discover the most effective methods for cleaning plastic pallets

The Complete Guide to Cleaning Plastic Pallets to Maximize Their Lifespan

Plastic pallets are among the most versatile returnable packaging solutions. They are used for long distance shipping and local deliveries. They help maximize trailer space use and optimize transportation costs. And, with proper care, they have a long lifespan and a low total cost of ownership. In this article, we will explain all the methods for cleaning plastic pallets in order to get the most out of them.

Plastic Pallets Resist Liquids and Contamination but Need a Thorough Cleaning

If you have been following our articles, you know that some of the key benefits of using plastic pallets are the facts that they do not absorb liquids and do not get damages by oils, fats and other contaminants.

However, the best practice in all industries is cleaning plastic pallets after a few use cycles, or when their purpose changes. If you used them to ship meat and switch them to dairy products, for instance, a deep clean is a must to avoid cross-contamination.

Also, thorough cleaning prevents the accumulation of dirt, which would eventually take longer to eliminate properly.

The Three Methods for Cleaning Plastic Pallets

Depending on the availability of staff and technology, you can clean your plastic pallets in three different ways:

1. Manual Cleaning

If you own a small quantity of pallets, it makes sense to clean them by hand. The proper way of doing it involves:

  • Using an air compressor to remove dust, dirt and any leftovers
  • Wetting the pallets with water (preferably under pressure)
  • Using an industrial soap and brush to clean the pallets
  • Rinsing with water under pressure.

This method of cleaning plastic pallets is extremely affordable and it is the preferred cleaning option for small businesses.

2. Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning of plastic pallets has the added benefit of killing all germs and bacteria. It is a mandatory step for cleanroom/hygienic pallets used in the pharma and food industries.

The recommended temperature for steam cleaning is 80 degrees Celsius. It is sufficient to destroy germs and safe for the material plastic pallets are made of.

3. Automated Pressure Washer Machine

Pressure washers offer the most thorough cleaning. They are the best solution for cleaning plastic pallets if you own a large stock and need to send them to another use cycle in a short time.

Best Practices in Cleaning Plastic Pallets

Now that we explained the standard methods for keeping your pallets clean, a few helpful tips from the Logistic Packaging team:

Add a Sanitizing to Your Cleaning Routine

When you are cleaning plastic pallets, you should consider using a sanitizer solution – even if you do not carry sensitive products. The best sanitizing solutions for plastic pallets usually contain:

  • Iodine
  • Chlorine
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds
  • Peracetic acid (PAA)

Out of these substances, PAA is the most environmentally friendly option.

Create a Checklist for Cleaning Plastic Pallets

Employees may come and go, but cleaning best practices should be followed all the time. To ensure that even new hires comply with the procedure, print and display visibly the checklist for cleaning the pallets at the washing station.

Here’s an example of such a checklist:

  • Pre-wash – manually removing large debris
  • Wash
  • Rinse
  • Sanitize
  • Dry.

Remember that Clean Pallets Boost Your Brand Image

Clean pallets are not just safe – they also have a professional look. Your clients are taking note of every aspect of your deliveries, including the way the products are packaged.

Making sure that your products are delivered on clean plastic pallets helps your company maintain a good brand image and keeps your clients loyal.

Are you looking for reliable plastic pallets? At Logistic Packaging, you will discover a complete range of pallets for all your packaging needs. Send us an email to start discussing with an experienced packaging consultant!