfectants like vinegar and dish soap, and spray them on the wheelchair. Let the disinfectants sit for at least 10 minutes. Remember to use the spray only on the cushions and body. Do not spray on cables and buttons.
  5. Once the disinfectant has worked its charm, wipe it out using a clean, damp, linen cloth or paper towel.
  6. For areas like the joystick, buttons, sockets, etc. that are hard to access using a cloth, use a toothbrush to clean them. Do not use water on any surface that is open to wires or electric circuits. It can result in permanent damage to the system.
  7. If the cushion covers are washable, give them a good machine wash. If the covers are not washable, use a vacuum to get the dirt off. For vinyl covers, use mild soaps and warm water to avoid harm to the material. For leather covers, do not wash them in a machine. Rather spray a leather cleaner or vinegar solution and wipe with a towel. For fabric cover, use hot water with dish wash to get rid of stains and dirt.
  8. Make sure to dry all the parts of the wheelchair with a clean dry towel.
  9. Use a can of air compressor or canned air to remove any leftover dust or pathogens and dry the vehicle properly.

Following these steps can help you keep your wheelchair clean and hygienic at all times.

Quick Tips to Keep in Mind

Apart from the aforesaid steps, below are some tips to make your cleaning experience smooth and easy:

  • While cleaning your motorized wheelchair, make sure to avoid contact with water. Instead, use a damp cloth.
  • To maintain the sanitization of your chair, wipe it down with a disinfectant wet towel on a daily basis and give it a thorough wash once every week.
  • For scrubbing dirt and small particles, use a rag brush or toothbrush.
  • For getting rid of hair clumps or cushion fluff, use tweezers.
  • To get rid of mud from the wheels, let it dry before using a soft brush to scrub it off.
  • Do not use harsh chemicals like detergents or bleach on the cushions or cushion covers. It can damage the material.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner to get small, unreachable particles out of the vehicle.
  • To clean the screen, use a lint-free cloth. Do not use spray disinfectants on the screen as it can cause stains. Similarly, avoid a scouring pad as it can cause scratches on the screen.
  • To add a fresh and rejuvinating smell to your chair, use a light air freshener with a fragrance of your choice, and spray it across the wheelchair.

Conclusion

Regular upkeep of your motorized wheelchair is crucial for your health and also for the overall performance of your vehicle. While you can go for a full cleaning session once in a while, make sure to do a daily clean-up of the vehicle before using it. A clean and sanitized wheelchair will keep your space healthy and your mood happy.

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