How to Clean Old Caster Wheels the Right Way
Victoria Forney

How to Clean Old Caster Wheels the Right Way

Caster wheels are among the most essential components for countless items, including shopping carts and office chairs. These unassuming wheels are unsung heroes, keeping things moving smoothly as they glide across the floor. So, when it comes to business operations, caster wheels make a lot of sense.

Casters typically work without issue, but older wheels may experience problems that can appear at what seems like a moment's notice. Knowing how to clean old caster wheels is vital information if you want your furniture, chairs, or equipment to keep moving as needed.

Below, the experts at Caster Central explain just how to clean your old caster wheels. Precision in regular caster wheel maintenance goes a long way in streamlining each wheel’s functionality. And if you need caster wheels by Caster Central, be sure to contact us! 

Professional Tips for Cleaning Old Caster Wheels

Here are a few tips for cleaning old caster wheels to get the most out of them:

Frequent Inspections Save Money on Repairs and Replacements

Caster wheels undergo a considerable amount of strain. Between friction from the floor and a constant spinning motion, all types of caster wheels are prone to wear and tear. Thankfully, regular check-ups can identify issues before they worsen and help prolong the mechanism’s useful life.

Oftentimes, caster wheels fail due to a missing part or two. Delicate by nature, these wheels rely on different screws and components to function effectively. If one or more of these parts is missing, it could cause the wheel to perform erratically.

You’ll need to Inspect your caster wheels on a regular basis. Look for any visible signs of damage, both on the wheel itself and the assembly. Even small dings and chips could cause serious issues.

The Caster Central experts recommend checking your chairs and carts on a quarterly basis, and re-lubricating them at least twice a year. However, if you make especially heavy use of your caster wheels, you may want to perform more regular maintenance.

Debris Scraping Damages Caster Wheels Fast

Did you know that caster wheels attract debris as your wheels glide along the floor? They pick up gum, stickers, and paper, among other filth. That’s why regular debris removal from the wheel surfaces makes a huge difference. 

  • Flip your chair or cart upside down to access your wheels. 
  • Using either your fingers or a pen, remove any debris present.
  • If items get stuck to the wheel or jammed in hard-to-reach crevices, apply rubbing alcohol to these deposits, and then use a dull knife to carefully extract it. 

Be careful not to cut or damage the plastic components.

Thorough Cleaning and Lubrication

Part of knowing how to clean old caster wheels involves understanding that cleaning isn’t optional. You simply can't go without cleaning your wheels if you want them to last, but how do you clean old caster wheels? You'll need a few tools before beginning the cleaning process — a cloth, brush, and your preferred lubricant.

  • After you've scraped any remaining debris off the wheel, use your cloth to clean dirt from the wheels and inside your wheels' crevices.
  • Apply your lubricant all over the wheel. 
  • Take your brush and scrub the wheel, spreading lubricant across its surface and into any hard-to-reach spaces. Cotton swabs may provide additional support.
  • Finally, take a spare cloth and soak up any remaining lubricant. 

You can finish the cleaning process by soaking the wheel in soapy water for 10 minutes. Give it ample time to dry afterward, however.

Test the Wheels

Cleaning and adjusting your casters is important, but you also need to test your wheels. The goal is to maximize your wheels' flexibility and maneuverability. A swivel check for each of your wheels can make a big difference. 

  • Clean the swivel piece in a similar fashion to how you cleaned the wheels, albeit with rubbing alcohol instead of lubricant. 
  • Move your cart or chair steadily in a direction while testing different angles and speeds. 

The problems you'll want to look out for include squeaking or stuck wheels, along with a shaky caster.

Tension Adjustments

Adjusting your caster wheels' tension levels is also important to regulate wheel functioning and prevent unnecessary wear and tear.

Follow these steps for safe caster tension adjustment:

  • Start by flipping over your chair or cart to access the wheels.
  • Locate the screws that attach the caster to the body. 
  • Loosen or tighten them as you see fit to adjust the resistance to your preferred level.

An adjustment is especially helpful if it feels as if your wheels are providing excess resistance. 

Check Hardware Fasteners

Knowing how to clean old caster wheels includes understanding how the hardware fasteners work. These crucial components give caster wheels what they need to function, though few people outside of the manufacturing crew understand how they work. Just think of hardware fasteners as the "glue" that holds the caster wheel together.

These hardware fasteners look like standard bolts and washers. They might vary in size depending on how large your caster wheels are.

Use your preferred tools to tighten any loose screws, and then test the wheels' performance. Do you notice any damage: breaks, cracks, bends, or other problems? Take note of any rust as well, as it can spread and worsen over time. 

If there’s visible damage or the casters aren’t performing well, replacing the hardware fasteners with up-to-date alternatives will help.

The Importance of Cleaning Your Caster Wheels

Cleaning your caster wheels might not be the most exciting task you have to complete as a part of managing your business. However, committing to the cleaning process could provide you with numerous benefits, including some relief for your property, plant, and equipment account’s bottom line. 

Caster wheels cannot function optimally without regular care and attention, but here are some more specific reasons why you should maintain your caster wheels:

  • Caster wheels could streamline your business operations. Bad caster wheels might seem like an unlikely culprit for wasted time and productivity issues. However, if you and your employees can't move around or move merchandise without wheel issues, that’s precious time spent struggling to adjust office chairs instead of on tasks that boost profits.
  • Fully functioning caster wheels improve everyone’s quality of life at work. Everyday tasks become much easier, safer, and more comfortable with office chairs that don’t stick, overbalance, or damage flooring. Carts and chairs will last far longer with regular care.
  • Addressing potential caster issues early provides a safety net. When caster wheels fail, they could cause serious damage to items or even hurt employees. Maintaining your caster wheels is probably one of the easiest ways to avoid health and safety problems for a happier workforce and fewer lawsuits.
  • Cleaning caster wheels reveals problems before they eat into your budget. Caster wheel problems don't just pose a safety hazard; they will require money to fix or replace when they fail. Taking the time to care for these little wheels will prevent complications down the line and help you avoid more costly replacement services in the future.

As a go-to source for industrial casters, Caster Central specializes in heavy-duty, adaptable caster wheels that excel in any workplace environment. Our team knows how to clean old caster wheels and much more because, for the last 150 years, we have been involved with the design and manufacturing process across all makes and models.

Why not call Caster Central at (800) 445-4082 to learn more about common caster problems or purchase casters? It could be the best decision you make for your business and lifestyle.