How to Properly Clean Your Forklift Trucks
Updated: Jan 12
Forklifts are often not treated appropriately. We aren’t talking about misuse or harsh driving but actually about the cleaning of the forklift. Most people use a forklift like a machine or tool, leaving it exposed to the elements that come with day to day operation. Caring for your forklift by cleaning it properly will ensure maximize the value you get out of your truck.
The main reason you would wash your forklift properly on a regular basis would be to give it that new sparkling appearance and also to prolong its lifespan.
We have written a few simple tips to ensure your forklift is also washed the correct way.
A Pressure Washer Beats an Old Cloth Almost Everyday
You should consider investing in a proper forklift washing bay that is kitted out with a good quality pressure washer. A pressure washer will save your employees countless hours and allow them to wash more forklifts than ever before. Using a cloth and bucket will make cleaning forklifts a dreadful job which most workers would not enjoy.
Using a pressure washer is helpful when transporting any hazardous materials that may find themselves onto the forklift. With a pressure washer you can effectively remove these hazardous substances from a distance.
Your basic dirt, mud and grime is also easily washed off with a pressure washer due to the powerful jet of water.
Be careful not to use a pressure washer on any elements where essential lubricants could be washed away though.
Use Compressed Air When Water isn’t an Option
Use compressed air to clean a forklift where you have a situation in which residue can mix with water and solidify. This is the case when transporting product like cement. Using water to clean your forklift in these situations is not recommended.
Use Environmental-Friendly Cleaning Products
Remember that all the water, soap and residue that comes off a forklift while washing it ends up going somewhere. Use cleaning products that aren’t toxic to the environment. If you do use any toxic cleaning agents then ensure you handle and dispose of them the correct way.
First Remove Loose Dirt or Rust the Correct Way
Starting at the top and working your way down, remove all loose dirt or rust using your hands (always wear safety gloves), a brush or broom. Use warm water and soap on areas where the dirt struggles to cone off. Remember to use compressed air or a pressure washer in hard to reach places.
Avoid Damaging the Radiator with A Pressure Hose
When cleaning the radiator with a pressure washer be sure to stand at least 0.5m – 1m away to avoid bending the fins on the radiator. This can lead to over-heating when next operated which can cause serious damage to your forklift.
Let the Forklift Dry using the Right Method
The easiest and most effective way to dry a forklift is by parking it outside on a sunny day. Leave it to stand until it is properly dry, this can take a few hours depending on the heat and sun. If you live in an area with a lot of rain and no sun then park it outside under cover or use compressed air and a dry cloth to dry the forklift. Only operate the forklift again when you are sure that it is dry.
Always Use the Correct Personal Protective Equipment
As we mentioned before you may come into contact with hazardous or toxic chemicals while cleaning your forklift. Not to mention fluids and oils. This is why it is crucial that you put health and safety first by using the correct protective equipment. As a bare minimum you should use protective goggles, gloves and an overall when cleaning your forklift.
Follow these Tips when Cleaning an Electric Forklift
Electric forklifts and internal combustion forklifts have many differences when comparing their operational abilities. These differences continue when it determining the best way to clean them. Electric forklifts require slightly different cleaning methods due the fact that they contain much more electronic components than internal combustion forklifts. When cleaning an electric forklift start with a wet cloth and compressed ait to get rid of all the dirt and rust.
Don’t use a pressure washer or hosepipe on an electric forklift.
Cleaning your forklifts properly is a quick and easy way to ensure your forklifts always look new and professional and also to get the maximum life out of each forklift.
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