There are a lot of benefits to plastic pallets, but one of the biggest is how incredibly easy they are to clean. Unlike wooden pallets, there are no nooks and crannies for dust or other contaminants to hide in – and the material itself won't absorb bacteria that could potentially affect other shipments further down the road. Some of these cleaning benefits are due to the unique properties of plastic, which provides a substantial advantage over wood. Others can be put down to how plastic pallets are designed and the processes by which they are cleaned.
In this article, we'll take a look at why plastic pallets are so easy to clean and run through a few ways to ensure maximum levels of hygiene.
"A plastic pallet can be cleaned and sanitised, and it eliminates the potential contamination from wood and metal."
The importance of pallet cleaning
In order to avoid contamination – either from bacteria or physical elements such as spills, splinters or nails – good cleaning is a necessity. This is especially true in the food industry, where plastic pallets are the norm for exactly this reason. Just one batch of compromised product could potentially devastate an entire shipment, resulting in an outbreak of disease in worst-case scenarios. Richard Stier reiterates this in a Food Engineering Magazine piece on pallets.
"The rule of thumb is that anything moving into the production area is moved on a plastic pallet. A plastic pallet can be cleaned and sanitised, and it eliminates the potential contamination from wood and metal," he said.
The design of plastic pallets also helps them to be washed more thoroughly. For example, the open deck allows water and cleaning products to reach every exposed surface, while the robust construction material is more than capable of handling regular scrubs over a longer life than wood.
How to clean plastic pallets
Part of the beauty of plastic pallets is that they can be cleaned in several different ways, depending on what has been recently shipped, and what sorts of contaminants need to be addressed. The standard options are to simply wash or steam a pallet. Both of these methods are very effective at removing simple spills or other particles such as dust, but when a pallet really needs to be scrubbed, high-pressure cleaning is the best option.
This more thorough clean is usually reserved for quarantine areas such as international shipments where the rules can be very strict. Here at Eco Pallets, we provide a high-pressure cleaning service; simply get in touch with us to arrange an appointment.