Health & Wellness: Keeping your Wheelchair Clean & Disinfected from COVID-19

Source: Madonna Long & Karen Roy, LCSW,

For people with disabilities, and especially wheelchair users, the coronavirus poses unique challenges because wheelchairs are touched frequently and in many places. A blog post from NuMotion contains some useful tips to keep in mind when taking care of your chair and the environment around them.

In addition to taking care of your equipment, be sure to also take care of you! Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds, especially before and after cleaning equipment, as well as anytime you arrive back at your home after being outside.


What to Clean With

Because the coronavirus can live for up to 72 hours on hard surfaces, it’s important to conduct regular cleaning. To protect against the coronavirus, surfaces need to be both cleaned and disinfected. Beyond any type of cleaning you may already do to your chair you should also disinfect areas that are frequently touched.

  • Surfaces can be cleaned with soap and water.
  • Disinfect with EPA-approved wipes that contain at least a 70% alcohol solution, or other approved store-bought solutions. Do NOT use baby wipes.
  • If you need to make a disinfectant solution, the CDC suggests using a spray bottle with one quart of water and four teaspoons of bleach.


Cleaning Components of your Chair

There are many, many components on a chair that are touched frequently – by users and caregivers. Here’s some to keep in mind that should be disinfected anytime a new person comes in contact with your chair, or you leave and return to your home.

  • Joystick
  • Head controls
  • Mouth controls
  • Head rest
  • Arm rests
  • Side guards
  • Back of the wheelchair
  • Push handles

Cleaning Other Assistive Equipment

Beyond your wheelchair, other frequently touched equipment and medical supplies should also be disinfected. These include:

  • Any equipment that you handle or put near your mouth
  • Oxygen tanks
  • Steering wheel and door buttons on vehicles
  • Transfer seats
  • Medication or other items in your home
  • A backpack or purse that touches your chair

Staying Safe When Going Out

  • If you are leaving the house, here are some extra precautions to consider.
  • If you have plastic gloves wear them when you are out of your home.
  • DO NOT Touch your face with the plastic gloves and always clean anything you have touched after you dispose of the gloves.
  • If you travel in a transit or taxi vehicle, do not touch anything metal and avoid touching anything except your wheelchair.

Read the rest of the blog post and learn more about NuMotion’s efforts to fight COVID-19 by visiting:

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