How to Effectively Clean Your Heavy Construction Equipment

How to Effectively Clean Your Heavy Construction Equipment
How to Effectively Clean Your Heavy Construction Equipment
Author: Small Business Expert | March 17, 2023 | Topic: Used Equipment

How to Effectively Clean Your Heavy Construction Equipment

Knowing how to efficiently clean heavy construction equipment can prolong the life of your machine while also preventing downtime, increasing proficiency and maintaining high safety standards. But there's more to it than spraying your equipment with a hose. There are ways to efficiently clean construction equipment that are both efficient and effective. It's a process that requires specific appliances, techniques and safety factors.

Learn how to effectively clean your construction equipment, whether you own a backhoe, skid loader, auger or entire fleet.

How Often Should You Clean Your Heavy Equipment?

Built-up gunk on your heavy machinery can lead to serious damage over time and interfere with the efficiency and safety of the equipment. Cleaning should be part of your preventative maintenance schedule. With a consistent cleaning routine that matches your preventative agenda, you can look out for other damage while maintaining the efficiency of the machine. The more often you wash your heavy equipment, the easier it will be each time compared to letting buildup accumulate.

These are the top five areas to consider when cleaning construction equipment:

  • Joints
  • Engine
  • Fuel tank caps
  • Hydraulic lines
  • Attachments

A proper cleaning routine will ensure each machine is functioning and help extend its lifespan.

Benefits of Keeping Your Construction Equipment Clean

The benefits of cleaning construction equipment range from extending its lifespan and boosting efficiency to increasing security measures:

  • Efficiently operating equipment means less downtime: A clean machine means part failures and engine breakdowns are less likely, saving you time and money. Cleaning also removes additional weight that can wear down the engine and restrict the movement of certain parts, affecting the hydraulics and other components.
  • A clean machine means a prolonged lifespan: Maintaining a proactive cleaning schedule prolongs the life of your equipment, protects your investment and ensures your machines are ready to operate when needed.
  • A well-oiled machine without buildup means safer operations: In addition to removing foreign matter that can weigh down your machine and affect each moving part, a deep clean can also improve the safety of your workers.

The more dirt and grime there is on your heavy equipment's moving parts, the faster they will wear due to friction. When your heavy equipment has clean, moving parts, there is less strain on the machine.

How to Effectively Clean Your Heavy Construction Equipment

Once you have a preventative maintenance schedule in place that includes cleaning, you can start planning out the more specific process. Follow these four tips for cleaning construction equipment.


1. Use a Designated Wash Station

Consider setting up a designated wash station for your heavy equipment. A wash bay is an area where you can remove dirt, grease, fuel residue and debris from machines, and this will also help your company follow environmental regulations.


2. Work with a Pressure Washer

When cleaning heavy equipment, use a pressure washer or a hot pressure washer. This is a must when cleaning construction machinery because it can clear away different types of residue like:

  • Old grease
  • Mud
  • Rocks
  • Branches
  • Sludge

A pressure washer will remove the outer layer of grime and hit the smaller areas at hinges and seams. It's not enough to use a normal hose on these big machines. A pressure washer produces a highly concentrated force of water that can loosen and remove debris from even the smallest crevices.

Work with a Pressure Washer


You can also choose between a pressure washer and water cannon or both. A pressure washer is best for precise cleaning while a cannon creates more water, making it best for rinsing.


3. Wear the Right Protective Gear

Whether you're cleaning a filthy machine or one that doesn't have as much buildup, you will want to protect yourself. Make sure to wear full-length clothes, non-skid shoes and some type of upper protection to prevent water from leaking through your clothes. It's important to wear eye protection since chunks of debris can fly off the machine while using a high pressure washer.


4. Dismantle Your Equipment

Removing attachments and separating individual parts of your machine will make the cleaning process more seamless, and you can reach grime more easily. It will also help keep each part clean as you move from one to the other. Nothing's worse than cleaning one part of your machine, then a muddy spray of water goes onto a section you've already cleaned. Ensure your cleaning process is efficient and effective by dismantling your equipment first.


Step-by-Step Equipment Cleaning Process

Here's a step-by-step breakdown on how to efficiently clean your fleet:

  1. Manually remove large debris like rocks, branches and chunks of clay and dirt, prying them loose from the chassis and undercarriage. You may need to use a shovel or prying bar.
  2. Start cleaning the dirtiest parts first, which is often the undercarriage.
  3. Use the pressure washer to remove the outer layer of debris, including softened chunks of grease that may have hardened over time.
  4. Apply the appropriate cleaning solvent to remove grease you couldn't by hand like on the engine and radiator, letting the solvent set for 15 minutes.
  5. Wash the machine from top to bottom with the pressure washer.
  6. Clean the hoses and tires with appropriate solutions.
  7. Vacuum and wipe down the interior cab components, including upholstery, HVAC systems and solid surfaces by hand with specialized cleaning solutions.
  8. Allow the equipment to air dry or use compressed air.

You should also reference the machine's manual to learn more about specific products to use or not use on the equipment.

Shop Used Equipment Online

Maintaining and cleaning your heavy construction equipment helps keep your fleet in top-notch shape while ensuring the reliability and safety of your machinery. For equipment cleaning and other services, find a Cat® dealer near you, or shop used Cat equipment online to find the next addition to your fleet.

Shop Used Equipment Online

Browse Used Equipment

Shop Used Equipment Online
Shop Used Equipment Online