Nilfisk, commercial and industrial cleaning equipment manufacturer, gives some top tips for cleaning vehicles fast whilst keeping costs down.
Let’s be honest – cleaning is a hassle. It is generally a secondary part of any job, but there is no getting away from the fact that a perfect result is critical. Sparkling vehicles and a clean forecourt are expected from both the public and personnel, and will add value to your business.
Remove grime before washing
It is critical that as much dirt as possible is removed before any hands are placed on the vehicle. Any particles dragged along the surface of the vehicle will damage the paint work. A pressure washer is ideal for this, but be careful not to stand too close, a minimum distance of 30cm is recommended. It is good practice to point the water hose to the floor, stabilising the force of the flow before contact is made. Whilst pre-spraying with a detergent liquid or foam is recommended, never use a pressure washer on paintwork that is flaking or rusty.
Select the right attachment
Using the right attachment can help to further agitate dirt. A soft, long-bristled brush is ideal for the bodywork, whilst a rotary brush will assist in getting into awkward areas like front grills, bumpers and wheels. A detergent nozzle will allow you to spray the vehicle with a mixture of water and mild pressure washer detergent. This is a particularly good way of cutting through grime and oily stains. A wand extension will help reach over the roof of high vehicles, accessing the bits that often get missed by a sponge. Never use a ‘turbo’ or unrestricted nozzle on your pressure washer as irreversible damage can occur to paintwork and rubber seals.
Avoid electrical components
Never point the pressure washer into the engine block or any other working components, including the vehicle aerial. Many experts agree that a well maintained engine block encourages technicians to take more care when servicing – but don’t clean it with a pressure washer!
Pressure washing the wheels
Alloy wheels and hubcaps are the biggest collector of grit, dust and oil from road surfaces. Begin as you would on the bodywork by using the main nozzle of the pressure washer to remove loose debris and immediate dirt. Then use the detergent nozzle to break down oil residue and then the rotary brush to agitate the difficult stains and get into awkward corners. Rinse thoroughly with water to remove all excess detergent, but don’t aim the pressure washer at the tyres to avoid damage to tread or the tyre wall.
Hot or cold?
Most of the time cold water delivered at pressure will do the job, but if either oil or grease is present, hot water will be much faster and cost effective. Independent tests have proven that cleaning time, and the associated labour cost, can be significantly reduced if hot water is used. Long term running costs, including purchase price, labour, water, fuel and service elements can be reduced by 26%, compared to cold water only. Hot or cold; the option for instant detergent cleaning should only be a button push away.
When selecting hot pressure washers look for models with eco-friendly boilers, as power consumption will be significantly lower. The Nilfisk MH range provides up to 210 bars of pressure at 90 ̊ and heat water with EcoPower boilers recognised and approved by EUnited. An EcoMode function allows cleaning at 60 ̊ with further fuel savings and excellent results.
Ease of use
Additionally, when choosing a pressure washer, pay attention to the machine’s centre of gravity, as it will affect how easy the unit is to pull or push, especially on uneven surfaces. Manoeuvrability is critical within a busy, time pressured facility. The Nilfisk MH range features a four wheel design which is very easy to tip and steer from left to right, transport is aided by a handy footplate at the rear.