Office chairs are bound to store up a lot of gunk mainly hair over time. Most of us just dust and clean the office chair fabric periodically and wheels are not a concern. Until they start giving problems by not moving smoothly.
Remember the time when it was new and used to glide smoothly across the room? Now it is barely moving to the other side of the desk!
What happens is that due to its rolling nature they collect so much debris (hair, dust, oil, etc) fallen on the floor that they clog up. The debris cakes up with the hair and puts up a tough fight. Removing hair from office chair wheels takes a bit of effort but in the end, it is worth the smooth glide. It can also be quite therapeutic.
The following steps are for those office chairs where wheels which can be dismantled.
To remove hair from castors which can be separated
Most of the office chairs fall under this category. Once the castors are separated, removing hair from them is a breeze. To separate them requires a piece of equipment or two and a little effort
Invert chair and clamp/brace it up
Place the chair upside down.
The best method is to place it upside down on a stable desk and clamp up two legs.
This method makes the chair stable. If you are placing it upside down on the floor, brace it with something sturdy so that it does not move.
Remove wheels from legs
Remove the hub axle.
Most of the chairs come with removable castor wheels which can easily pop off. This makes cleaning the wheels much easier and less messy.
Grab the leg with a little bit of force and pop out the wheel.
Alternatively, you can leave the wheel right in as you will have a better grip to dismantle it.
Use screwdrivers and pull the castor wheel apart
Take two flathead screwdrivers. Those which are nice and robust and arent going to bend. Slide them through underneath between the wheels and the leg and pull upwards near the axle. You will create a bit of a wedge.
Slide again on the underside of the axle.
Now put the other screwdriver on the other side of the axle. Push it all the way through and keep twisting while applying force. It will dismantle.
Below is a demo video that shows you to do this:
Removing the hair
A lot of gunk and hair will be visible. Pull them off with your fingers or tweezers. If the hair is thick and isn’t coming off, use something like a swizz knife razor to cut through the hair. You can also use clippers.
Cut gently and slowly. Use thumb as a support to hold to the wheel while you cut away the hair. Use the blade at an angle to cut through the hair. Cut downwards towards the plastic and not upwards towards the axle.
Use the screwdriver and push the other side wheel as well to pop it off from the axle and repeat this step with the other wheel as well.
Rinse, wipe and lubricate
Keep it in soapy water for a while. Rinse, pat dry and apply a lubricant. Something like WD40 or CRC spray can be used. If you are oiling it remember not to oil it too much so the grease comes out. That will defeat the cleaning purpose.
Now for the fixed wheel types which cant be dismantled, here are some quick methods to remove hair
To remove hair from fixed wheels
Quite a few office chairs fall under this category.
Removing hair from fixed wheels can be tricky but it is possible. Below are the methods by which you can remove hair from fixed wheels.
Duct tape method
Duct tape is a good method to remove hair from fixed wheels.
Turn the chair upside down. Clean the debris which is visible and removable with your fingers. Now roll a section of the tape on your finger with the sticky section facing out.
Place the tape on the shreds of hair visible firmly. Make sure you spread it over a large section. Now pull the duct tape away swiftly removing the chunk of hair and debris. Repeat until you get all off.
Clippers and tweezers method
Sometimes the hair gets so tangled up that the duct tape method is not enough to remove all the hair by itself. Use clippers or razors to cut hair into tiny sections.
Now pull it out using the duct tape method.
You can also use tweezers as they can reach deep inside and pull out the hair. They reach into the small cracks of the wheels and can do a better job than the duct tape method.
Burn the hair
Burning the hair can reduce it to a pile of ashes within minutes. Make sure to aim the lighter, matchstick or on the heat gun on the hair and not on the wheels.
The wheels are made of plastic so be careful. Aim directly for the hair. Wooden matchsticks and small lighters do a good job. Heat gun should only be used for a minute or so.
After burning off the hair, spray the wheels with high-pressure water to remove the ashes and burnt hair. A hosepipe can also be used. Just make sure the water pressure is high.
Soak in soapy water
This one is a good method for both removable and fixed wheels. Soap is great for easily sliding off the hair and removing debris. Soak the wheels in soapy water solution for 15-20 minutes. Follow up using tweezers or scrub brush or toothbrush to remove the hair.
After washing off and drying them up (you can use a blow dryer or a vacuum cleaner), use a lubricant to prevent rusting and for a good smooth motion of the wheels. Avoid putting too much lubricant as it will cause a greasy mess on the wheels and on the floor. Just a few drops off the lubricating tube or a light spray with a nozzle is good enough.
Put the wheels back on your chair or reattach the base using a screwdriver and a little pressure. Test that your chair is rolling smoothly by pushing it around the floor.
Some other tips for cleaning Office chair wheels
For those of you who don’t like to get your hands dirty, there are other options you can pursue to remove hair. Let the cleaning service person at your office do the work for you while you can instruct.
If you are looking to clean multiple chairs, it is better to go for a professional cleaning service.
Another alternative is to replace your castor wheels. A set of five castors can cause you around 8-10 dollars. Get new wheels and forget about the old ones with tangled hair.
If you are planning to buy a new office chair, get one with wheels that are separate from the castor for easy cleaning.
Regularly cleaning and maintaining your office chair wheels is the best way to keep them free and unclogged from hair and other debris.
Do it at least every two months depending on how clean your office is.
All the best!
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