Imagine a manufacturing plant covered in grease and oil stains, littered with discarded tools and debris. Soot, dust and grime layer the windows and walls and a clogged, wheezing HVAC system sputters to life now and then.
And now imagine a manufacturing plant with clean floors, sparkling walls and windows, and machinery and air ducts that hum effortlessly. Where would you rather work? And which seems like a place that would inspire customer confidence and produce the best products?
Keeping a manufacturing plant clean is essential for its proper function. But industrial cleaning can often seem like an overwhelming undertaking. Fortunately, many options exist to help you maintain a clean work environment at your plant. Below, we’ll discuss why factory cleanliness is necessary, lay out some areas that require cleaning, and offer some factory cleaning ideas and warehouse cleaning tips.
Why You Need a Clean Manufacturing Facility
Clean manufacturing facilities are necessary for several different reasons.
Hygiene and Health
A clean, hygienic manufacturing facility is essential to employee health. If a manufacturing facility is dirty, worker health may suffer. If even a single worker comes to work with a contagious illness, facility surfaces can quickly become breeding grounds for the bacteria that cause colds, the flu, norovirus and many more diseases. A recent study found that norovirus-like bacteria placed on a single surface spread to 40 to 60% of employees within two hours.
Uncleaned staff food-preparation areas like break rooms and kitchens may harbor the residues from old food and breed bacteria as well, which can lead to foodborne illnesses. Improperly cleaned and poorly ventilated plants may also develop what is known as sick-building syndrome, where employees can develop several symptoms, such as respiratory irritation, headaches, difficulty concentrating, dizziness and nausea, when they are in the building.
Regular, thorough cleanings help reduce these risks and keep employees healthy.
A clean manufacturing facility is essential for employee safety as well. Facility floors covered in spilled oil, grease or other fluids can lead to slips and falls and employees could be seriously injured. A manufacturing facility cluttered with boxes, stray equipment parts, discarded cleaning implements, ladders or various other odds and ends is a facility where employees can easily trip and injure themselves.
In 2018, manufacturing facilities saw 118,580 workplace injuries, and warehousing and storage facilities added 22,330 more. To help reduce these numbers, manufacturing facilities should maintain clean environments where employees can work confidently and feel safe.
A clean manufacturing facility helps reduce the risk of allergens as well. A facility where dust covers the vents and surfaces may have employees coughing and sneezing as soon as the workday begins. And mold in the workplace can leave employees with a variety of symptoms, from respiratory symptoms like congestion and sneezing to red, itchy skin and eyes.
To keep allergens like these out of your manufacturing facility, invest in regular, thorough cleaning so your employees can breathe freely and feel their best.
Productivity and Efficiency
A clean manufacturing facility also leads directly to increased productivity. When employees have a clean, healthy, safe place to work, they will feel well and achieve their peak performance. They are also less likely to take time off from work or struggle with tasks because they became injured in unclean, hazardous conditions. Productivity losses because of employee health problems cost employers $1,685 per employee per year, or $225.8 billion annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
And healthy employees are likely to have better morale overall, which leads to more positive attitudes, better collaboration and more dedicated work — up to 12% higher productivity, according to a recent study from the University of Warwick in England.
The cleanliness of equipment leads to increased productivity as well. Equipment that becomes clogged with dust, oil, grease or debris will perform more sluggishly than clean equipment. Making sure your manufacturing facility is thoroughly cleaned is an excellent way to get the best productivity from both your human employees and your machinery.
The cleanliness of a manufacturing facility impacts product quality as well. If equipment or surfaces become contaminated with dirt, dust or grease, products may also be contaminated. A little dirt or smudging could diminish the appeal of your product and make consumers less likely to buy, thus cutting into your profits. If your facility manufactures sensitive products like electronic equipment, contaminated production conditions could lead to product defects. And depending on your industry, product contamination can present a public health hazard well.
Help ensure the high quality of your products by investing in reliable cleaning services to keep production surfaces contaminant-free.
