Office Chair Wheels – Easier Axle Cleaning

Office Chair Wheels – Easier Axle Cleaning

We have 5 of these wheels on our office chair that have threads and hair and fibers wrapped around the axle shafts. Eventually they get to where they don’t turn very freely. You can go in there with a pair of pliers, dental tools, an exacto blade and you can keep trying to cut that out of there, and for 5 sets of wheels on one chair, you can work on that for most of a day, and you still won’t have all those hairs and fibers out of there. I don’t have that type of patience. I’ll show you how to knock these apart and clean them up.


Using a scrap piece of 2 x 4, I drilled a 1 15/16” diameter hole deep enough to accept one of these wheels to go down inside this pocket. This 2 x 4 will support this part of the frame of the wheel. It took another piece of scrap wood and a couple of angle blocks to go under the wheel, and support it on the side. Now I want to find the center of that wheel using a scrap piece of plywood. I drill a 1 15/16” pocket, and then drill the center out for a 3/16 bit. I put that on top of that wheel a 3/16” bit and I drill the wheel out. I do that to all of the wheels drilling the hole on one wheel, on one side. The axle shaft is tight in the center support of the wheel, and it’s pushed into these wheels and there’s a little bit of a socket about two thirds of the way through. We need to take a pin punch or a 10 penny nail, stick it in here, and drive that axle shaft through that supporting block, while this wheel is going into this pocket. We need to drive that in far enough to where that shaft disengages from this wheel. In other words, support the wheel while the axel is pushed out.


These are really only made to go together one time. You can take them apart and put them together once, maybe twice, and it should be okay. But to try and add a little life to that plastic, I want to heat this up in boiling water first, just to soften that plastic and make that drive out of there a little easier. Boil these in a pot of water. Shake the water out of there, dry them off just a little bit, and put that wood block under there. You’ll want to do this before it gets a chance to cool off too much, and drive that wheel out.


I tried driving one of these apart dry. I thought this might work a little better.  That hole in there could be a little bit bigger. Try to get it 100 percent clean. The Exacto blade works pretty well. Now it’s just a matter of getting the hair and thread off of the shaft. It’s a lot easier when the wheel’s gone.


I played around with a couple of these yesterday trying to dig out some of this hair with a couple of dental pics and a pair of needle nose pliers. I got tired of that pretty quick. It’s almost as much fun as cleaning out somebody else’s vacuum cleaner. I’ll take this block, and tap that wheel down until it just touches that wood block. You can see how smooth that turns.  It turns pretty well. All of these have had a hole drilled in one side. The hot water made this a lot easier to come apart than when I took the first one apart dry. Plus the water helps lubricate that a little bit to come apart. It’s much easier to clean these up, drive them back together, and center the wheels on that axle shaft. I would not put any oil on that. How long will it last, I don’t know. They certainly roll free now, and they’ll last for a while.


One of the problems with these as they go up into the plastic base of the chair. This little split ring is in there, and its job is just to keep this from falling out if you pick the chair up. There’s no bearing on this. The shaft is just turning inside this plastic block. You can see that each one of these has been turning inside the plastic base of the chair. Ultimately that’s just wearing the hole in the chair base larger, and eventually there will be a failure there. One advantage of the larger roller blade wheels is that this section has a ball bearing brace that this can turn on quite freely. And it’s got a ball bearing brace on either side of that wheel and it’s not likely to get a bunch of hair and fibers and that wrapped around the axle shaft. So there you have it. You can knock those apart and clean them up put them back together again. They’ll be good for a while. However, the best solution is to use the new modern style rollerblade replacement office chair wheels. These come in sets of 5 and are made by several companies such as Zitrium, Slip Stick, Office Owl, Sunniedog, and Tech Team We chose the Tech Team 5pc. Office Chair Replacement Caster Set

It only takes about 5 minutes to change out the entire set. The chair rolls great and they look like they will last forever.