Tips to Keep Your Lightweight Wheelchair Clean


It is easy to overlook cleaning small details of a wheelchair like the seat cushions, back cushions, armrests, frame, etc. If cleaning and disinfection are not done properly, there is a high chance that the germs will silently breed, making the wheelchair a hotbed for germs.

Everyone has been taking extra precautions because of the COVID-19, including us at KARMA Mobility Malaysia. We have put together a lot of helpful information about how to look after yourself if you are in a wheelchair or if you know someone who uses a wheelchair. 

Malaysia has a humid climate where the humidity often reaches as high as 80%, frequently alternating between hot and cold. After long term use when a wheelchair hasn’t been disinfected or cleaned regularly, it is more likely to become a hotbed for diseases such as scabies and ringworm! These diseases can cause nasty infections and can even affect the internal organs.

What are the key parts of the wheelchair to clean?

1. Seat upholstery: If the wheelchair user has been sitting in their wheelchair for 10 hours then the seat is likely to be soaked in sweat and other bodily fluids. Especially in the rainy season when it is hot, wet, and humid, women are more susceptible to getting urinary tract infections. With no way to relieve pressure on their own, the heat and humidity will contribute to pressure sores on the thighs and buttocks. 

2. Back upholstery: The back upholstery touches a large area of the user’s skin and it is easily soaked by the user’s sweat and stained. This environment is the perfect breeding ground for scabies. In a nursing home environment, if it isn’t cleaned properly then scabies can quickly spread amongst the nursing home residents. 

3. Push handles, armrests, and hand rims: These are parts frequently touched by either the user or the caregiver. The armrests and hand rims are relied upon by the user to transport themselves, therefore, those diseases that are spread on contact will rise for wheelchair users. 

4. Tires: In addition to driving through different environments, dirt is likely to get stuck in the grooves of the tire which is hard to clean and can create an unsmooth ride.

How to clean a lightweight wheelchair?

The cleanliness of the wheelchair is imperative to the user because, after long term use, the wheelchair will become dirty. Cleaning it regularly will keep it clean and beautiful! Using these 5 steps will make cleaning your wheelchair simple! 

1. Wipe the wheelchair frame with a damp cloth 

The frame and upholstery can be simply wiped with a damp cloth. If you need to use soap or detergent to clean it, make sure to use a gentle detergent. Do not use strong solvents such as bleach or kitchen cleaners. 

Recommended frequency: Daily

2. Gentle detergent is needed to clean the wheelchair seat and back upholstery

It is recommended to choose a wheelchair seat and back upholstery that has been treated with anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, which can effectively prevent infections. If it is an untreated fabric, it is recommended to clean it frequently. Use a gentle detergent when cleaning, not a washing machine, and dry outdoors in the shade. Avoid direct sunlight that could damage the fabric and ventilation that prevents odours.

Recommended frequency: Monthly

3. Regularly check the armrest pads for damage

The armrest pads are a high contact area. If they are damaged, they can hide dirt, breed bacteria, and so should be repaired and replaced immediately. 

Recommended frequency: Every six months

4. Wipe dry after it gets wet

Maintaining the anti-rust layer can keep the wheelchair bright and beautiful for a long time. With general cleaning and maintenance, in addition to maintaining the beauty, it can also extend the life of the wheelchair. 

Recommended frequency: when it rains

5. Clean the front and rear wheel axles, pay attention to the tire tread

Hair can often get stuck in the wheel axles so it is important to remember to clean the axles to avoid damage. In addition, special attention should be paid to whether the tire tread is worn. Also, pay attention to whether the tire pressure is sufficient. 

Recommended frequency: monthly

We’re here to help

As you can see, it is not difficult to clean your wheelchair but with regular cleaning, you can make sure your wheelchair is not a hotbed for germs to breed! Make sure you check out the videos on our website that shows you in even more detail how to clean your wheelchair to protect yourself from COVID-19!

How to Protect Yourself from Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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