After COVID-19 shook the world, sanitation has been on everyone’s minds. Even though the chatter about COVID has calmed down, proper cleaning methods are still a public health concern, especially in grocery stores. Keeping your carts clean is integral to the health and well-being of your customers. However, grocery carts present a significant sanitation challenge for stores. Check out our top six tips for keeping your grocery carts clean below.
Why Is It Important To Clean Your Carts?
We need to keep our carts clean for many reasons. Grocery carts can carry harmful bacteria and contaminate guests and employees who interact with them. People touch a shopping cart to use it, and because our hands are in contact with—well—everything, it’s very easy for germs to pass around. With flu season on the horizon, it’s your responsibility to keep your customers safe. The best way to do this is to regularly clean your shopping carts and keep bacterial transfer to a minimum.
How Does It Improve Your Bottom Line?
Cleaning your carts can have surprising effects on your bottom line. Have you ever tried to put your hands on a cart only to realize the push handle has grime or dirt on it? We imagine you freaked out and immediately chose a new one. Now imagine if you continued to have these issues each time you visited the same store. You’ll likely stop going altogether because you feel like the business isn’t clean enough. If the shopping carts are never clean, what else is the business ignoring?
This negative impression can decrease foot traffic, create disgruntled customers, and even make you fail an inspection, forcing you to close your store until you rectify the issue. All these things can negatively impact your bottom line, meaning that cleaning your carts is a necessity you can’t overlook.
If you’re curious about some tips for keeping your shopping carts clean, we have a few below. Doing any of these things will keep your carts clean and shiny. Follow these steps to improve the safety of your establishment.
Clean More Than Just the Handle
Your employees likely focus on cleaning the handle of the cart. You may even find customers wiping down their shopping cart handles. This step is important; you should certainly include it in your shopping cart cleaning methods. Push handles have more bacteria than any other cart part, which is why cleaning them is so crucial.
However, entering a modern grocery store, you may see employees wiping the handle down and leaving the rest of the cart to accumulate dirt and grime. This lack of attention can constitute negligence, and you shouldn’t tolerate it in your store. Instead, wipe down the entire cart with a washcloth and wet wipe. Guests may touch the cart’s basket, corners, and child seat throughout the visit, so cleaning every part of the cart ensures your customers are safe.
Dry Your Carts
Many stores quickly sanitize the carts before leaving them for customers to pick up—while they’re still wet. Air drying isn’t ideal for many reasons. First, wet surfaces are just another transfer point for bacteria, especially when you have many hands on them. Failing to dry the carts defeats the purpose of cleaning them. Additionally, though your carts are clean, customers still might feel like touching the wet cart is unpleasant and suggests a lack of diligence on the part of your store.
To mitigate this problem, find a disinfectant that quickly dries on the various parts of your cart. Alternatively, you could have your employees clean and dry the carts manually. Whatever you do, don’t leave them to air dry or allow customers to touch them while they’re still wet.
Be Mindful of Children
Children can contribute to the spread of germs in your store. Young children often put items in their mouths and touch products with unwashed hands. They’re liable to touch everything, meaning kids can encounter bacteria more readily during their shopping experience. Some kids even lick carts directly as toddlers or newborns, especially if they’re teething.
You can’t control your customers’ kids, but you can ensure you wipe down the handle, sides, and underside of your grocery cart. One of the best tips for keeping your shopping carts clean is to focus extra cleaning efforts around areas children could reach from the cart’s child seat.
People Will Place Their Wipes Anywhere
Some stores place the onus of cleaning a cart onto the customers. They’ll provide cleaning wipes at the door and post a sign encouraging people to use them. This choice may seem convenient—until you realize they’re throwing their wipes everywhere in the store. Encouraging your customers to dispose of their wipes appropriately isn’t a surefire method to maintain your store’s appearance and cleanliness.
Instead of wet wipes, try placing hand sanitizer stations in your store. These sanitization stations encourage your customers to clean their hands without contributing to overflowing trash cans or discarded wipes in our establishment.
Pressure Wash Your Carts
We can’t recommend pressure washing enough. This method is an effective way to ensure you properly clean and sanitize your shopping carts. Pressure washing can remove stubborn deposits that even your wipes and wash clothes can’t take care of. For businesses that have vast fleets of carts, this is also the most efficient way to clean them. Line them up and let the water do its job. The steam delivers high heat, an excellent anti-bacterial agent to fight against contaminants. This process leaves the carts completely clean and sanitized.
You’ll use up a lot of labor trying to wash your carts individually. This effort takes time away from other tasks your employees have to perform. Use a pressure washer as your primary cleaning method—you’ll be happy you did.
Encourage Your Customers to Wash Their Hands
Finally, you’ll want to encourage your customers to wash their hands. You can encourage them to use the store’s bathroom or breakroom sink to wash them before interacting with carts or baskets. There is no substitute for hand washing; encouraging your customers to do so is a wonderful way to keep your carts clean.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to keep your shopping carts clean, although customers can do a few things to help you along the way. You have a symbiotic relationship, after all, so use that to your advantage. If you’re looking for shopping carts to beef up your fleets, shop at Carriage Trade Service Co. We’ll help you choose the right carts for all your needs!