Wheelchairs Users should take these precautions for the COVID-19 Virus

Madonna Long & Karen Roy 3/17/2020

The last few days our lives have changed, so my super friends like Karen Roy and I decided to make sure that we gave some tips on taking care of ourselves and our health though this health crisis.

Wheelchairs Users should take these precautions for the COVID-19 Virus

We should all be aware that COVID-19 can survive on hard surfaces for 2 to 3 days, including our wheelchairs. Here are some things ways to keep yourself healthy that you may not have thought about.

Helpful Tips:

  • Wash your hands always for 20 seconds front and back
  • Wipe down your joystick and other components that you often touch with your hands.
  • If you have head controls or mouth controls, make sure that those items are wiped down often.
  • Wipe down your head rest or the back of your wheelchair as other may touch these places.
  • Clean any place where your hands may touch on your wheelchair
  • 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.
  • Gloves can rip, make sure you throw them away and then wipe down your arm rests and joy sticks and arm rest
  • If you are out of your home when you come home wash your joystick, your arm rests or anywhere someone else has touched.
  • If you travel in a transit or taxi vehicle do not touch anything metal or avoid touching anything except your wheelchair.
  • Wipe down anywhere on the chair that could be touched by others, like push handles and the back of your wheelchair.
  • Wipe down cell phones and laptops and computers even if you wear gloves, when you are in your house after being out.

For Manual Wheelchair Users:

  • Manual Wheelchair users should always wear gloves or vinyl gloves when pushing.
  • After you get in your home from being out in public, wash your rims frequently
  • Wipe down your side guards.
  • Wipe down anywhere on the chair that could be touched by others, like push handles and the back of your wheelchair.
  • If you have Caretakers or Home Healthcare Providers:
  • Make sure Caretakers have gloves on or are washing their hands when around you.
  • Ask them to wipe down your wheelchair
  • If they are in your home, make sure they are disinfecting counters or places your hands may touch.
  • Clean where you place your hands on your wheelchair that you touch often
  • Make sure others are washing their hands often around you
  • If the person who assists you in personal care, please be aware that the virus is in fecal matter also.
  • If you are catheterizing, you should make sure you wash your hands before and after you are catheterizing.


  • Wash your hands before and after Catheterization.
  • If you wear Gloves, make sure you remove when you are finished.

Suggestion: Do you can use a catheter without transferring?This will help to reduce contact in bathrooms by not transferring to toilets or if you are concerned for access issues due to being in a place with narrow bathrooms. Cure Medical suggests this catheter M14XL or extension tubing. Thank You Lisa Wells, VP of Marketing at Cure Medical.

  • Or contact your catheter company and ask about a different system to use, but if you want to change you may need a doctors RX to change your current order.

Outerwear and clothes:

  • Clean your coat if you are around other people at a doctor’s office or the grocery store. We should all be washing our clothes more often, especially if you have been in public for any reason.

If you drive:

  • Clean your steering wheel often
  • Clean your transfer seat or any instruments you may touch in your vehicle.
  • Clean the buttons to open doors and ramps each time

Patients with oxygen or other items on their wheelchairs:

  • Clean your oxygen or other items on or around your wheelchair before you go out and then wipe them off when you get back, these items could touch things when you are out. (Ex: Traveling on transit)
  • Wash often where your hands on your wheelchair may touch

If you ride on transit or any vehicle:

  • Wear gloves if you have them available and make sure that if someone is locking you down in a vehicle they also wears gloves.
  • Also, when you get to your home or destination, wipe off your lock down equipment on your chair.

Assistive Equipment:

  • Make sure any assistive equipment that you handle or put near your mouth that you clean often.
  • Medication or other items in your home
  • Wipe off the outside of your medication bottles often.
  • If you put a backpack or purse anywhere on your chair, keep them wiped off
  • Often wipe off your computer case if laptop and your keyboards, TV remote and cell phones. (Anything touched by your hands.)
  • Wipe off door handles, light fixtures and surfaces you touch with your hands often.

What to use for cleaning:

  • Wash with Soap and water if you do not have alcohol or ammonia-based wipes on surfaces. Do not use baby wipes. If you need to make a disinfectant solution, the CDC suggests that you use spray bottle with a quart of water and 1 teaspoon of bleach.
  • For those that don’t have Lysol, 1 part bleach to two parts water 1:2 will help clean chairs. And 2 parts rubbing alcohol to 1 part water can also disinfect hard nonporous items, counters and chairs. Thank you also to Andrea Dalzel the Rolling Nurse from New York and Consumer Advocate

For more information check the Center for Disease Control at CDC.gov

woman in wheelchair smiling

Madonna Long is a wheelchair user is a Consumer Advocate for people who have Disabilities and has a bachelor’s degree in Homeland Security.

woman talking with microphone in a wheelchair

Karen Roy, LCSW is a wheelchair user and the Numotion Brand Ambassador who is an active consumer advocate for people with disabilities.

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Madonna Long Consulting LLC

Madonna Long Consulting LLC, owns Loops Media Group, a marketing and media company.

Madonna Long Consulting works with various companies aroundd the world. Focusing on Public Policy, Campaigns and Specialized Disability Marketing and offers government and regulatory affairs, public and community relations with communications services to achieve client goals.


Madonna has worked nationally in Washington DC in government affairs for Pride Mobility Products & Quantum Rehab from 2009 to Present. She is a nationally known and respected advocate.  She has worked on regulations in the transportation industry in Chiciago, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, New York City and Nevada on policy for accessible transportation.