Most modern office chairs are designed with either casters or rubber wheels that allow you to smoothly glide out from under your seat or around in your office space. These wheels can add a lot of convenience and functionality. Over time, these chair wheels can become dirty and clogged with debris like loose carpet fibers, pieces of yarn, and other contaminants as you frequently use your chair over time.
When office chairs become dirty they tend to leave behind streaks all over your carpets or hard floors which can make your office look all messy. Lots of fibers in the caster wheels can also make it hard for your chair casters to roll properly and can make your chair very noisy whenever you move.
In this guide, we are going to help you solve this common desk chair issue because we are going to show you how to clean office chair wheels.
Table of Contents
Tools You Need for Cleaning Rolling Chair Wheels
Before you can get to cleaning, it is best to collect everything you need for cleaning. Here is a quick look at the equipment you need for cleaning dirty office chair wheels.
- Butter knife or blunt knife
- Kitchen cleaner
- Rags or wet cloth
- Cotton swabs
- Scrub brush
- Chair oil or greaseless lubricant spray
How to Clean Office Chair Wheels
The first step for cleaning your rolling wheels is by turning your chair upside down so you can easily access those wheels. Once your office chair is firmly positioned upside down or on the desk with the backrest overhanging on the edge, you can get to work.
Start by Removing Debris From the Wheel Surface
Grab your butter knife and scrape off any pieces of outer debris you see on the wheel surface. You can also use a scrub brush to get the loose dirt off.
The butter knife can also fit into the smaller slots under the office chair caster wheel cover so you can clear out fibers, pet hair, and dirt that are keeping the wheel from rolling or making it noisy. You can also use tweezers to grab hold of hair or fabric fibers that might be stuck inside the wheel slot.
Some people prefer to remove the wheels from the leather office chair before they use the butter knife and tweezers. It is however safer to keep the wheels on the chair for this step since the chair will keep the wheels in place so you won’t slip and hurt yourself.
Remove the Wheels From the Chair
With the most ergonomic office chairs, the wheels can be pulled off with ease. But with some office chairs, you might need a screwdriver and will have to unscrew the wheel from the mesh chair.
Wipe Away the Dirt and Grime
Once the wheels have been removed from your chair, you can grab a clean cloth or old rag and wipe away any deposits or stuck debris you see on the plastic chair.
You can also spray some kitchen cleaner all over the wheel surface and wipe it again to remove all the dirt and deposits on the wheel surface.
If you are worried about chemical cleaning products damaging your casters then you can also use mild dish detergent and some hot water or a mixture of vinegar and bicarbonate soda as a cleaning solution. The soapy water or vinegar mixture is an ideal cleaning process for those who are sensitive to chemicals because it is effective, yet mild.
For extremely dirty wheels, you can let the casters sit in hot water or surface cleaner for a period of time so the dirt can loosen up.
Clean the Wheel Grooves
Try to wipe inside the rolling office chair wheel as well. If the cloth won’t fit inside the slot, you can grab some of the cotton swabs, dip them in the kitchen cleaner, and rub them on the inside of the caster wheel to remove the rest of the pieces of dirt and grime from all those narrow areas.
Test Each Wheel
It is a good idea to test each plastic wheel to see if it is rolling smoothly. Grab the wheel in your hand and roll it across a hard surface. If the wheel keeps getting caught then you might need to grab your tweezers again to see if there is anything else lodged inside.
Dry off the Wheels
After washing the mesh office chair casters, you should grab a clean rag or paper towel and dry off each wheel. For chrome wheels, you can also add a little bit of chrome cleaning spray and give those wheels a polish so they will be nice and shiny again.
Some chair owners also love to use a blow dryer to properly dry out the entire wheel or caster. This is a good strategy for avoiding rust inside the caster bearings.
Lubricate the Chair Wheel
It is always a good idea to lubricate the wheel inside. You can lubricate your chair wheels by dripping a little bit of machine oil inside the caster and rolling it over the desk to distribute the oil. A spray lubricant can also be very handy for reaching inside those small areas. Spray the wheel and roll it over a hard surface so the silicone lubricant can evenly spread inside the wheel.
Wipe away any leftover lubricant when you are satisfied with the way your caster feels when you roll it over a surface.
Reattach the Wheels
Once the wheel has been cleaned and lubricated, you should return it to the chair and attach it again. Now give your fabric chair a test drive to ensure that all wheels are fitted firmly. There should now be a huge improvement in your chair wheel performance.
If the chair wheels are still struggling then you might want to consider replacing the office chair wheels with some new ones.
How to Keep Office Chair Wheels Clean
Cleaning your office chair wheels does take quite a bit of effort and time. If your wheels are constantly getting dirty then the best thing you can do is to invest in an office chair mat or gaming chair mat.
There are many different types of chair mats. These plastic sheet mats are perfect for protecting your hard floors from scratches. They are also terrific for short pile carpets because the mat will keep those carpet fibers from getting snagged inside the caster wheel.
With a mat in place, your task chair will glide smoother, chair noises will be eliminated, the wheels will stay clean for longer and you can keep your floors protected for longer.
We hope that this guide on how to clean office chair wheels was helpful in restoring your wheels to their former glory. If you are looking for other great tips on how to care for your office chair or if you are looking for a new office chair to replace an old broken chair then you should have a look at some of the other guides we have on ChairsWiki. With our guides, you can find a chair for every need or body type and you can find all the best chair care tips.