When it comes to running a successful factory, implementing and maintaining an effective cleaning policy has to be one of the most important things that you can do. This policy needs to reflect the specific needs of your site, factoring in the materials you handle, the space you are working in, and the risk levels associated with your ingredients.

One additional consideration will be whether your site relies on a wet or dry cleaning process. If your hygiene team carries out a dry clean, you will need to think carefully about the cleaning equipment at your site, your approach to validation, and the best way to engage your site staff.

To help you on your way, we have put together a comprehensive guide to dry cleaning. It covers the questions listed below and you are welcome to use the links to skip straight to the section most relevant to your needs. Alternatively, you will find valuable takeaways throughout.

What are the basic principles of dry cleaning?

As the name suggests, dry cleaning is a cleaning process that doesn’t involve any water or moisture. Instead, air lines and dry equipment are used to prepare an area for production. Working from the top down, hygiene teams will agitate then remove any dirt or debris.

Unsurprisingly, sites that handle dry ingredients and produce dry products tend to be the sites that carry out dry cleans. After all, you can imagine the consequences of a flour mill or spice factory getting its product wet. This would not only pose a huge food safety risk, but would also have a significant impact on the taste, texture, and consistency of the product.

Dry cleans are typically used for low risk environments; however, every site is different and will have a unique process in place. Take a chocolate biscuit factory – its hygiene operatives are likely to carry out a dry clean because of the low risk status of biscuits. However, the use of chocolate increases the level of risk and will have to be factored into the cleaning process.

Here, you will often find sites carrying out a dry clean, but with a small number of wet products such as a damp cleaning cloths or food-safe disinfectant wipes. Although both these items are technically moist, many sites would still consider this a dry clean. After all, it is a far cry from a traditional wet clean where large amounts of water, foam, and cleaning chemicals are used to cover an entire area.

Sites that carry out dry cleans will have designated washdown areas in a separate part of the building. This is where cleaning utensils and production equipment will be taken so that stubborn residues can be power-washed away. However, built-in, extremely heavy, or electrical machines such as mixers, cutting machines, and dicers will need to be cleaned in situ. This task will require a selection of specialist equipment – suited to the specific demands of an effective dry clean.

What equipment is essential to an effective dry clean?

Without the use of powerful water hoses and strong cleaning chemicals, your hygiene team will have a lot of challenges to overcome when carrying out an effective dry clean. If you are concerned about health and safety, the current length of your hygiene window, or the issue of employee retention, now is the perfect time to conduct an equipment review.

It’s important to remember that for every problem, there is a product to provide a solution. From a 7mm bottle brush that can reach inside tight spaces to a stiff-bristled sweeper that will agitate the dirt on your factory floor, finding the right equipment will help you to raise standards, whilst making life easier for your hygiene operatives.

Machine and Utility Brushes

Machine and Utility brushes will help your operatives to clean awkward spots, with extra-long, thin brushes for long, narrow spaces, small detail brushes for removing extra stubborn residues, and high heat brushes to clean surfaces up to 250°C.

Hand Scrub Brushes

Thanks to their stiff bristles and comfortable grip, churn and hand scrubs are ideally suited to tougher applications, helping your operatives to lift stubborn or baked-on debris. At Klipspringer we offer a wide range of shapes and sizes.

Lobby and Dust Pans

Lobby and dust pans allow your operatives to clean up loose debris quickly and easily. A sophisticated design will be made from food contact approved material and will boast a raised lip to prevent the contents of the pan from spilling out.

Cleaning Cloths

This all-purpose cloth is suited to both wet and dry cleans. Manufactured from a blend of viscose and polyester, it has an open structure for effective particle collection and possesses an impressive absorption rate. Available in five colours to meet your segregation needs.

Microfibre Cloths

The microfibres in these cloths are positively charged. This attracts negatively charged particles such as dirt, bacteria, and grease. Instead of falling away from the cloth, dirt and debris will cling on, even without the use of a water solution or a cleaning chemical.

Disinfectant Wipes

As mentioned above, antibacterial, disinfectant wipes can sometimes contribute to a dry clean – introducing moisture to just a small area and tackling particularly stubborn residues or cleaning equipment that handles ingredients with a higher food safety risk.

