When you own or rent a refrigerated container, it’s important to keep it clean, especially in between storage jobs. Here are 4 things you need to know about cleaning your refrigerated container.
There are multiple levels of cleanliness
Clean doesn’t have one meaning for refrigerated containers. There are 3 common levels of cleanliness: physical, chemical, and microbiological. Physically clean containers appear clean to the naked human eye. To get your container physically clean, you may just need to sweep front to back, vacuum, and wash the container. The next level of cleanliness is chemical- in this case, you need to take steps to eliminate residues that could allow the growth of microorganisms. This may involve more significant cleaning procedures like using additional solvents and chemicals. Lastly, microbiologically clean containers are truly and completely clean- this thorough level of cleaning ensures there are no residues or microorganisms left.
Cleaning steps depend on what is being stored
Depending on what you are using in different storage situations, different cleaning steps are necessary. For many situations, high-pressure hot water washes or steam cleans are a common standard for cleanliness. But this may not cut it sometimes.
If your container has previously held dangerous or hazardous materials, you may need to take some extra steps. A preliminary assessment of potential dangers from the container is crucial, so the cleaning team can wear the proper personal protective equipment. For instance, there may be potential chemical reactions between the hot water or steam wash and chemical residue in the container. In addition to a baseline clean, there may need to be additional cleaning steps taken. As mentioned above, different levels of cleanliness are appropriate for different situations.
Cleaning isn’t always enough, though. In some cases, using containers for some things can even make the containers not suitable for other uses in the future. Food grade containers, for example, can’t have been used for many lower grade materials. Always plan your container use based on what you know you’ll need to store in the future.
Some large-scale cleaning projects use robots
For some companies that have a large number of containers to clean, it can be more efficient to invest in a robotic cleaner. Robotic technology can be programmed to specific cleaning needs, dialing in on a high degree of precision. These machines can clean mass numbers of containers much more quickly than humans. Plus, using them can be much safer when dangerous materials are present.
There are ‘green’ cleaning options for refrigerated containers
In some situations, there are some environmentally-friendly cleaning options. For example, some people use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar to rub down and treat rust patches. In general, you should always try to use the least environmentally-harmful methods that meet your level of cleanliness. If there’s a less harmful but equally effective substitute for that solvent you were going to use, it’s your responsibility to choose the less harmful option.