Rolling dirtySep 16 03:13
The way you look at your wheelchair can make all the difference in how often it gets cleaned. If you look at it as extension of your body, you’re probably going to clean it everyday. But if you look at it as a vehicle, then it’ll be lucky to get cleaned every couple of months; a night and day difference that determines whether your persona appears sparkly clean, or more like a rolling version of “Pig-Pen” from Peanuts.
Wheelchairs are a clean-freak’s worst nightmare. They are the carriers of the filth you roll over when you’re outside, and this nasty stuff will cling to you until you ffind the energy wash it clean. If you were really serious about making sure your wheelchair remained as clean as Mary Poppin’s fingernails, you’d clean it multiple times a day, or at least morning and night. Wheelchairs require more cleaning than anyone tells you in rehab. They are more constant work that laundry. With every use, they must be cleaned (if you are serious about making sure it‘s clean that is).
I can go days, completely not thinking about the cleanliness of my wheelchair, until I’m out a fancy restaurant and look down, realizing my chair is covered in grime, old food, leaves, and God-knows what else. It can be SO embarrassing when this happens. I can get my body clean, have great hair, makeup and dress to the ‘9s, but if I show up in a filthy chair, all of that sexiness is nullified. A clean wheelchair is like an accessory whether you want to admit it or not. And its up to you to make sure it stays clean.
Some clean-freaks after my own heart invented the NO-TRAC wheelchair tire cleaner, a machine that automatically cleans your wheels using automated brushes, and it can get your tires clean in 30 seconds. This is a great product if you live in a climate with lots of snow or rain, but damn, $3995? Who has that kind of cash to throw at a any kind of cleaning machine, let alone at one that just cleans the tires? For that kind of money I’d want a full-fledged wheelchair CAR WASH.
To make sure I’m never rollin’ dirty again, I have my PCAs rinse my chair with a high-pressure hose and dish soap every couple weeks. It works, but even THAT is proving to not be enough; at least with all the places I go. What to do, what to do? I guess my only option is to clean it more. ACK. Why can’t I just find a really tall dog that likes to lick metal?
What’s your favorite method in keeping your chair clean?
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.