How to Clean an Automotive Dealership

by | Jan 25, 2023

Cleaning an auto dealership is more complicated than it looks. In some ways car dealership maintenance resembles other high-end retail maintenance. Both have glass walled showrooms, hard surface flooring, open plan and/or private office areas with carpet, waiting lounges, and restrooms for public use that need top-of-the-line service.

Then there is the mechanic’s bay. More like a factory than a showroom, the mechanic’s bay is designed for greasy, grimy work. Yet savvy auto dealerships treat this back-of-house, hard-to-clean area like an extension of their showroom. Think of it like an open kitchen in a fancy restaurant. But here customers sneak a peek into the service department’s professionalism and excellence.

Both areas of an auto dealership demand the same level of cleaning service. But maintaining the mechanic’s bay requires a different set of tools, processes, and chemicals. Here’s how to clean the entire auto dealership to shiny perfection.

The Auto Dealership Showroom: The Big Show

Designed to inspire and excite, car showrooms dazzle shoppers with shiny surfaces and plush public areas. Keeping these busy spaces clean is challenging but vital to success. No one wants a potential customer distracted by scuffed floors, dusty surfaces, smudged windows, or malodorous restrooms.

Luckily, cleaning these spaces thoroughly should be straightforward. Areas and processes include:

  • The Floors: Showroom hard surface floors require daily service to stay clean, scuff free, and shiny. Mopping cannot give you those results and an autoscrubber may be too big, bulky, and expensive for the job. An advanced tool that uses vacuum extraction technology, however, fits the bill perfectly. These machines clean and dry floors quickly, don’t require special training and leave floors extra shiny.
  • The Walls: Car dealerships use lots of glass for a reason. Glass removes “the physical and psychological barriers between clients and dream vehicles,” according to one manufacturer’s website. Hyperbolic? Sure, but glass lets natural light reflect off cars in a dazzling way and glass wall systems allow walls to become doorways big enough to drive a car through. Keep glass sparkling by removing smudges and fingerprints daily.
  • The Restrooms: Your automotive dealership is only as clean as your dirtiest restroom. Customers despise soiled, smelly restrooms and will avoid businesses—including car dealerships—that don’t keep these spaces clean and fresh. Keep restrooms sanitary and inviting with daily cleaning. Choose advanced cleaning tools to make this unpleasant task easier and more complete.
  • Everywhere Else: Soft furnishings, carpets, desks, and countertops need daily attention as well. Remove all food debris, clutter, dust, and soils from public lounges and private offices. Clean touchpoints like light switches and sink taps. Vacuum carpet and upholstered furniture. Attend to spills right away so they don’t become bigger, harder to clean messes.

The Mechanic’s Bay: Bringing Back of House Forward

Cleaning an automotive dealership showroom requires rigor but at least the job is straightforward. The mechanic’s bay, however, presents a new set of challenges. Cars drive directly into the space tracking in road salts and grit, floors are designed to be durable and slip resistant, and mechanics work with lubricants, antifreeze, and other fluids that can drip and spill.

This adds up to a greasy, grimy mess that requires different cleaning chemicals and protocols. Start by preventing messes with a robust matting system to capture lubricants and fluids before they spread into the customer areas. Anti-fatigue mats do double duty to protect workers and catch spills and drips. Scraper mats at showroom entrances keep street soils and grit from spreading throughout the dealership.

To combat greasy buildup, encourage mechanics to clean their work areas every day. Provide them with clean shop towels and appropriate cleaning chemicals designed to cut through grease and oil. Staff can even service the shop floor on their own given the correct tools.

Some auto dealerships think providing staff with a mop, bucket, and deck brush is enough to do the job. But mopping oily messes or scrubbing and pushing them into a floor drain is not ideal. Mopping is time consuming, hard on the body, and unable to fully remove grease and soil. Pushing the stubborn mess into a floor drain with a deck brush is a little better, until the drain clogs.

Professional cleaners know vacuum extraction tools offer a better solution. This technology spreads degreasing cleaning chemicals on the floor. Staff then speed scrubs the area using an agitating scrubber on stubborn spots if necessary. They then vacuum up the slurry, leaving the floor clean, dry, and grease free.

With the right tools, auto dealership staff can clean their entire facility to exacting standards quickly and easily, without the expense of hiring an outside contractor. Click here to find out how Kaivac makes cleaning easier so your auto dealership can shine.

Amy Milshtein covers design, facility management and business topics for a variety of trade publications and consumer magazines. Her work has won several awards, most recently a regional silver Azbee Award of Excellence.She lives in Portland, OR with her family and Clyde, a 15-lb tabby cat. Once an avid hiker, these days she finds herself on the less-challenging -but-still-exciting 'creaky knees' trails.
Amy Milshtein
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