An organized working environment is vital in factories of all shapes and sizes. In a facility where warehouse cleaning procedures are slipshod, disorganization often leads to clutter and confusion. In a disorderly warehouse, workers may struggle to find the tools they require or the records they need to assess a problem accurately. Employees might duplicate work because they can’t find the products they’re looking for or waste time trying to find information that should be right at hand. Keeping your warehouse clean leads to better organization and increased efficiency overall.
Less Frequent Maintenance
An unclean warehouse leads to more frequent maintenance and repairs, which in turn can lead to skyrocketing operating costs. Dust can clog machinery and necessitate expensive repairs, and spills or water leaks can lead to corrosion and rust. Fixing these factory cleanliness-related problems is costly, takes up your facility’s valuable time and may slow production — or even halt production entirely until you can resolve your maintenance issues. Keep your manufacturing plant operating smoothly and save money on repairs and replacements by keeping the facility sparkling clean.
A dirty warehouse creates a challenging environment for your staff, and it also makes a poor impression on clients and other visitors. Clients or potential business partners who visit the warehouse may take a dirty facility as a sign that your company doesn’t take itself seriously, value its clients’ opinions or care about the details that are essential to success. A clean and inviting warehouse, though, makes a dazzling first impression. It tells clients that your company cares about its products, has a strong work ethic and attends to the details that help make a business great.
Areas That Need Regular Cleaning, and How to Clean Them
Operators of warehouses and manufacturing facilities should be aware of different areas that need regular cleaning.
Facility managers should keep equipment and machinery in good condition. Machinery that does not receive proper cleaning can rust, corrode, become clogged or break down and keep the facility from reaching its productivity goals. Cleaning machinery can involve lubricating parts, wiping down surfaces and drying any areas where moisture collects to prevent rust and mold. Degreasing agents, cleaner pumps, spray devices, dilution control systems and foam guns can all help in these areas.
Production surfaces quickly become coated with oil, grease, chemicals and other contaminants. Leaving these residues to congeal on the surfaces leads to a sticky, slimy mess that can affect the quality of finished products. Regularly wiping down production surfaces helps keep your facility clean and the integrity of your products high.
Facility managers should make sure their cleaning teams clean the floors as well. Floors easily collect debris, and spills or leaks may form pools of standing water that are hazardous to employee safety. Materials on the floor can also cause trips and falls, so plant managers should make sure that floor areas remain clear. A daily sweeping and mopping of facility floors, as well as putting away items left out throughout the day, helps keep the manufacturing plant or warehouse clean and safe to work in.
How do you keep your warehouse dust-free? An excellent place to start is your HVAC system. A warehouse or manufacturing plant’s HVAC system requires routine cleaning as well to function efficiently and keep employees healthy. Change filters regularly, and schedule yearly maintenance to clear out any collected dust or debris and check for mold. Keeping the HVAC system clean and running smoothly helps reduce airborne pathogens and keep employees healthy and productive.
Because they tend to be crammed full of boxes, bins and other items, warehouses and storage spaces don’t always receive the thorough cleaning they deserve. Implementing a strong warehouse cleaning plan is essential. Your cleaning procedure can be straightforward — be sure to sweep, mop, dust and disinfect your storage areas as you would any other space. Move items if necessary to make sure your cleaning reaches even into cramped, crowded spaces.
With all the physical labor that goes on in a manufacturing facility, some dirt, grease or chemical residue is bound to make it to your facility’s windows. And dirty windows can become ideal environments for bacteria to flourish. Keep your plant’s windows clean by spraying them with window cleaner and scrubbing. Use an extension tool if the windows are too high to reach safely, or contact a professional cleaning service to do it for you.
Tile and Grout
Some floors, such as showers or rinsing stations, are designed to be wet at most times. These wet, tiled areas need particular attention to prevent mold growth. Scrub these areas daily with a shower or tile cleaner, and don’t forget to aim some cleaner at the drains. You can also apply an antimicrobial cleaner certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help kill spores before they take hold. If you notice mold growth, diluted bleach can help you address the problem, or you may want to engage the services of a professional commercial cleaning company.
