Auto Service World
News   September 26, 2012   by Auto Service World

Clean up with Cintas: 10 Tips for a Pristine Auto Shop

To help automotive shops improve cleanliness and productivity, Cintas Corporation (NASDAQ: CTAS) today announced 10 tips for maintaining a clean shop environment. From auto body shops to quick lube stations, these tips help owners and operators maintain their facility, enhance image and increase customer satisfaction.

“Auto shops often don’t realize the impact that cleanliness has on business and customer satisfaction,” said Dave Mesko, Senior Marketing Manager, Cintas Corporation. “Through a comprehensive approach, shop owners can keep their facilities clean and truly differentiate themselves from the competition.”

Cintas recommends the following tips to maintain a clean auto shop:

1. Plan daily floor maintenance: Shop floor cleanliness is increasingly important as many technicians take customers into the service area to discuss their vehicle’s condition. To keep floors in the service area clean, develop daily floor cleaning protocols to remove any debris accumulated throughout the day. Create cleaning schedules based on peak business times and train employees in proper techniques. In addition to sweeping and mopping, use agitation tools such as brushes and autoscrubbers to keep fluids and oils from building up on flooring surfaces. Maintain cleanliness by stocking important supplies such as oil containment products to handle unsightly and dangerous spills.

2. Provide effective cleaning tools: To guarantee effectiveness of cleaning programs, equip the shop with proper chemicals and supplies. Chemical dispensing units guarantee that solutions are mixed correctly each time to boost effectiveness of cleaning programs and employee safety. These units also save time by eliminating manual mixing and providing quick access to properly diluted chemicals. Microfiber mops and dual chamber mopping buckets reduce the spread of contaminants from the service area to customer facilities.

3. Implement matting systems: Mats capture shop lubricants and fluids and prevent their spread into customer areas. Combine scraper and carpet mats at all entrances to prevent the spread of debris throughout the shop. Place anti-fatigue mats in high-productivity zones to catch any spills and reduce worker injury. In addition to placement, make sure that mats remains clean and functional by partnering with a professional mat laundering service.

4. Schedule deep cleanings: While daily cleanings remove dirt and debris, they aren’t always sufficient in the total removal of buildup from lubricants, antifreeze, brake and power-steering fluids. Schedule periodic deep cleanings through the entire shop to remove grime and ease daily cleaning duties. A combination of temperature, agitation, chemicals and extraction effectively removes chemical residue, oil and dirt from all shop surfaces. Partner with an automotive facility services provider to ensure deep cleanings are performed efficiently with minimal business interruption.

5. Improve employee appearance: Ensure that personnel look and feel their best by implementing a uniform program. Partner with an apparel rental service to make sure that employees consistently greet customers with a freshly-laundered uniform. Provide scratchless belts to ensure that customer vehicles stay in top condition while employees execute services. Promote the shop’s image with uniforms that display company logos and employee names to personalize the guest experience and boost employee morale.

6. Promote clean hands: Since technicians are constantly working with harsh oils and liquids, ensure they are greeting customers with clean hands. Provide hand washing stations supplied with heavy-duty soaps to cut harsh grease and oil. Make sure that clean paper towels are readily available and employees aren’t wiping freshly-cleaned hands on soiled shop towels. Additionally, provide protective gloves for employees performing more intensive services.

7. Provide clean towels: Prevent the accumulation of unsightly soiled shop towels throughout the shop by partnering with a laundry service provider. Service providers will deliver laundered shop towels based on individual shop needs so a constant supply is available for employees. Since professionals handle the removal of shop towels, employees and shops remain clean and productive.

8. Provide a safe parts washer: Refrain from using solvent-based parts cleaners as inhalation can cause nervous system damage, lung injury and death. To keep employees safe, make sure that the washer uses bio-based and pH-neutral cleaning solutions to reduce hazards and improve indoor air quality throughout the shop.

9. Maintain waiting areas: As a customer’s first impression of the auto shop occurs in the waiting area, this space should always remain in top condition. Develop daily cleaning schedules to disinfect and sanitize all hard surfaces including chairs, tables and floors. Provide a continuous supply of refreshments to enhance the customer experience and provide added value to services performed.

10. Focus on restrooms: Whether the shop has customer-only restrooms or shared facilities, restrooms should always be pristine. Ensure that restrooms have a continuous supply of the essentials including soap, paper towels and toilet paper. At least once a day, all restroom surfaces should be sanitized and disinfected. To keep restrooms smelling fresh and reduce unpleasant odors, use time-release air fresheners and urinal screens. In addition to daily maintenance programs, schedule regular restroom deep cleanings to remove buildup that daily protocols cannot reach.

“An auto shop’s appearance should be reflective of the quality of service,” added Mesko. “When customers walk into a clean auto shop, they can be confident their vehicles are being treated with the same care and attention as the rest of the facility.”

For more information about Cintas’ solutions for automotive shops, visit

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