How effective is washing your Vicair wheelchair cushion?


vicair washable cushions

Washing Vicair products at 60°C with a mild detergent reduces the bacterial load by 99.99%, as demonstrated in recent tests conducted by Agidens, and an independent test centre in Belgium specializing in process and cleaning validation (Agidens test report disinfection wheelchair cushions – 2023, written by (Op De Beeck, 2023))1.

Three Vicair cushions, namely the Vicair Adjuster O2, Vector O2, and Vicair 4, were tested by Agidens for bacterial load reduction after washing. To demonstrate disinfection capabilities using a washing program on a common household washing machine together with laundry detergent (Areal Colour).

The Vicair 4 cushion was included due to its “hidden” zippers, which may be more prone to contamination. As opposed to the two other cushions, the top and bottom sides of the Vicair 4 are both made of the same polyester fabric with a polyurethane coating, and there are no Velcro strips on the bottom side.

Eleven different test locations on the cushion, including difficult-to-reach areas, were identified as worst-case scenarios. After washing the cushions for one hour at 60°C, there was on average a remarkable 99.99% reduction in bacterial load across all test locations.

While the zipper and Velcro of the Adjuster O2 and Vector O2 cushions posed slightly more challenge for disinfection, they still achieved at least a 99.99% reduction in bacterial load. Except for the zipper of the Adjuster during run 3, with a bacterial load reduction of 99.988%, this was the location with the lowest reduction. At 2/3th of the locations (Liner [top, bottom, grooves, outside, and inside], SmartCells, and compartment walls), the bacterial count after washing was less than <10 CFU/ml (colony-forming units per ml), indicating no countable residual bacterial load.

Notably, the test showed no significant difference in disinfection efficacy between professional detergent and common household detergent.

The effectiveness of cleaning products is expressed in a log reduction. This means that the difference in the amount of bacteria load before and after cleaning or disinfection is considered. Log 1 indicates that 90% of the bacteria have been killed, log 2 represents 99%, log 3 is 99.9%, log 4 is 99.99%, and so on.

The log reduction achieved during all three runs was similar across all test locations. On average, the disinfection phase lasted 10 minutes, with temperatures ranging between 57°C and 61°C. A log reduction of 4 (equivalent to a 99.99% reduction in microbes) is generally considered sufficient for Class 1 medical devices. Except for the zipper of the Adjuster O2 cushion during run 3, the desired reduction was achieved at every test location of all cushions during the three runs.

The literature review “the importance of cleaning your wheelchair cushion” showed that a log 3 or 4 reduction is generally considered as being sufficient for Class 1 (low risk) medical devices.2 This indicates that a common household washing machine, in combination with laundry detergent, effectively cleans even the most challenging-to-disinfect areas of the cushions, making it suitable for this type of medical device. The open design of the cushion facilitates the easy penetration of water and detergent into the compartments and SmartCells 1, which is why the cushions can be cleaned effectively.


  1. Conijn, N., Helming, T., Van Der Heyden, B., & Kramer, C. (2023). The importance of cleaning your wheelchair cushion 04.3REV8.23. 2. Op De Beeck, J. (2023). Test Report Disinfection Wheelchair Cushion.

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