Tips and tricks for cleaning greenhouse equipment and machines
September 27, 2022 By Daimer Industries
Modern greenhouse operations have a lot to contend with. The risk of pest infestations, plant-borne diseases, and other frustrations is higher than ever, especially as the seasons change and conditions fluctuate wildly. Therefore, in order to maintain a clean and inviting business with plenty of crops in exceptional condition, you need to be good to the tools of the trade.
Let’s help with that. Here are a few tips and tricks for keeping your greenhouse’s equipment and machinery in the best – and most sterilized – condition possible.
What Types of Equipment Need to be Cleaned in a Greenhouse?
Greenhouse operations aren’t as straightforward as the general public may perceive them to be. Different species of plants have different needs, and everyday maintenance requires the use of a variety of specialized solutions. In order to ensure nothing essential is overlooked in your cleaning process, you should first take stock of all the equipment and machinery used on a regular basis. These may include some or all of the following:
Glass and/or poly (plastic) structures;
- Flooring including tile, stone/concrete slabs, etc.;
- Dedicated heating and cooling systems;
- Plant bedding, such as structures and support systems in hydroponic environments;
- Irrigation systems;
- Condenser coils;
- Harvesting equipment;
- Conveyor systems; and
- Sorting equipment and/or related machinery.
What Cleaning Equipment to Use
Vapour steam cleaning systems are ideal for surface-level dirt and grime, such as on carts, poly structures, and racks. For more intensive cleaning, such as built-up mud and dirt on greenhouse flooring, consider using a dedicated wet steam pressure washer. Your best bet is to invest in something commercial grade that is built to last, features a vacuum attachment to remove excess water, and a dedicated heating element to ensure high-temperature cleanings are possible. This not only ensures optimal visual results but also kills unwanted bacteria.
Keep Your Greenhouse Equipment Free of Bacteria
On that note, regular maintenance of greenhouse equipment isn’t only about ensuring it looks clean. To prevent cross-contamination between plants, minimize the risk of insect-related pest outbreaks, and generally keep your operations as sterilized as possible, steam-powered cleaning on a regular basis is a must. Doing so can help minimize the need for intense cleaning solutions such as bleach.
This shouldn’t be done once a season, either; more frequent cleanings of all equipment, flooring, and even walls can reduce the risk of pathogenic organisms and disease spread, keeping your plants healthy and happy. This is especially important if you are selling fruits, vegetables, or other consumables like flowers to be used in medicine, as customers can then be kept safe while remaining confident in the freshness and sterilization of their purchase.
Spraying with a Hose is Not Enough
It might be tempting to simply hose everything down and let it dry in the sun, but that’s not enough. As noted earlier in our recommendation of choosing steam vapour and pressure washing equipment, pressurized hot moisture is crucial in disinfecting and hassle-free cleaning of greenhouse machinery and equipment. Components like condenser coils, irrigation, heating and cooling systems need a little more “oomph” when it comes to recurring maintenance, eliminating unwanted bacteria. Not only that, but the incredibly high temperatures afforded by commercial-grade cleaning systems like these are far more effective and efficient than traditional hose-administered cleanings.
Set Cleaning Schedules to Suit Your Equipment’s Required Maintenance Frequency
If you have a specialized piece of equipment that has manufacturer-recommended cleaning instructions, it’s best to follow them to the letter as a preventative measure. In addition, there’s no such thing as cleaning your equipment too frequently, so don’t be afraid to implement a daily, weekly, or even monthly maintenance schedule. That way, you can ensure the machinery and components of your greenhouse operations that need the most frequent cleaning can be looked after appropriately.
We hope that you will utilize these tips as a checklist of sorts to ensure a more informed and effective greenhouse equipment cleaning regimen. With care and consistency – not to mention a little proactivity – your operations will continue to blossom and thrive.
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