If you have carpeted areas in your manufacturing facility, such as in offices or meeting rooms, they will need special treatment as well. Carpet can be difficult to clean because it absorbs liquids and even solid contaminants into its pile. Regular carpet treatment contributes to your facility’s cleanliness and extends the carpet’s lifespan. Vacuum your carpets regularly, and deep-clean with shampoo once in a while, or if your carpets absorb spills.
Food Prep Areas and Restrooms
Though these areas are likely out of the way of the main manufacturing floors, it’s still essential to clean food prep areas and restrooms daily. Employee kitchens and food storage areas can easily become breeding grounds for bacteria, but wiping down food-prep areas with a basic household cleaner keeps kitchens clean and inviting. A daily regimen of scrubbing and mopping in the bathrooms keeps these areas sparkling and sanitary as well.
Trash Cans and Recycling Bins
Remember to empty your trash cans and recycling bins regularly. If trash and recycling receptacles are full, employees are more likely to leave garbage on the floors, where it presents health and safety hazards. It’s a good idea to wipe down these receptacles with a rag occasionally while as well to keep your garbage and recycling from becoming hospitable environments for germs.
Why a Professional Cleaning Team Is Beneficial
How do you keep a factory clean? One of the best ways is to use professional cleaning services. A professional cleaning team is beneficial to a manufacturing facility for many reasons.
- Employee health and safety: Keeping your manufacturing plant clean enough to promote employee health and safety is essential. A professional cleaning company can rid your facility of germs and allergens and clean up soiled areas that could lead to injury. Employees will feel an increased sense of well-being and be able to be present and focused at work if they feel well.
- Dealing with hard-to-clean areas: In little-used corners of your facility, dirt and residues may build up and become extremely difficult to remove without professional tools. This is where a professional cleaning team can be uniquely useful. A professional cleaning team has access to a tremendous range of cleaning products and techniques to conquer difficult areas when an all-purpose cleaner won’t get the job done.
- A comprehensive approach: A manufacturing plant may have cleaning procedures only to deal with major spills and accumulations of grime as they arise. A professional cleaning company can take a comprehensive approach to cleaning your facility, spraying and scrubbing away dirt and germs that an average observer would never have known were there.
- Unparalleled industry knowledge: Operators of warehouses and manufacturing facility managers may not have much cleaning expertise. But professional cleaners have a wealth of industry knowledge and tools to draw on. They will know exactly how to clean that stubborn stain or how to treat areas that tend to harbor bacteria.
- Reduced fire risks: When people think of the hazards of spills, they often think of the injuries that result from slips and falls. But oil spills and spills of flammable chemicals can lead to fires as well. A professional cleaning team can remove spattered grease and chemicals to help minimize the fire danger in your facility.
- Time and money savings: The increased employee productivity, enhanced product quality and reduced employee absences that come along with clean facilities can help your company quickly recoup the costs of hiring a professional cleaning team — and then save even more. Using the services of a professional cleaning company helps save time as well by reducing the delays associated with frequent maintenance for dirty equipment. And of course, having to manage cleaning teams takes up an enormous amount of facility managers’ time. Partnering with a reliable professional cleaning service lifts this burden from managers’ shoulders and allows them to get back to the work they do best.
Contact Corporate Clean for All Your Warehouse Cleaning Needs
To get your manufacturing plant or warehouse sparkling, partner with Corporate Clean for a customized cleaning regimen. We offer hard floor care, tile and grout cleaning, carpet cleaning and more. We specialize in difficult and unusual projects, so if you feel overwhelmed with a particularly demanding cleaning project, we are more than happy to help.
Our level of attention to detail and customer needs is unparalleled, and we pride ourselves on exceeding customer expectations with every job we complete. We also offer a free quote, so you know what your costs are likely to be before you commit to service.
Contact us today to learn more.