Hygiene Sweepers

When it comes to brushing debris off your factory floor, your operatives will require a high quality hygiene sweeper. Light debris such as flour can be moved by a sweeper with extra soft bristles, whereas a stiff or combination brush will be needed for more intense agitation.

Tank Brushes

Our range of tank brushes has been made using water resistant filaments. This prevents them from being saturated by any liquids when they are cleaning vats, tanks, or any other vessel. The rounded design of these brushes is perfect for reaching hard-to-reach crevices.

Vacuum Cleaners

A suitable vacuum will meet high filtration standards, guaranteeing the filtration of a high percentage of the sucked material. It will also have custom attachments for specific applications, an automatic filter vibration option, and carbon fibre poles for high reach cleaning.

What are the benefits of a dry cleaning method?

  • Dry cleaning can help to reduce factory downtime. Instead of waiting for a wet environment or piece of equipment to dry, you can reduce the hygiene window and get your production line back up and running as soon as possible.
  • Dry cleaning is suited to electrical equipment. Unless your instrumentation has an IP67 or IP68 rating, and is therefore waterproof, it could be damaged by a wet clean. In contrast, a dry clean is ideal for electrical equipment, as it eliminates the risk of water damage.
  • A dry clean could help you to meet your sustainability targets. Some sites view dry cleaning as an opportunity to preserve water and cleaning products. Instead of a foamy wash, dry cleans tend to be more targeted.
  • Dry cleaning could result in the reduction of labour. Another benefit of a more targeted clean is the potential to cut down on the number of operatives working in an area at one time.
  • A dry clean could help to improve standards of hygiene and safety at your site. Microorganisms tend to thrive in a wet environment. By eliminating the presence of moisture at your site, you will be making it harder for these microorganisms to reproduce.
  • Dry cleaning could be the answer to resistant strains of bacteria. Some sites rotate their cleaning methods - cycling through different products and techniques to stop the bacteria developing a defence against the products it is being exposed to.

What are the common pain points of dry cleaning and how can I avoid them?

Lack of understanding

A recent Klipspringer Industry Forum revealed that one of the major pain points associated with dry cleaning is a lack of understanding from staff. Some operatives make the mistake of thinking there aren’t any micro risks to be concerned with in a low risk environment. This can result in inefficient and inconsistent cleans. To resolve this problem, it’s important that you arrange ongoing training and support any key messages with eye-catching Visual Management. You should also review your Cleaning Instruction Cards, making sure they are as detailed as possible with lots of photos.

Finding the right equipment

Another common issue is a lack of awareness in terms of the equipment available. Without the correct equipment, it will be impossible for your Hygiene Team to do their job. That is why you need to find suitable utensils for the hard-to-reach areas of your factory. Whether that’s underneath a production belt or behind the back of a machine, you will need durable yet flexible equipment that is the correct size and angled to fit the relevant space. Before making any decisions, why not consult your Hygiene Team? Find out what tasks are slowing them down and run through the possible solutions.

Validating the cleans

The process for validating a dry clean is the same as the process for validating a wet clean. Even so, this can be another pain point, with a lot of teams relying on visual checks rather than accurate testing. This poses a serious risk to audit compliance. The solution is A3 monitoring. A step-up from traditional ATP tests, an A3 meter can detect adenosine molecules in all three forms: ATP, ADP, and AMP. Unlike an ATP test it eliminates the risk of false negative readings and detects organic residue even after common factory processes such as blanching, heating, and even cleaning.

So there you have it, everything you need to know about dry cleaning in food factories. We hope that you now have a clear idea of the best equipment for the job and the most effective way to maintain a successful cleaning policy across your site. We also hope that the lengthy list of benefits helps you to convey the value of dry cleaning to your operatives – helping them to see that a dry clean isn’t the sign of a low stakes operation, but rather a necessary course of action for a site with specialist requirements.

If you would like to learn more about the cleaning equipment mentioned in this article, you can contact us on 01473 461800 or sales@klipspringer.com. Alternatively, you can fill out the contact form below and one of our friendly team members will be in touch. 

If you would like further guidance relating to the cleaning equipment and brushes mentioned in this article, the Klipspringer team would be happy to help. Share your details below to arrange a free consultation.