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Forklift Maintenance: Tips for Cleaning Your Machine

Forklift Trucks

The secret to a forklift that functions smoothly and effectively for the long-term is forklift maintenance. If you own a forklift, you probably already know about the regulations and recommendations guiding forklift maintenance. Some of these include completing pre-shift inspections or having a technician examine the machine on a regular basis and replacing parts that are showing signs of wear and tear.

One aspect of forklift maintenance that can be easy to overlook, however, is cleaning your machine. Keeping it nice and clean isn't just a way of maintaining a professional appearance. It is also a way to extend the life of your forklift. A clean forklift rusts more slowly, is less likely to catch fire, and operates more reliably. So how do you clean a forklift? Read on to learn more about this important part of forklift maintenance.


Remove dust and dirt from your forklift before washing it.

Typically, you dust before you vacuum, and you sweep before you mop. Likewise, before you engage in the cleaning part of forklift maintenance, you should take the time to remove loose dust and dirt from your machine. You can choose to use a small broom or brush to help you reach into the cracks and crevices and to protect your hands, or you can remove the loose debris with your hands, as long as you wear gloves. This step does not require a great deal of precision; just remove whatever is easily brushed off.


Work from the top down when washing your forklift.

When cleaning your forklift as part of forklift maintenance, you want to make sure that you clean in the right direction. Make sure to move from the top down. This movement keeps dirt flowing down toward the ground and prevents it from spreading into areas you have already cleaned. This top-down movement is the best way to clean your forklift regardless of whether you are brushing dirt off, using a power washer, or applying compressed air to your machine.

 

Use a pressure washer when cleaning your forklift.

You might associate pressure washers with cleaning houses. However, when it comes to the cleaning part of forklift maintenance, they are also one of the best tools out there for getting a thorough clean.

There are many reasons to use a pressure washer for this part of forklift maintenance. The pressure washer allows you to get into areas of your forklift that are difficult to reach by hand. In addition, the pressure from the water is effective in eliminating caked on dirt without leaving smears behind as often occurs when using a cloth.

In addition, a pressure washer puts distance between the employees cleaning the machine and any hazardous substances that may be on the forklift. As such, a pressure washer can make this part of forklift maintenance safer. Even better, a pressure washer can help you complete this part of forklift maintenance more quickly, saving time, money, and hassle for you and your employees.

 

Choose your soap carefully when washing your forklift.

Much of the success of forklift maintenance depends upon using the right materials at the right times. Washing your forklift is no exception. Plain water is often sufficient to bring out a shine on your forklift and wash away the dirt and grime it collects from daily operation. However, there are times that you may prefer to use soap. At these times, choose your soap with care. You want to ensure that the soap you use does not react negatively with any chemicals on the forklift.

In addition, you may want to choose an environmentally friendly soap for this part of forklift maintenance. This type of soap will not cause problems when washed off the forklift or absorbed into the ground, making this aspect of forklift maintenance safer.

 

Wear protective equipment when washing your forklift.

The right safety gear is always important when carrying out forklift maintenance. When cleaning your forklift, you will want to have basic safety gear such as goggles, gloves, and coveralls on. This gear will protect you from any chemicals you come into contact with, such as battery acid or chemicals from the loads the forklift carries every day.

 

Do not operate your forklift until it is dry.

Once you finish the cleaning part of forklift maintenance, your forklift will still be wet. While you can choose to dry it with a cloth, setting it out in the sun to dry is often easier, as long as you have a few hours to spare. This method of drying will also ensure that even the cracks and crevices of your machine dry before you try to operate it.

It is important not to operate your forklift until it is dry. Otherwise, the dampness could damage internal parts of your forklift, turning this part of forklift maintenance into a damaging occurrence that will cost you time and money.

 

Use compressed air to clean your forklift, when appropriate.

A pressure washer isn't always the best way to clean your forklift. Electric forklifts in particular will suffer damage from this type of forklift maintenance. Instead, for electric forklifts, or whenever you feel that water could present a hazard during this part of forklift maintenance, opt for compressed air instead. Compressed air will achieve a clean that is equal to a pressure washer, without the water, thus protecting the sensitive components of an electric forklift.

Cleaning your forklift is an important aspect of forklift maintenance. You can achieve this goal by using the right equipment and by following the right steps. You can also enjoy simpler forklift maintenance overall by contacting Darr. Our trained technicians can handle every aspect of your forklift maintenance schedule. In addition, we offer comprehensive forklift maintenance packages that keep your machine working well for you over the long term.