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Taking care of your stairlift

26th November 2013

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

As with any piece of equipment, it is important to know how to take care of a stairlift at home in order to get the most out of it and lengthen its life; here, we provide some useful advice and tips on how to take care of your stairlift. Whether you can carry these out yourself or a friend or family member is happy to do it for you, this guide of care and cleaning tips will show you how.

Cleaning a stairlift

A stairlift needs cleaning just like any other part of the home, and whilst it is recommended that maintenance professionals or a more able-bodied family member should deal with the stairlift track, the seat itself is straightforward to clean by following these simple cleaning tips.

Indoor stairlifts should be given a quick dust with a dry cloth or feather duster at least once a week to prevent dust from building up. A slightly damp cloth can be used on the seat and the track to pick up dust instead of just moving it around, but make sure that everything is completely dry afterwards, going over with a dry cloth if necessary. Outdoor stairlifts are exposed to the elements so may need more cleaning, however most come with a cover that can be used to protect the seat. If it does need cleaning, a damp soapy sponge can be used on the seat of outdoor stairlifts, followed by a wipe with a damp and clean cloth.

Image credit: Entheta (commons.wikimedia.org)

Whether the stairlift is being cleaned by an elderly person or not, this should always occur when the stairlift is at the bottom of the stairs to avoid any trips or falls.

Lubricating the track

Elderly people and those who experience pain in finger joints may want to leave this job to a maintenance expert or family member, as it needs to be done along the length of the track and can be quite fiddly. Firstly, always remember to turn off the stairlift before carrying out this task for safety reasons. The track should be lubricated every few months, beginning with a thorough clean with a damp cloth before applying a very small amount of lubricant for stairlifts.

The cleaning part is very important, as dust and black carbon residue can build up on the track if this is not done. A very small amount of lubricant should be applied, as too much can cause the rollers to slide rather than roll. Make sure that lubricant is not applied to the chain.

DO NOT use cleaning solvents

It is very important that you do not use solvents, bleaches or abrasive cleaners that are better designed for cleaning a walk in bath or shower; these can corrode or short circuit the important and delicate components within the stairlift. The chair and carriage can become damaged and the roller on the stairlift track will lose friction if cleaning solvents are used. If the roller loses friction it can then skid, which the stairlift will respond to by stopping or even shutting down. Whatever cleaning tips you may come across elsewhere, cleaning solvents should NEVER be used.

Read the manual and have an annual service

The manual should always be consulted before carrying out cleaning or maintenance on the stairlift. Particularly invasive or vigorous cleaning could void the warranty and damage the stairlift, so it pays to be careful.

An annual service of the stairlift by a professional is highly recommended, as they will have the skills and knowledge needed to carry out cleaning and lubrication, as well as provide helpful advice on maintenance and stairlift spares to replace damaged parts. Keeping on top of cleaning and maintenance should also lead to fewer problems that would require the services of an emergency engineer, so make sure to check and clean everything regularly.

Image Credit: robbinsbox (flickr.com)