Don’t! But, if you’re masochistic idiot who is determined to give it a crack, then keep reading…
Lately, during office chair races, you’ve noticed your chariot has lost a lot of speed and you’re needing to really kick hard to maintain your winning streak down the lanes between the cubicles or around your home kitchen circuit.
THE PROBLEM: Your desk chair wheels’ have become clogged with human hair, and God knows what else, and your rolling rate per metre has been severely reduced.
THE SOLUTION: Remove the hair from between the wheels. Depending on how hairy you are, you’ll need to do this every 3 to 5 years.
HOW? Well, if you’re lucky, you’ll simply call some overworked handyman and watch his bottom lip quiver when you explain what you want done.
Or, you can have a crack at doing it yourself.
Let me suggest you watch this rather excellent video first:
(Note: if you don’t have access to the tools this bloke has, DON’T even think about attempting this job.)
I’ve done this task numerous times as a handyman over the years, but for authenticity, I did this job at home recently using a meagre collection of hand tools.
First, take the chair outside, and clean the wheels with a solution of dishwashing liquid and a cloth.
I’m not going to sugar coat it, this stuff is gunkier and harder to remove than soap scum from glass shower screens (more on that later).
There’s no photo here because my hands were too filthy, and I didn’t want that crap all over my phone either.
So, wheel surfaces clean, time to pop the wheels apart.
You will need a full set of flat bladed screw drivers.
Prise two of them between the wheels until you’ve got them far enough apart to get the largest screwdrivers in your set between the gaps.
At this point, you’ll need to really put some force into those handles to prise the wheel apart.
Greg’s Top Tip 1: I would suggest one handle be tied to a brick wall, and the other to a mining truck.
Using sheer brute strength, and a couple of swear words I dusted off for the occasion, after 10 mins of grunting and farting, I did manage to get one half of the wheel to pop off.
Greg’s Top Tip 2: find someone who played wicket keeper at representative level cricket to stand nearby while you’re doing this job. I didn’t, and as a result, the half wheel flew over my neighbours’ fence.
Greg’s Top Tip 3: Make sure you’re neighbour is at home before you start this job. Mine wasn’t and I had to get a bit creative in my attempts to retrieve my missing wheel.
Anyway, after the Police have finished questioning you, take your wheel back home, then clean the hair off the wheel.
Next try to get the other half of the wheel to pop off.
Greg’s Top Tip 4: Find someone built like a Mack Truck to strike the little axle with Thor’s hammer. After another 10 minutes, you’ll realise this thing is jammed tighter than a pickpockets’ hand in a Scotsman’s purse and you’ll give up and use a pair of pliers to pull out what hair you can.
Oh yes, this leads me to –
Greg’s Top Tip 5: when buying pliers, buy 11 of them and scatter them around your house and car so you’ll have half a chance of finding one pair when you need them.
REASSEMBLY: Use a large pair of multi-grips to pop the wheel back in place.
(Note: I guarantee you won’t have a pair this big in your dinky home tool kit, so good luck with that!)
By now, you’ll have spent approximately 45 mins cleaning half a wheel and only half cleaning the other half… if you get my drift, and there are still four and a half wheels to be cleaned.
With time out for meals, first aid and scaling your neighbours’ fence, you’ll be looking at roughly 8 hours to clean your office chair wheels; only if all goes well, and you don’t break one (or several) wheels beyond repair.
Now, let’s say your hourly rate is worth roughly $25 an hour, then you’ve just blown $200 worth of your time.
Time you could have spent earning a crust, surfing Facebook, napping, or making a statement at the Police Station as to what you were doing on your hands and knees in your neighbour’s shrubbery.
My chair cost $250 brand new back in 2014. A replacement set of wheels (depending on your source) will remove anything from $20 to $100 from your bank account.
Long story short – Don’t Do It Yourself!
Greg’s Top Tips To Keep Your Wheels Squeaky Clean in Future:
Shave your head.
Borrow someone else’s chair when yours starts to slow down.
Dip the wheels in acid to remove unwanted hair.
Get some overworked handyman to replace the wheels for you while you order a replacement chair and, when it arrives, get the handyman to assemble it while you give your old chair a fitting Viking funeral.