How To Clean Task Chair Caster Wheels for Smooth Rolling

updated May 30, 2019
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The facts were undeniable: my task chair’s wheels had the ride of a Jeep traversing off-road terrain with a flat tire and roadkill stuck to the bottom. After weeks of home improvement projects, our apartment’s floors had become dirty with an assortment of debris, half of which seemed to have found itself stuck onto the caster wheels. Combine that with the normal amount of dust and pet hair that accumulates on the floor, and it’s no wonder my task chair wasn’t rolling smoothly. It was time to get cleaning! Follow the instructions step by step above via slideshow, or with all images at once below.

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Voila! Now your wheels should make less noise and you’ve extended the life of your chair and your floor underneath. Just be sure before returning your chair to also clean the floor it rolls upon or all your hard work will be wasted! (Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

What You Need

Equipment [OR] Tools:

  • drop cloth or plastic sheeting
  • screw driver
  • rubbing alcohol
  • surface cleaner
  • cloth or paper towel
  • cotton swabs/Q-tips
  • scrub brush
  • butter knife
  • vacuum with crevice attachment
  • lubricant (optional)


1. Look familiar? Here’s our Steelcase Leap chair’s caster wheels. They look pretty nasty, with bits of paint, dirt, and other things we couldn’t identify (nor would want to know).

2. Just in case you needed more proof, here’s a close up.

3. Supplies you’ll need: drop cloth or plastic sheeting, screw driver, rubbing alcohol, surface cleaner, cloth or paper towel, cotton swabs/Q-tips, scrub brush, vacuum (not pictured).

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

4. Protect your floor with the drop cloth before starting so what you clean off doesn’t end up spoiling your floor, carpet or rug beneath.

5. Flip your chair for better access to the caster wheels.

6. Use a scrub brush to remove the majority of debris stuck onto the wheels. We like to follow up a second time with the brush slightly soap-dampened; this removes additional material, while also softening up some of the more stubborn debris for the next step.

7. Here you can see the majority of foreign material has been removed just with the brush, but some gummed up material is stubbornly holding on.

8. Bust out the butter knife for stuck-on stubborn material. Angle your knife nearly parallel with the wheels, holding it steady, but “slicing” in the same directions as the wheels spin. Spreading onto toast afterward is not recommended.

9. Gummy debris has been removed, but alas, there’s still more stuck inside the wheel.

10. Next, we vacuum any hair, dust or pet hair caught inside the wheel. This Dyson pet vac sucked up so much hair, we practically had another small kitten’s worth inside the dust receptacle!

11. For a very thorough cleaning, we removed the wheel from the base. This may require the use of additional tools like a wrench or screw driver, depending upon your model. Our wheel popped out with a little bit of elbow grease.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

12. First using a surface cleaner spray onto a dampened wash cloth, then followed with some rubbing alcohol applied to cotton balls, we clean each wheel thoroughly inside and around of any remaining debris. The rubbing alcohol is especially good at cleaning and creating a very dry and smooth surface. If you’ve got any spray lubricant on hand, this is a great opportunity to add a little to the wheel mechanism.

<13. Voila! Now your wheels should make less noise and you’ve extended the life of your chair and the floor underneath. Take your chair out for a spin and congratulate yourself for a job well done.

Additional Notes: Before returning your newly cleaned task chair, be sure to vacuum, and wipe clean the area on which your task chair normally resides. All that hard work would be wasted if you were just to return it back to a dirty surface!

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

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Republished from July 16, 2010

(Images: Gregory Han)