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Posted: 03/03/2019

Shop Cleanliness Checklist: 6 Steps to Protect Your Equipment

A service team inspects a Bobcat S650 skid-steer loader.

When was the last time you cleaned your shop? A week? A month? A year? If dirt, oil, hydraulic fluid and other contaminants are visible in your shop, they could eventually damage your equipment and its components.

The best way to reduce contaminants is to adopt a clean-shop mindset. These six tips will help limit downtime and shortened machine component life.

1. Clean the shop floor

Shop cleanliness starts with a clean, well-maintained floor, free of oil, grease and other contaminants.

If you have a designated wash bay, clean the drainage area that allows sediment to fall and oils to collect. In some locations, the water can be discharged into the sewer; however, in other locations, it may need to be held and removed from the site for further processing.

2. Install proper lighting

As your shop ages, so does the lighting, making it harder for you and your team to see the dirt. If your shop does not have enough natural light, install energy-efficient LED lights to easily see machine components and parts. As a rule of thumb, check the lights every five years.

3. Properly store fluids

Improper handling or storage can compromise fluid cleanliness, which could have a lasting effect on your equipment and critical system components. To reduce the threat of contaminants within your shop, set up a dedicated work environment and follow proper fluid storage procedures.

For instance, any fuel entering a storage tank should pass through a filter to prevent contaminants from entering the engine. Fuel tank filters should be capped, and the tank vent must be filtered.

If you have a dedicated fluid containment area for engine oil and hydraulic oil, the oils should be stored in bulk storage containers that are equipped with a filtration system to reduce contaminants.

In addition, inspect supply tanks and remove any water present before transferring to the machine tank. Fluid-sampling services can be used to determine if fluid has been compromised due to improper storage practices.

4. Promote good hygiene

Dirt, dust and other debris may seem harmless. But, if your hands are dirty when handling a new fuel filter, the dirt can be transferred onto the filter and potentially impact your machine. That is why it is important to maintain proper hygiene when handling fuel filters.

5. Use high-pressure washers

Instead of washing your machine and its components by hand, use high-pressure washers to clean parts more quickly and thoroughly, helping reduce costly downtime to your business.

If you have a wash bay, power-wash the stalls and the machine before completing major maintenance.

6. Correctly handle fuel filters

Installing a new fuel filter may introduce contaminants into the machine, unless handled properly. Before installation, pressure-wash around the fittings and lines to remove dirt and other debris. Any component that is opened invites dirt, so if you or your team is completing even the simplest repairs make sure to clean around the item.

In addition, it is always a good idea to install the filter immediately after removing it from the plastic bag. If the filter cannot be installed right away, it should be placed in a sealable plastic bag and labeled with the part number.

By following these six tips, you can offer a clean, dirt-free environment and successfully reduce contaminants that might otherwise harm machine components.